Where Do Plants Belong?

February 16, 2018

I am giving a talk with this title to the Skye Gardening Society on Friday 23 February at Tigh na Sgire, Portree, starting at 1.30pm. All welcome. Contents Slide:

SGS Contents slide

(Liable to change – there is still a week to go!)

Mammals of Skye – Talk

February 6, 2018

Coming up:0001

Plantains and Review of Second Half 2017

February 5, 2018

My contribution to the February edition of the Raasay Newsletter concerns plantains and is available via a link here.

A report on the last six months of 2017 is on the VC104 page of the BSBI website. It adds little to what has been reported here. At the moment it is entitled “Plants in Vice-County 104: Annual Report 2017”. I am waiting for it to be changed to “Plants in Vice-County 104: A Review of June- December 2017” which is what it is…….

BSBI New Year Plant Hunt

January 1, 2018

Actually a New Year Flower Hunt, but anyway, a wander around Portree this morning produced a list of nine plants in flower:

Cardamine flexuosa Wavy Bitter-cress
Cerastium glomeratum Sticky Mouse-ear
Cytisus scoparius Broom
Erophila glabrescens Glabrous Whitlowgrass
Hedera helix Common Ivy
Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass
Senecio vulgaris Groundsel
Taraxacum agg. Dandelion
Ulex europaeus Gorse


Red Squirrel Talk

December 30, 2017

Coming soon…..

Squirrel talk

Christmas Day and Boxing Day

December 27, 2017

Before the snow came, late on Boxing Day, I spotted these. The moth and a spider that Hayley has confirmed as Segestria senoculata following Neil’s suggestion that it might be that, were on the outside of the garage.




December 1, 2017

Seasonally, my contribution to the December/January edition of the Raasay Newsletter concerns holly and is available via a link here.

Unfortunately the image credits did not get published. The picture of Holly Leaf Gall Fly (Phytomyza ilicis) is by Murdo Macdonald and that of Holly Speckle Fungus (Trochila ilicina) is from Stewart Taylor.

Corncrakes – Talk on Wednesday

November 28, 2017

A bit late but…..


Skye & Raasay Woodland Survey 1987

November 28, 2017

A little over thirty years ago Viv Halcrow completed “A Preliminary Survey of Native Woodland on the Isles of Skye and Raasay” for the Nature Conservancy Council.  Whilst I have acquired a few records from this report over the years, mostly from Raasay, I have this year had access to the original data.

Viv surveyed 101 woodland sites and from all bar seven of these that spanned two 10 km squares, I have managed to extract 9,628 useful records. For 34 sites I have been able to allocate the records to a monad, for 35 to a tetrad and for the remaining 26 only to a hectad as the site spans two or more tetrads. (I know 7+34+35+26=102 – one site was recorded as two separate sections.)

This has resulted in several new 10km square records e.g. Asplenium ruta-muraria (Wall-rue) in NG71 at Allt Cailte and rather a lot of new tetrad records – making me realise just how many areas of woodland I have not visited on Skye.

Given the relative paucity of tetrad or better records from before 2000, this has been a real boon.

Plants Beginning With A…. or not

November 28, 2017

I sent an Agrimonia specimen to Douglas McKean at RBGE who says my “specimen is A. eupatoria for the following reasons: leaves greyish green beneath, fruit spines not reflexed and so fruit is top shaped and the fruits are deeply grooved.” See previous post.

Just because I am paranoid I am sending another specimen to Paul Green for his opinion.

Later: Paul says “By the shape of your fruit in your photo and the specimen your plant is clearly Agrimonia procera. The lower row of bristles are reflexed. Your fruits are bell shaped and the groves are shallow. The fruits of A. eupatoria are narrow and the groves are much deeper.”

This is getting embarrassing! I now have two highly respected botanists plus another historically who think the Skye & Raasay plants are A. eupatoria plus two highly respected botanists plus another historically who think they are A. procera.

Also, I have has a reply from Tony O’Mahony (BSBI Apium referee) about the putative Apium inundatum from Loch Duagrich. He says he does not think it is a Helosciadium (Latest name for Apium) because “(a) the leaflet-bases appear to be decurrent down the rhachis (NOT so in Helosciadium), while (b) the base of the leaf-petiole does NOT display the pair of conspicuous hyaline stipules that are so characteristic of H. nodiflorum, H. inundatum and their interspecific hybrid, H. x moorei.”

He also says “my first impression was that you had possibly collected a yellow-flowered member of the genus Rorippa, as the irregularly dentate leaflet teeth brought this genus to mind.”

Members of Skye Botany Group who were present may recall that was my first thought too!

I have a piece in cultivation so with any luck this can finally be resolved next year.