Posts Tagged ‘Plants’

Caterpillar & Fern

March 26, 2017

Nick reports Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern) from Allt Daraich where I failed to re-find it based on an old record, just over a year ago.

I found this moth larva whilst doing a bit of spring tidying in the garden:

larva 170324

Nigel tells me it is the larva of the Large Yellow Underwing – a moth I often get in the moth trap later in the season. It apparently comes in brown and green forms.

Tree Diseases

March 26, 2017

I went to an interesting pair of talks on tree diseases at the HBRG Spring Meeting yesterday by folks from Forest Research.  There is much useful information at the Observatree and Forestry Commission’s Pests and Diseases websites.

We know all too well about Phytophthora ramorum on Larch on Raasay – so it may be elswhere. Also Phytophthora austrocedrae which causes dieback and mortality of juniper may be worth looking out for. It is not known locally but the population of potential human observers is low.  That’s potential observers rather than potential humans.

If you see something worth reporting, they would like three photographs – of the tree, the infected area and a close-up, as well as a grid ref etc.

Raasay Willows

March 1, 2017

My contribution to Am Bratach: Raasay’s Community Newsletter concerns willows and can be found via a link on this page.

The picture captions didn’t make it so here they are:

Salix aurita (Eared Willow) Photo: Geoorde Wilg

Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow). Insets flower and gall. Photo: SJB.

Bluebells and Orchids

March 1, 2017

My first bluebell of the year:


Hyacinthoides hispanica

though I have had to travel 1250 miles south to see it. This also explains Ophrys tenthredinifera  Sawfly Orchid (probably) today:ophrys-tenthredinifera-tomar

Greetings from Tomar, Portugal to all my readers!


February 3, 2017

This month’s contribution to the Raasay Community Newsletter concerns Ivy and can be found via a link here.


January 28, 2017

I have been a bit remiss about Hieracium spp. (Hawkweeds) over the years, generally recording them as the aggregate and occasionally sending a few for expert determination. Last year I collected eleven from Raasay and Skye and recently sent ten of them away having lost one. It probably got thrown out accidentally in a grand clean-out, but could yet turn up.

The results came back immediately from David McCosh and turned out to be of six different microspecies of which the most interesting is H. praesigne (Distinguished Hawkweed). I don’t know whether the vernacular name refers to its dignified appearance or whether it was named in frustration by someone finally sorting it out from similar species.

This turns out to be only the eighth record for Scotland – and the second for the east coast of Raasay. It was previously recorded by Alan Stirling in 1969 at Druim an Aonaich, 4 km north of the new site and in a different 10 km square of the National Grid.

Here is the one that got away:

East side of Loch Harport

January 26, 2017

Today I ventured into NG3635 on the East side of Loch Harport from the estuary of the Sumardale River south-eastwards.I was hoping to re-find Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern) from 1967. Success:


Hymenophylum wilsonii

and also Juniperus communis (Juniper), Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern), Polystichum aculeatum (Hard Shield-fern) from 1977. I found two out of three:

I recorded 83 taxa of which 6 were new to the tetrad and 16 had not been recorded since before 2000.

Second Half of 2016

January 26, 2017

A report on the last six months of 2016 is on the VC104 page of the BSBI website. It adds nothing to what has been reported here. It was perhaps the thinnest six months for several years in terms of exciting new discoveries, mostly because I tended to be away from the area whenever the weather was fine and home when it was filthy.

Raasay’s Saltmarsh Plants Again, etc.

December 2, 2016

My contribution to the Raasay Community Newsletter for December is a second look at saltmarsh plants. It is available through a link on the Recording and Resources page of my website.

My talk at the Scottish Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland and the Botanical Society of Scotland was entitled  A year in the life of a Scottish Recorder and the slides are available via the link – though they are of limited use without the accompanying ad hoc chatter.

I quite liked the following two diagrams together. The first shows daylight hours in Portree in 2015:


The second shows records per month for VC 104 in 2015:


Quite apart from the unsurprising correlation between the two (with perhaps a slight lag in records to allow for growth in the plants), this means 3 plant records were made in VC104 for every daylight hour of 2015 (13,715 records/4504 hours). One member of my audience said that just listening to my talk made him feel tired.

Ardmore, Waternish

November 24, 2016

Encouraged by bits of Zostera marina (Eelgrass) in the seaweed washed up outside my house, yesterday I went to see if I could find any at Ardmore as it had been recorded there in October 1964. No luck. I have records for this marine angiosperm from almost every month of the year – often as wash-ups after rough weather.

I had thought of going on in search of another old record for it but found myself walking round Ardmore Point which took me into a different 10km square. The relevant tetrad is NG25E of which only 1.6% is land.  I have walked it before, in September 2007, and the taxon count was at 91. I added six more common species but was pleased to spot Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape) at this time of year.


Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape)

It was interesting to find several plants in flower such as these:

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and Ranunculus flammula subsp. flammula (Lesser Spearwort) – no photo. The primrose was amongst the small boulders at the top of the shore.

Some ferns and horsetails were looking OK, though the horsetail will die right back soon.

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Curiously, some of the Outer Isles appeared to be floating, Laputa-like: