Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Gaelic name: Glaisleun
Lesser Spearwort is a member of the Ranunculae - the buttercup family .
Ranunculus is Latin for "little frog", members of this plant family also like wet habitats and are well represented here in the Western Isles!
This species particulary likes the really wet places, lochs, along the sides of streams, flushes, damp marshes and ditches. Mostly the places where you need your wellies for at least part of the year.
Here in the Western Isles from late June onwards the steams in the meadows are usually marked by lines of yellow flowers, the golden yellow of the marsh marigolds and the paler more lemon yellow of the lesser spearwort.
This wildflower is often mistaken for the buttercup, but again it is has a slightly paler, more lemon-coloured flower, and buttercups' leaves are not oval or spear-shaped at the base of the plants, and the buttercups usually like their ground a bit drier.
Lesser spearwort grows between 6 and eighteen inches tall, the base leaves are slightly oval.
This wildflower flowers May to September, it usually comes out just before the flowering of the buttercups turns the meadows yellow.
Lesser Spearwort is a native plant of the Western Isles.
In the 18th Century there was a technique used to treat toothache called "Blistering" which invoved applying the juice of lesser spearwort to the temples, this was also used to treat other ailments including sciatica, the theory being to "draw the humours that caused the pain".
Left photograph © Frank Stark
Leurbost - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
26th May, 2007
Frank's web site of his nature photography
Right photograph© Kim Park
Uig - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
4th June, 2006
Visit Kim's web site of her photography of the Western Isles