Colutea arborescens

1. Colutea arborescens L. (S, C and E-Eur.) – A rather rare, locally naturalised escape from cultivation. Probably best documented from Montagne Saint-Pierre (Lanaye). Known there since at least 1813 (Durand 1899) and initially claimed to be native (see discussion in De Wever 1983). Abundantly naturalised for many decades but apparently decreasing and possibly extinct now (Verloove 2002, 2006). Further known since the 1940’s from Namur (Citadelle) and locally well-naturalised in coastal dunes, mainly between Adinkerke and Nieuwpoort and near Wenduine (first recorded in 1919 in Nieuwpoort). Occasionally seen elsewhere but often ephemeral or merely as a relic of cultivation. Sometimes locally naturalised by railway tracks, etc.

Colutea arborescens preferably grows in calcareous, xeric and sunny habitats (often very natural ones): sea dunes, chalky grasslands, rocky slopes, … Despite its presence in valuable habitats Colutea arborescens is not (yet) considered to be invasive in Belgium.

Belgian populations are usually ascribed to subsp. gallica Browicz, distinguished by pubescent ovaries and young fruits. However, the infraspecific variability of Colutea arborescens in Belgium requires further study.

 Colutea arborescens, Neder-over-Heembeek, rough ground, June 2011, A. Vervueren
Colutea arborescens, Neder-over-Heembeek, rough ground, June 2011, A. Vervueren

Selected literature:

De Wever A. (1983) Planten van den Sint-Pietersberg. In: Schaïk D.C. & al. (eds.), De Sint Pietersberg. EF & EF b.v., Thorn: 187-257.

Durand T. (1899) Phanérogames. In: De Wildeman E. & Durand T., Prodrome de la flore belge. A. Castaigne Editeur, Bruxelles: 1112 p.

Timbal J. (1973) Le baguenaudier (Colutea arborescens L.) en Lorraine. Bull. Soc. Bot. France 118(9): 837-840.

Verloove F. (2002) Ingeburgerde plantensoorten in Vlaanderen. Mededeling van het Instituut voor Natuurbehoud n° 20: 227 p.

Verloove F. (2006) Colutea arborescens. In: Van Landuyt W., Hoste I., Vanhecke L., Van den Bremt P., Vercruysse W. & De Beer D., Atlas van de flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Nationale Plantentuin van België en Flo.Wer: 300.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith