Saturday Quiz – Rare and Unusual

Dear Readers, this week I was inspired by Peter Marren’s book ‘Chasing the Ghost’ to see if we can identify some plants that we’ve probably never seen before, purely on the basis of their resemblance to more common plants. Can we spot a lungwort or a catchfly even if we’ve never seen this particular species?  I have chosen 15 species from his list of 50 rare and unusual plants. You might not have seen them, but hopefully you’ll have seen something like them.

This week I have gone for slightly smaller photos which will hopefully help a bit with all the scrolling up and down, but do let me know if you preferred the bigger ones.

All you need to do, as usual, is to match the species from the list below with the photograph and pop your answers into the comments if you want to be marked. Feel free to play along even if you don’t want to publicise your brilliance. So, if you think the plant in photo 1 is Alpine Rock-cress, your answer is 1)A)

I will post the answers next Friday, so if you want me to work out your score, please enter your response by 5 p.m. UK time next Thursday. If you don’t want to be influenced by those who’ve already submitted, I recommend writing your answers down before you go to the comments :-).

Onwards, and good luck!

A) Alpine Rock-cress (Arabis alpina)

B) Tasteless Water-pepper (Persicaria mitis)

C) Ribbon-leaved Water Plantain (Alisma pedunculata)

D) Whorled Solomon’s-seal (Polygonatum verticillatum)

E) Few-flowered Fumitory (Fumaria vaillantii)

F) Leafless Hawk’s-beard (Crepis praemorsa)

G) Slender Cotton-grass (Ephiophorum gracile)

H) Upright or Tintern Spurge (Euphorbia serrulata/Euphorbia stricta)

I) Copse Bindweed (Fallopia dumetorum)

J) Alpine Catchfly (Silene suecica)

K) Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus)

L) Blue Heath (Phyllodoce caerulea)

M) Spiked Rampion (Phyteuma spicatum)

N) Early Marsh-Orchid, cream-coloured form (Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp ochroleuca)

O) Alpine Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea alpina)


Photo One by By Rolf Engstrand - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Photo Two by CC BY-SA 3.0,


Photo Three by Mathilde DUVERGER [CC BY-SA], via Tela Botanica, CC BY 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Four by HermannSchachner, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Five by Franz Xaver, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Six by Björn S..., CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Seven by I, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Eight by MurielBendel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Nine by HermannSchachner, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Ten by Enrico Blasutto, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Eleven by Andreaze, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Twelve by Franz Xaver, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

12) (Hint – have a look at the Latin names)

Photo Thirteen by Jerzy Opioła, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Fourteen by Joachim Lutz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Fifteen by Karelj, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons



6 thoughts on “Saturday Quiz – Rare and Unusual

  1. FEARN

    1,E) Few-flowered Fumitory (Fumaria vaillantii)
    2,M) Spiked Rampion (Phyteuma spicatum)
    3,G) Slender Cotton-grass (Ephiophorum gracile)
    4,F) Leafless Hawk’s-beard (Crepis praemorsa)
    5,K) Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus)
    6,J) Alpine Catchfly (Silene suecica)
    7,O) Alpine Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea alpina)
    8,D) Whorled Solomon’s-seal (Polygonatum verticillatum)
    9,H) Upright or Tintern Spurge (Euphorbia serrulata/Euphorbia stricta)
    10,B) Tasteless Water-pepper (Persicaria mitis)
    11,L) Blue Heath (Phyllodoce caerulea)
    12,I) Copse Bindweed (Fallopia dumetorum)
    13.A) Alpine Rock-cress (Arabis alpina)
    14,N) Early Marsh-Orchid, cream-coloured form (Dactylorhiza incarnata ssp ochroleuca)
    15,C) Ribbon-leaved Water Plantain (Alisma pedunculata)

    I should have an advantage having read the book – but the Kindle version pictures were just awfully small black and white sketches – so thanks for bringing them to vibrant life! My favourite passage in the book was the bit about the confusing yellow composites, So glad to know it drives other, more qualified, people wild too!

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      When I was doing a biology degree a while back, they excluded ‘yellow compositae’ from the field work because they were too difficult. I think all the hybridisation doesn’t help.

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    1E, 2M, 3G, 4F, 5K, 6J, 7O, 8D, 9H, 10B, 11L, 12I, 13A, 14N, 15C
    Interestingly my Alpine Flora book says the Spiked Rampion, which I’ve often seen, and the Alpine Rock-cress are “rather common” (over here obviously). But the other ‘Alpines’ in your list don’t seem to feature for some reason.

  3. Rosalind Atkins

    Fresh from our silver success last week, we have managed the feat of a second collaboration, where we really do expect to be in a position to learn a lot, if you catch my drift! Thanks for your encouragement!

    Our suggestions of appropriate names for those lovely photos are:
    1) Wild Gladiolus
    2) Spiked Rampion
    3) Leafless Hawk’s Beard
    4) Upright Spurge
    5) Slender Cotton Grass
    6) Whorled Solomon’s Seal
    7) Copse Bindweed
    8) Tasteless Waterpepper {would just love to try it!]
    9) Blue Heath
    10) Ribbon-leaved Water Plantain
    11) Alpine Enchanter’s Nightshade
    12) Early Marsh Orchid
    13) Alpine Rockcress
    14) Alpine Catchfly
    15) Few-flowered fumitory – best name ever, though perhaps not after a glass or two!


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