Ord and Glenbrittle

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.

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