Raasay Fungi

March 15, 2017

Back in October 2014 I put an image of a bracket fungus from Screapadal, Raasay on this blog. Recently, Neil Mahler has suggested that it is Stereum subtomentosum (Yellowing Curtain Crust). You can see his comments on that post.

If this is right, it looks like being the third record for Scotland – see the distribution map on the NBN. Bruce Ing also says he thinks that is the right identification, though he is not 100% sure, and tells me that it came into the UK from France in the 1960s.

Stereum subtomentosum

Stereum subtomentosum (?) – Additional image

Meanwhile, Bruce has confirmed Phomopsis leycesteriae growing on Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle) in my garden. It is probably common wherever this shrub grows – and it has spread into the wild on Skye and the mainland nearby. Indeed, my interest in this was stirred by Murdo finding it near Plockton and asking me to identify the host plant.

Phomopsis leycesteriae

Phomopsis leycesteriae

Whisky Fungus

March 2, 2017

Baudoinia compniacensis grows faster in the presence of alcohol and is found in and near distilleries. It causes the distinctive blackening of warehouses in Cognac and Scotland. Until recently there was only one official mycologically approved record from Scotland but a bit of effort my members of HBRG has improved that:


My modest contribution is that dot on Skye as it is present at Carbost on trees near the Talisker distillery – I found it on Beech, Hawthorn & Sycamore.

My thanks to Bruce Ing for identification.


Baudonia on beech

Raasay Willows

March 1, 2017

My contribution to Am Bratach: Raasay’s Community Newsletter concerns willows and can be found via a link on this page.

The picture captions didn’t make it so here they are:

Salix aurita (Eared Willow) Photo: Geoorde Wilg

Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow). Insets flower and gall. Photo: SJB.

Bluebells and Orchids

March 1, 2017

My first bluebell of the year:


Hyacinthoides hispanica

though I have had to travel 1250 miles south to see it. This also explains Ophrys tenthredinifera  Sawfly Orchid (probably) today:ophrys-tenthredinifera-tomar

Greetings from Tomar, Portugal to all my readers!


February 3, 2017

This month’s contribution to the Raasay Community Newsletter concerns Ivy and can be found via a link here.


January 28, 2017

I have been a bit remiss about Hieracium spp. (Hawkweeds) over the years, generally recording them as the aggregate and occasionally sending a few for expert determination. Last year I collected eleven from Raasay and Skye and recently sent ten of them away having lost one. It probably got thrown out accidentally in a grand clean-out, but could yet turn up.

The results came back immediately from David McCosh and turned out to be of six different microspecies of which the most interesting is H. praesigne (Distinguished Hawkweed). I don’t know whether the vernacular name refers to its dignified appearance or whether it was named in frustration by someone finally sorting it out from similar species.

This turns out to be only the eighth record for Scotland – and the second for the east coast of Raasay. It was previously recorded by Alan Stirling in 1969 at Druim an Aonaich, 4 km north of the new site and in a different 10 km square of the National Grid.

Here is the one that got away:

East side of Loch Harport

January 26, 2017

Today I ventured into NG3635 on the East side of Loch Harport from the estuary of the Sumardale River south-eastwards.I was hoping to re-find Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern) from 1967. Success:


Hymenophylum wilsonii

and also Juniperus communis (Juniper), Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern), Polystichum aculeatum (Hard Shield-fern) from 1977. I found two out of three:

I recorded 83 taxa of which 6 were new to the tetrad and 16 had not been recorded since before 2000.

Second Half of 2016

January 26, 2017

A report on the last six months of 2016 is on the VC104 page of the BSBI website. It adds nothing to what has been reported here. It was perhaps the thinnest six months for several years in terms of exciting new discoveries, mostly because I tended to be away from the area whenever the weather was fine and home when it was filthy.

A Christmas Visitor

December 23, 2016

An Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata) appeared in the lounge yesterday, presumably from the locally sourced Sitka Spruce Christmas tree. Athough not associated with conifers in the summer, Stephen M tells me that many ‘non-conifer’ ladybirds take to the shelter of pines, spruce and juniper in the winter.

Richard recorded this one from Raasay but only from NG54 as far as I can tell.

Raasay’s Saltmarsh Plants Again, etc.

December 2, 2016

My contribution to the Raasay Community Newsletter for December is a second look at saltmarsh plants. It is available through a link on the Recording and Resources page of my website.

My talk at the Scottish Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland and the Botanical Society of Scotland was entitled  A year in the life of a Scottish Recorder and the slides are available via the link – though they are of limited use without the accompanying ad hoc chatter.

I quite liked the following two diagrams together. The first shows daylight hours in Portree in 2015:


The second shows records per month for VC 104 in 2015:


Quite apart from the unsurprising correlation between the two (with perhaps a slight lag in records to allow for growth in the plants), this means 3 plant records were made in VC104 for every daylight hour of 2015 (13,715 records/4504 hours). One member of my audience said that just listening to my talk made him feel tired.