Alan Underhill’s Skye Records

Alan Underhill was a bird and plant twitcher, a term he was happy with, who died young but left some interesting records. He wanted to see every plant species that occurs in the wild in the British Isles and travelled the country sleeping in his car. I have recently received his Skye plant records which date from 1989 to 1999.

Amongst these are the first records for the vice-county for Geranium himalayense (Himalayan Crane’s-bill) and Nepeta x faassenii (Garden Cat-mint) near Linicro and a record for the dock hybrid Rumex x propinquus (R. crispus x longifolius) in Broadford in 1997. This hybrid between Curled Dock and Northern Dock is probably more common than records suggest – the only other Skye records are from Geoffrey Kitchener in Kyleakin in 1991 and myself in Roag in 2006.

Docks are generally not that difficult to sort out and the hybrids, of which there are many, usually look satisfactorily intermediate. The following illustrations are from the BSBI Docks & Knotweeds Handbook (available from Summerfield Books).

Rx x pro & parents

Tepals (a term used when a flower has no differentiation between petals and sepals) from left to right of Rumex longifolius (Northern Dock), R. x propinquus  and R. crispus (Curled Dock).

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