Archive for July, 2012

Green-flowered Hawkweed

July 29, 2012

This feels outside my usual area of competence but I have correctly identified Hieracium chloranthum (Green-flowered Hawkweed) from two sites on Skye.   No other species has such greenish stylose ligules.  I sent one from near Sconser to David McCosh who confirmed its identity and I saw the same thing on Castle Ewen in the Fairy Glen in June.  Stupidly I have no photograph to offer. This species was recorded previously on Castle Ewen in the 1880s by W.R. & E.F Linton, is known elsewhere on Skye and is widespread in northern Scotland

Oh No Giant Hogweed

July 28, 2012

Just because I said there was no Giant Hogweed in Skye one has appeared in Portree:

Felled Giant

First spotted by Tim Moore of Skye Linen Services whose business is close by, it has now received several visitors, one of whom felled it.  However, more needs to be done to guarantee no seeds.


July 27, 2012

Michael Usher has been for a brief visit to Canna and armed with my list of plants not seen since before the year 2000 has knocked off 18 or 19 of them:

Allium ursinum Hypericum androsaemum
Aphanes australis Hypericum perforatum
Atriplex prostrata Myriophyllum alterniflorum*
Cakile maritima Rosa canina agg.
Carex pendula Rosa mollis agg.
Carex sylvatica Scrophularia nodosa
Deschampsia cespitosa Sonchus oleraceus
Euphrasia arctica ssp. borealis Stachys sylvatica
Euphrasia scottica Utricularia intermedia sens. lat.
Veronica persica

* to be confirmed.

Of these, I am particularly pleased with the Cakile maritima (Sea Rocket) which was last recorded on Canna in 1953.

It looks as though the Apium inundatum (Lesser Marshwort) has really gone from An t-Oban as it fills in with reeds, which is a shame as that was the only confirmed site in the vice-county.  I couldn’t find any in 2009 and Michael has not found any this year.

Meadale Area

July 27, 2012

On 14th July Nick told me that he had just seen a bluebell in flower asking if this was a late record. I said it was certainly late but could not tell if it was a record record. Anyway, it isn’t now because I found this one in flower yesterday:

Late Bluebell

Sometimes plants just do not seem to have read the books and this:

Not Oak

gave me a moment’s confusion before realisation dawned that it was honeysuckle.

As well as the galls of the previous post and various invertebrates and indeed vertebrates, I recorded over 200 plant taxa in a tetrad with no previous records, 143 in a tetrad with only one previous record (which I did not find) and 156 in a third where most previous records were from the other side of Loch Harport. Whilst no great rarities were spotted, the Meadale Burn is rich and varied and I found Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose) and Prunus padus (Bird Cherry) which are both scattered on Skye in small numbers. The air quality must be good, as one would expect:

Lichen-covered Hawthorn

I also found three plants of Escallonia macrantha (Escallonia) in the burn gorge well away from habitation or a road, presumably having travelled downstream from a house or dumped roadside garden rubbish. I notice that whilst recorded for Raasay, Rum, Eigg and Muck this is actually the first record for Skye, though I feel it will have escaped elsewhere.

By the shore I spotted Agrimonia procera (Fragrant Agrimony) which again is infrequent, though some earlier records for the apparently also infrequent Agrimonia eupatoria (Agrimony) might need checking.

Agrimonia procera


July 26, 2012

More on today’s activities around Meadale, south of Struan on Skye later, but for now Gall News:

Eriophyes inangulis

These galls are on Alnus glutinosa (Alder) and are caused by the gall mite Eriophyes inangulis. They grow in the angles between the midrib of the leaf and the side veins.

Also on alder was Taphrina alni (Alder Tongue) which grows on female cones:

Alder Tongue

On Urtica dioica (Common Nettle) I found a different gall from my usual rust Puccinia urticata, this one caused by a small Cecid fly, Dasineura urtica:

Nettle Leaf Gall

I also spotted a gall on Galium aparine (Goosegrass/Cleavers/Sticky Willie etc) caused by the mite Cecidophyes galii, but have no photo of it.


July 24, 2012

We visited Bornesketaig, North of Uig this afternoon and had a look at a garden fighting bravely against difficult exposed coastal conditions. Five species were added to the record list for that tetrad.  In the garden was this incredibly friendly Brown Hare:

Hare Today

Where did this come from?

July 24, 2012

At least four plants of Linaria vulgaris (Common Toadflax) have appeared in our garden. Until they flowered I had assumed that they were Linaria purpurea (Purple Toadflax) which we have had for years.

Linaria vulgaris

This is not really a plant of North-west Scotland and is not recorded from VC104.

Alchemilla Workshop

July 23, 2012

The weekend was taken up by a workshop  based in Ullapool on the critical group of the genus Alchemilla (Lady’s-mantles).  The most interesting thing to me was the presence of lots of Alchemilla glaucescens (Silky Lady’s-mantle) on  the Durness limestone near Ullapool and Inchnadamph.

Alchemilla glaucescens

Given the extensive Durness limestone on Skye, there has to be a chance of finding this Nationally Scarce plant in VC 104.

I had hoped to see A. glomerulans (Clustered Lady’s-mantle) in the wild as well but had to be content with a specimen in a pot plus some bits from a garden-grown plant. We have one recent record from Eigg but again, I would expect it to be elsewhere.

Sea-level Alpines and Smut

July 23, 2012

I took a look at  the river called Abhuinn Torra-mhichaig near Sconser where seven years ago I had noticed these two alpines at an altitude of 20m:

Oxyria digyna Mountain Sorrel

Alchemilla alpina Alpine Lady’s-mantle

As you can see they are still flourishing.

Nearby three plants of Carex panicea (Carnation Sedge) were infected with the smut Anthracoidea paniceae:

Smut on Carnation Sedge

A Raasay Nymph

July 19, 2012

Richard Moore sent me this picture from beside Loch Eadar ad Bhaile, Raasay.


Whilst obviously a dragonfly nymph, the question is which one?  Jonathan Willet and Barbara Macritchie are agreed that it is the gravel-encrusted larva of Cordulegaster boltonii (Golden-ringed Dragonfly).