Mountain scurvygrass (Cochlearia micacea)
The mountain scurvygrass is classified as Lower Risk on the UK’s Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 8 (1).
The mountain scurvygrass (Cochlearia micacea) has small, white flowers at the end of slender stems that grow along the ground but are raised at the tips. The leaves at the base of the stems are in rosette formation and are attached to the stem by a slim leafstalk.
The mountain scurvygrass is confined to Scotland; mainly to the Breadalbane Mountains (1). It is thought to be an endemic species, but clarification of the taxonomy of Norwegian plants is required before this can be confirmed (2).
This is an arctic-alpine plant that is found at altitudes of between 610 and 1,120 m. It lives successfully in several habitats including springs and stream-sides, but seems to thrive in short turf on soil with high lime content, particularly on cliffs and ledges (1).
The mountain scurvygrass is perennial, but little is known about its reproductive biology. It has been reported as flowering between May and September and fruiting at the end of June. It is thought that vegetative reproduction can occur, but that reproduction by seeds is more common (1).
Threats to this species are minimal and extend only to habitat loss as a result of the growing mountain sports industry in Scotland (1) (2).
No special measures are currently needed (1). Several populations are within National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest and therefore benefit from increased research and protection (2).
For further information see the UK Species Action Plan for this species at:
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- Endemic: a species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Perennial: plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
- Vegetative reproduction: type of asexual reproduction (reproduction without recombination of genetic material) that results in the propagation of plants using only the vegetative tissues such as leaves or stems. The resulting plant is genetically identical to the original plant. A well-known example of this is the reproduction of strawberry plants from ‘runners’.
The National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (October, 2004)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan (October, 2004)