Common Butterwort (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
The leaves of Common Butterwort or bog violet look like a bright green starfish nestled in the peat and are easy to spot. In the late spring the bright blue bell shaped flowers are also distinctive. The small pale flowers and brown/green leaves of pale butterwort are not as easy to find. Common Butterwort is common throughout Harris whilst the pale butterwort seems to occur mainly on coastal heaths. Both butterwort species catch insects in a similar way to sundew but they also have cultural uses. As the name suggests, Butterwort leaves were used to curdle milk and in Northern Scandinavia the leaves were used to make fermented milk like yoghurt.
Pale Butterwort (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
By Robin Reid