Archive for May, 2009

The Flora of Raasay and Rona

May 9, 2009

I have been to Birmingham to hear my son singing solo with the CBSO .  On the way, I stayed with my daughter in Glasgow who plays with the RSNO .  The train from Glasgow to Birmingham and back allowed time to do a lot more to my flora which has now reached a state where I can call it a first edition rather than a draft.  There is one section still to do and quite a few minor things to check but it is basically done.

A Different Orchid and more Adder’s-tongues

May 3, 2009

Yesterday’s trip was intended to check on adder’s-tongue sites that I have not seen for some years.  The first site was the most southerly site on Raasay for Small Adder’s-tongue (Ophioglosssum azoricum) last visited in 2000.  It was fine and very clearly that species and with fertile fronds already.

I then went to look for a site for the larger species, Ophioglosssum vulgatum, at Manish Beag which I had failed to re-find a few years ago when leading a SWT walk.  I failed to find it again. It was a very small population and I think it has probably gone.

I went to the two O. azoricum sites that I know in dried-up pools in the summer. They were not dried up.  One was completely full of water and I couldn’t spot any adder’s-tongues. The other was slightly down from its maximum level and around the edge were quite a lot of these tiny plants – some with fertile fronds already.  They looked entirely normal.  These are the populations that look strange later on – presumably those that remain under water for a while yet then grow a little differently.

I had lunch here on the north Manish coast watching gannets, mew (common) gulls and a sandpiper. 

On to another old O. vulgatum site which I failed to find in a large area of bracken.

On the way back to Tarbert where I had left the car, I spotted Lesser Twayblade (Neottia (formerly Listera) cordata) in flower.  This is about the right time for it to start flowering hereabouts, though the flowers are so inconsequential that from any distance the dead inflorescences look little different for months to come.

A heron and cuckoos finished off a fine day.

The first Adder’s-tongue of 2009

May 1, 2009

Today I re-found the Adder’s-tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum) that is the most southerly on the west coast of Raasay, not far from Balachuirn.  It clearly is that species – I wasn’t sure in the light of recent investigations as I hadn’t visited this site for eight years.

I was pleased that this species was already above ground and easy to find, as tomorrow I hope to go looking for other previous sites of this and Small Adder’s-tonge (Ophioglossum azoricum).