Yesterday I had a few hours to spare before a SLO concert at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and decided to look for the one remaining localised record of Mercurialis perennis (Dog’s Mercury) that I had not re-found. The site is near the mouth of the Allt a’ Cham-aird near Tormore and was described as “geo on shore” with a six-figure grid reference. This was slightly misleading, but having scoured the geo I found a mass of Mercurialis a short distance away in open woodland.
This leaves two vague old records not re-found, one from 1868 and one anonymous and undated. The same site also had a record for Glechoma hederacea (Ground-ivy), another Locally Scarce plant, but I thought I was pushing my luck to find this so early in the year and so it proved.
However, at the top of the shore close by I found Ammophila arenaria (Marram):
This was highly unexpected. Marram is long known from the dunes at Glen Brittle but the only other Skye records are unlocalised 10 km square records from the far north of Skye and had been thought to be probable errors. This new site from an area that is not obviously sandy (though the underlying substrate may be) means that these old records need re-evaluation.
There is only a small patch of this habitat but it has to be worth another look later in the season in case any other sandy coast specialist are present e.g. Ranunculus bulbosus (Bulbous Buttercup) – in this part of the world it is only native in this sort of habitat. A return trip would be good anyway as there is a good wet patch with Hypericum tetrapterum (Square-stalked St. John’s-wort) and a sedge that I wasn’t sure about in the absence of inflorescences. Also, the adjacent ground is in a tetrad with only three records before yesterday when I added two more whilst searching for the Mercurialis. There is only about 0.2 km2 of land in tetrad NG60F but they could be quite an interesting 0.2 km2 with a burn, coastal cliffs and a short section of road.