An annual of damp, mossy, grazed heathy turf near the sea, in sedge-rich communities or in grassy dwarf-shrub heath, especially where Calluna vulgaris and Erica tetralix are kept short by grazing. Lowland.
This tetraploid taxon was first described as a species in 1940, and is probably of complex hybrid origin. Hybrids are formed with E. confusa, E. micrantha and E. nemorosa without apparent threat to the integrity of the few known populations of the species. There is no overall change in its distribution, although there are more recent records now than when mapped by Wigginton (1999).
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 11
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
RDB Species Accounts
Euphrasia campbelliae Pugsley (Scrophulariaceae)
Eyebright, Lus nan Leac
Status in Britain: LOWER RISK - Near Threatened. ENDEMIC.
E. campbelliae is confined to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, where it has been recorded from a number of localities, mainly along the western coast of the island. It occurs near the sea in damp, mossy, heathy turf, with Carex panicea and other sedges and where Calluna vulgaris and Erica tetralix are kept in check by grazing. In mosaic grass-heath vegetation it can occur on the boundaries of the heathy 'islands' where it may come into contact with E. micrantha in the drier heath, E. nemorosa in drier grass-turf or E. scottica in damper areas. Consequently, E. campbelliae can form one component of taxonomically complex populations.
E. campbelliae was first described as a species in 1940. It has generally been considered to have originated by hybridisation and it shares morphological features with local populations of E. nemorosa, notably the pronouncedly distal distribution of the leaf-hairs. Its origin is probably complex, also involving E. micrantha and quite possibly E. marshallii and E. scottica. Its very localised distribution and its occurrence as part of the diverse, much hybridised Hebridean Euphrasia flora may seem to cast doubt on its taxonomic validity. However, the occurrence of identical, distinctive, uniform populations in well separated, ecologically similar localities justifies its current recognition.
It is relatively small-flowered, but the flowers are showy and hybrids are not rare. The more reliably recorded hybrids include those with E. confusa, E. micrantha and E. nemorosa, and there is some indication of hybrid swarm formation. However, the integrity of E. campbelliae populations does not appear to be threatened.
An assessment of the current status of the species is needed, but there are extensive areas of seemingly suitable habitat and apparently no present cause for concern.
A. J. Silverside
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
Atlas Supp (57a)