Raasay Weeds

I was invited to have a look at some ground at Clachan that had been turned over and left for a while as some potentially interesting plants had appeared.

It turned out to be very rewarding with Persicaria lapathifolia (Pale Persicaria) complete with diagnostic yellow glands on the peduncles, a first for Raasay.  Also there was a single plant of  Atriplex patula (Common Orache) which made only the second reliable record for Raasay, the previous one being unlocalised in the south of Raasay in 1957.  Earlier records refer to beaches and probably arose from confusion with other oraches.

This is the only Raasay site for Potentilla reptans (Creeping Cinquefoil) and Scrophularia auriculata (Water Figwort) (both first recorded in 1993) and both are still present.

Additionally there were weeds that are common in much of the British Isles but not here, such as Lamium purpureum (Red Dead-nettle), Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s-purse), Sinapis arvensis (Charlock) and Chenopdium album (Fat-hen).

We had a fairly hard frost a couple of days ago and there was snow on the tops of the Skye hills.  However, a small tortoiseshell was active a few days ago and many plants are still determinable – with occasional flowers still showing.

Added later: Mike Wilcox has confirmed the Persicaria lapathifolia from tepal venation:

P. lapathifolia tepal     Photo: M Wilcox

P. maculosa tepal    Photo: M Wilcox

Later still!: Clarification from MW:(outer tepals); 3 veins, unbranched along their length, with 2 shorter distinctly turned back branches at each tip = lapathifolia, – 3 veins, at least one or more branched along their length, variously branched at the tip = maculosa..


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