Bog Bean - Menyanthes trifoliata - Western Isles Wildflowers

Bog Bean in flower - Western Isles Wildflowers
Bog Bean - Pink - White Wildflowers
Bog bean - Western Isles Plants and Wildflowers.

It is an aquatic or bog plant. Bog bean thrives in moist, light places on most soil types and can be found in blanket bogs, lochs and ponds. As there are lots of inland lochs on The Western Isles this lovely plant is plentiful here

Common Name - Bog Hop
An alternative common name, “bog hop” came into existence because of the use of the leaves as a flavouring in beer-making!
Bog Bean - An Aquatic Bog Plant
Bogbean is an aquatic or bog plant. Bog bean thrives in moist, light places on most soil types and can be found in blanket bogs, lochs and ponds.

As there are lots of inland lochs on The Western Isles this lovely plant is plentiful here. The ‘bean’ part of the name refers to the smooth-edged shiny leaves, which are roughly similar in appearance to those of young broad beans.

Each leaf is divided into three leaflets, which is why the last part of the latin name trifoliata, meaning ‘three leaves’ was so named.

The leaves and flowers are raised above the surface of the water, rising from creeping root-like storage organs or ‘rhizomes.

Bogbean flowers between May and July, with feathery, star-like flowers – pink on the outside, white on the inside.

They are somewhat like an azalea, while the leaves do resemble a bean plant

Multiple flowers occur in groups at the end of the flower stalks, the wispy hairlike star shaped flowers are really pretty.

Flower Stalk
The flower stalk can grow to 30 cm and bears lots of white delicate, feathery, and star-like flowers which have a pinkish flush on the outside of the petal and are amazingly pretty.

The bogbean flowers are pollinated by bees and butterflies. The flowers’ rank smell also attracts beetles and flies. As with the Primrose, some flowers have long styles and some short, to assist cross-pollination.

The bog beans' fruit is a capsule containing many shiny, yellow-brown buoyant seeds.

Medicinal Use
The bogbean has always been used for medicinal remedies - in fact it is still used today by modern herbalists.

Medicinal Uses - The Leaves
The leaves were used for tea to strengthen weak stomachs, and the plant was also used against tuberculosis, heart problems and asthma. Bogbean was also used to treat arthritis. It is still used today in herbal medicine to treat various rheumatoid conditions.

Emergency Food Supply
Native Americans also used the bogbean as an emergency food supply, but both the leaves and the root of the plant have a bitter taste.

Bog Bean - Wildflowers
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Perennial Herb
Bog bean is a perennial herb with Rootstock long and thick, creeping or floating.

Bogbean & Clovers
Many relate Bogbean in their mind with the clover family (Trifolium), however these plants have nothing in common that they each have having three leaflets.

The easiest way to differentiate between them is by the flowers: clover’s are butterfly-like, as is typical of the Pea family, and bogbean’s are completely different

Bog Bean Near Uig

Two Distinct Different Flower Types
Bogbean has two distinct types of flower, one with long style and short stamens, The second flower type has a short style and long stamens protruding from the flower. Bog Bean produces very attractive clusters of small star-shaped delicate whitish-pink colour flowers. When the petals are fully open they are covered with a soft white fluff, or fringe.

Other Common Names
Other common names for the bog bean plant are, bean trefoil, beck bean, bitterwort, bog myrtle, bog nut, brook bean, buckbean, marsh clover, marsh trefoil, water trefoil, water shamrock.

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