Archive for May, 2015

Galium album near Broadford

May 29, 2015

Steve had found Galium album (aka G. mollugo)((Hedge Bedstraw) on a roadside not far from Broadford.

Galium album

Galium album                Photo S. Terry

All previous records were in the north of Skye and the last was in 1997 so this is very pleasing!

Patterns of Flora | Mapping Seven Raasay Habitats: Launch Weekend

May 27, 2015

It would be very helpful if you could let the organisers (or me) know what events you would like to attend!


Skye Botany Group Excursion

May 27, 2015

Today we had a wet walk to the top of Ben Suardal. On the way up we checked two known sites for Paris quadrifolia (Herb-paris) in limestone pavement. One population was looking particularly healthy and was flowering well:

Paris quadrifolia   Suardal

Paris quadrifolia      Suardal

At the top there were the expected Potentilla crantzii (Alpine Cinquefoil) and Carex rupestris (Rock Sedge). I put photos of these two from the same place on this blog almost exactly a year ago.

Nick made some good bryophyte records and we looked at some other areas of limestone but the weather eventually sent us packing.

Ornamental Rhubarb

May 27, 2015

Kalman Konyves of RHS Wisley has kindly identified for me a plant that was growing just above the shore at Armadale in 2006 as Rheum palmatum (Ornamental Rhubarb):

Rheum palmatum Armadale

Rheum palmatum       Armadale

It has gone now.

Ord and Glenbrittle

May 24, 2015

As I couldn’t get back to Raasay from Canna until today, I chose on the way home to visit Ord to look for a known Valerianella site and, while I was in sandy beach mode, to go to Glenbrittle and see what was what.

Valerianella locusta (Common Cornsalad) has been known at Ord since 1967. Unlike most sites in NW Scotland this is not on a sandy soil but on a boulder. I have not found this site before and there were only two plants but they look good – at least 48 years is a remarkable achievement for a tiny population of an annual. This is the only known Skye site.

Valerianella locusta Ord

Valerianella locusta Ord

Nearby, there were two plants of Moehringia trinervia (Three-nerved Sandwort). Amazingly, this is the first record of this plant for Skye. There are several sites on Raasay and Eigg and an old record from Rum. Foolishly, I didn’t think to take a photo. I also spotted Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress) – best found early in the season.

At Glenbrittle beach there was again (like Canna) Ranunculus bulbosus (Bulbous Buttercup) beginning to flower and more Cornu aspersum (Garden Snail) – this time a new record for NG42 according to NBN. I notice that the AIDGAP guide to land snails says “occurring in woods, hedges and dunes as well as in gardens”.

This time the dunes did contain Erophila glabrescens (Glabrous Whitlowgrass) and the sandy shore had plants known previously such as Atriplex laciniata (Frosted Orache), Cakile maritima (Sea Rocket) and Elytrigia juncea (Sand Couch).

The single young specimen of Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima (Sea Beet) that Jean-François found last September appears to have been lost to the winter storms, though it might be under a pile of seaweed.

There was also a sandy hollow with at least 50 plants of Pentaglottis sempervirens (Green Alkanet). First reported from this area in 1996 by Paul Smith and Tim Rich, Carl Farmer recorded three in 2005. It has clearly done well since then.

Pentaglottis sempervirens

Pentaglottis sempervirens

It presumably came from the same source as all the Aegopodium podagraria (Ground-elder) and Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora (Montbretia) that accompanies it.

Some of the Cirsium arvense (Creeping Thistle) was covered in Puccinia punctiformis, a common rust that is seriously under-recorded.

Canna & Sanday

May 24, 2015

The current ferry timetable allows eight hours on Canna on a Saturday. So this weekend I took advantage of that and got good weather for six of the eight hours.

I spent most of the time on Sanday as, inspired by my recent week on North Uist, I wanted to look for early annuals on the sand dunes. That part was pretty unsuccessful as I didn’t even manage to re-find a 2001 record for Valerianella locusta (Common Cornsalad) and found none of the others I had half a hope for. There is still no record for Erophila on Canna.

Anyway, first I had to get from the ferry to Sanday and I had a look in Canna House garden where I found Ficaria verna subsp. verna (Lesser Celandine – the one with bulbils in the leaf axils). This is new to Canna and follows the pattern elsewhere in the vice-county of being in or near a big house garden. Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress) was also new to Canna.

The Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima (Sea Beet) that I found in 2009 has increased from 3 plants to 5. I have told NTS about it as it is just by their office and they are in a position to make sure that it is not suddenly bulldozed away.

Although the sand dunes were generally disappointing, the Ranunculus bulbosus (Bulbous Buttercup) was beginning to flower.

Ranunculus bulbosus        Note reflexed sepals

Ranunculus bulbosus                      Note reflexed sepals

Elsewhere the Mertensia maritima (Oysterplant) was also beginning to flower and one patch comprised a very healthy 60 plants.

Mertensia Sanday

Mertensia maritima

The overgrown lochan An t-Oban contained its usual goodies including most of VC 104’s Hypericum elodes (Marsh St John’s-wort) and the western end of Sanday had a great many flowering Scilla verna (Spring Squill) and Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid):

.Orchis mascula Sanday Scilla verna Canna

The dunes had lots of snails that appear to be Cornu aspersum, the Garden Snail. I was slightly surprised by this and brought a couple of empty shells home to check but that seems to be right and I find that at least in Ireland they are “Commonest in gardens and on sand dunes at the coast.” At least according to NBN, this will be a new record for NG20 post-1999.

On Canna I spotted the usual galls on thyme and rust on nettles.

Images from North Uist

May 17, 2015

I came home yesterday from a week based on North Uist with Paul, Geoffrey, James, Beth, Mary and David. Before catching the ferry I visited another area of sand dunes and found a further extensive colony of Mibora minima (Early Sand-grass):

Mibora minima in NF75

Mibora minima in NF75

Other images from the week:

Anthoxanthum nitens

Anthoxanthum nitens previously Hierochloe odorata (Holy-grass)

Ancient Plantago maritima

Ancient Plantago maritima (Sea Plantain)

Taraxacum obliquum

Taraxacum obliquum  (A Dandelion)

Saxifraga tridactylites (Rue-leaved Saxifrage)

Saxifraga tridactylites (Rue-leaved Saxifrage)

Ophioglossum azoricum (Small Adder's-tongue)

Ophioglossum azoricum (Small Adder’s-tongue)

"Lochside" Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern)

“Lochside” Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern)

The World’s Smallest Grass

May 13, 2015

Mibora minima (Early Sand-grass) is reputedly the world’s smallest grass and until last Friday the only site in Scotland was in East Lothian. It is Nationally Rare and a remarkable addition to the Outer Hebridean flora. Today we went and counted it – finding over a thousand specimens within a single 1 km square in the dunes.

Mibora minima

Mibora minima

and yes, that is a 5p piece……

Better picture of the grass itself:

MIbora minima    Photo: Paul Smith

Mibora minima on North Uist                                  Photo: Paul Smith

Seashore Festival – Plock of Kyle Sat 16th May

May 10, 2015

Seashore Festival - Plock of Kyle Sat 16th May

First Report from North Uist

May 10, 2015

The weather is pretty dreich today but yesterday evening we had this fine Puss Moth on Salix repens (Creeping Willow):

Puss Moth

Puss Moth

I notice that the NBN has no post-1999 records for this in VC104 – but maybe folks know better……