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Myosurus minimus

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 21 May 2011 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Myosurus minimus (NL: Muizenstaart / EN: Tiny mousetail)

This odd-looking little plant, generally growing in moist habitats such as riverbanks and wet meadows, is easily overlooked and often omitted from many wildflower and weed guides. Myosurus minimus superficially resembles a plantain (Plantago sp.) with narrow leaves, but it belongs to a very different family of plants (Ranunculaceae). Other species of plants in this family are quite distinct in appearance because of their showier petals, wider leaves, and/or shorter ovaries. As a result, Myosurus minimus is easy to identify once one becomes familiar with it. This little plant is a winter or spring annual, producing a rosette of basal leaves and one or more flowering stalks. Individual basal leaves are up to 6 cm. long and about 5 mm. across; they are medium green, linear in shape, glabrous, and smooth along their margins. The tips of the basal leaves are blunt. Each flowering stalk is up to 12 cm. long and unbranched; it is usually naked, except for a single flower at its apex. Each stalk is medium green, glabrous, and terete. Each flower consists of 5 petals, 5 sepals, 5-10 stamens, and an elongated ovary that becomes up to 4 cm. long at maturity. The sepals are located at the very bottom of the flower; individual sepals are about 3 mm. long, whitish green, widely spreading, and lanceolate-oblong in shape. In addition to its upper portion, each sepal has a spur-like extension that is narrowly triangular in shape and extends downward. Individual petals are about 5 mm. long, yellowish green, linear in shape, and bent downward and outward toward the middle. There is a nectary located at either the apex of each petal or its base. The cylindrical ovary consists of numerous pistils; it is usually green, although sometimes red toward its apex in sunny situations.
In Belgium this species is on the red list stated rare in the north of the country and critically endangered in the south of the country.

Image: Lier (BE) - 13/04/2011

Canon EOS 400D 1/250 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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Aubélia from Kortrijk, Belgium

Een mooie foto!

21 May 2011 5:41am

Anca from Galati, Romania

beautiful colors and details!

21 May 2011 4:22pm

Anca from Galati, Romania

Very interesting description of the plant. Thanks!

21 May 2011 4:26pm

MAU from El Escorial, Spain

I think this is a great photo. With all the plant in good focus and that great blurred background. The colors are great too.

21 May 2011 6:55pm

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

wonderful depth of field ,a great light ! wonderful shot !
five stars !
friendships !

21 May 2011 7:12pm

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

Lovely light and DOF, very interesting information, I will look out for this little plant now

23 May 2011 8:33am

Canon EOS 400D
1/250 second
ISO 200
150 mm