Beinn Edra

At 611 m, Beinn Edra is not as high as The Storr but it has its own character and flora. This area is the local heartland for the Nationally Scarce Sibbaldia procumbens (Sibbaldia or Least Cinquefoil).  Until yesterday I had never seen it in flower – and I remember Carl saying the same thing.  Yesterday I discovered why. One plant had a flower on it:

Sibbaldia procumbens

Sibbaldia procumbens in flower

but many had fruits with ripe seeds that spilled out on touch:

Sibbaldia procumbens in fruit

Sibbaldia procumbens in fruit

All the books I have that give a flowering time say “July-August” or in one case “July”. Clearly that is incorrect on Skye at least. I suspect that once the seeds are shed the remaining husks of the fruits will break off and blow away – which is why come August I see no flowers or fruits.

There were lots of other rare and scarce plants as one expects on the Trotternish Ridge, but I was particularly pleased to find Poa alpina (Alpine Meadow-grass) in an area where it had not been recorded since 1967 – and at that time only given NG46 as a grid reference.

Poa alpina

Poa alpina

The arrows mark the inflorescence and the bluish leaves – the bulk of grass leaves are Deschampsia.

As on my last visit, much of the Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow) was infected by the sawfly Pontania herbaceae giving rise to bright red berry-like growths.

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