These plants have recently (over the past 2 or 3 years) caught my attention. I spotted them at my local nature reserve Fleet Pond in Hampshire. It's the largest fresh water lake in Hampshire and a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The plants are located in a very boggy area, usually water logged. The water has receded for the moment, and there is just a fine black pure mud there now. I imagine my foot and part of my leg would disappear into in if I stepped on it, hence the distance the picture is taken at.
The reason these plants originally caught my attention, was because of their big bright flowers. Unfortunately they are not flowering at the moment and I can't remember what they look like or even the colour. Though I'm positive there is only one flower per plant. On first viewing, I would have never imagined I could have found such an organism in this environment. They seemed like they would be more at home in a tropical jungle.
The plant that the ones pictured remind me of the most, if you just take their leaves into acount, is a lettuce, though my knowledge of plants is extremely limited.
Here's a break down of all the info:
- Leaf, plant contruction sort of like a lettuce.
- Growing in boggy, muddy, water logged area.
- They seem to be in an area that is exposed to a lot of light, as opposed to partial shade.
- One flower per plant, I think. The flower extends directly up from where all the leave bases converge.
- I think the flower might be on the end of a long stem, that raises it above the top of, or to the top of the leaf ends.
I think I've got it . . .
yellow skunk cabbage
. . .and apparantly it has the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
I bumped into the countryside ranger today at the reserve, she described it as the 'American Skunk Cabbage'.
Apparantly it's an invasive species which must have got into the reserve from a nearby garden. The ranger has been trying to get rid of it.
The suggestion provided by muel doesnt look right to me - the leaves on the arum are exremenly shiny, plus the plant usually grows singularly. Your plant has spinach like un-shiny leaves, plus its extremely abundant.
If you contact the nature reserve staff (via their website) I'm sure they'll be able to help you. Please post the resuts here, I'd be interested to know what it is.
I have to agree with your ident Muel2002 - there is also a white flowered species. The ground conditions and overall look of the plant matches that of the Skunk Cabbage - this dense patch of leaves is exactly how I have seen it growing in an established and extensive patch after flowering. But as Amanda suggests, the reserve wardens would be able to confirm that for you.
If they are edible - what's the problem?
(They certainly look luscious and salad-like!)