Plants in Vice-County 104: A Review of January-June 2017
Skye Botany Group met twice, visiting Staffin and the slopes of Sgùrr nan Gillean. The Inverness Botany Group spent a week recording on Muck.
Talks were given to the Sleat Environment Group (From Orchids to Invasives) and SWT Skye Region Group (Recent Botanical Finds in VC104). Monthly articles on matters of local botanical interest continued to be written for Am Bratach, the Raasay Community Newsletter. Articles also appeared in BSBI News (Extracting records from the Scottish Saltmarsh Survey) and the BSS Newsletter (On Being BSBI Recorder for VC104: Skye, Raasay & The Small Isles).
Nearly 8,000 records were made in VC104 in the first half of 2017 including 149 new hectad records, although a few of these are the result of subspecies recording e.g. Huperzia selago subsp. selago where Huperzia selago was already recorded. Many thanks to all who have contributed so far this year, especially Steve Terry who produced over 1,100 records including several first vice-county records for introductions.
New to British Isles:
Seth Gibson found Mitella ovalis (Bishop’s-cap or Oval-leaved Mitrewort) in Uig Wood and traced the source to a garden linked to the woodland site by a drain. This has been written up for BSBI News.
New to VC104:
- Acaena anserinifolia (Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur) at Uig.
- Arum italicum (Italian Lords-and-Ladies) in Glendale.
- Doronicum pardalianches (Leopard’s-bane) near Hinnisdal Bridge.
- Echium vulgare (Viper’s-bugloss) at the Aird of Sleat.
- Euphorbia griffithii (Griffith's Spurge) at Ardvasar.
- Phacelia tanacetifolia (Blue Tansy) planted at Tormore.
- Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax) planted on Muck.
New to Skye:
- Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush), south of Orbost – known on Raasay, Rona and Rum.
- Tulipa gesneriana (Garden Tulip) near Broadford Airstrip.
Second for Skye:
- Nitella translucens (Translucent Stonewort) in Loch Corlarach, north of Dunvegan – known on Raasay, Rum and Soay.
Carex paniculata (Greater Tussock-sedge) is turning out to be not quite as rare as earlier records suggest, though it remains far from common on Skye.
Hyacinthoides x massartiana (H. non-scripta x hispanica) appears to be spreading, with some 2017 records amongst populations of the native parent.
A single excursion in May added three Nationally Scarce species to tetrad NG55C, Cephalanthera longifolia (Narrow-leaved Helleborine), Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) and Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine) and two to NG55H, Dryas and Equisetum x font-queri (Font-Quer’s Horsetail).
A rather wet and windy week on Muck with the Inverness Botany Group resulted in over 1,800 records at the monad level. As well as re-finding old records of many species, the following were added to the Muck list.
- Calystegia sepium (Hedge Bindweed)
- Carex extensa (Long-bracted Sedge)
- Carex limosa (Bog-sedge)
- Carex oederi (Small-fruited Yellow-sedge)
- Salix cinerea subsp. oleifolia (Rusty Willow)
- Valeriana officinalis (Common Valerian)
Also, many introductions were recorded for the first time, though Muck is particularly difficult in terms of knowing which introductions to record. Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax) was found planted on the edge of a forestry plantation, the first record for VC104.
Fumaria bastardii (Tall Ramping-fumitory) was a good find with only two previous sites in VC104 (on Muck and Eigg) and no record since 1999.
A Hieracium specimen from 2016 was determined as H. praesigne (Distinguished Hawkweed). 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.
Stephen J Bungard
Ceol-na-Mara, West Suisnish, Isle of Raasay, by Kyle, IV40 8NX
mobile on meeting days: 07549 184831
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>> List of axiophytes in v.c. 104 (xlsx file) more about axiophytes...
Flora of Skye
For photographs of the plants of Skye, visit Carl Farmer’s fine web site Skye Flora.
>> Ten years of reports: 2006 - 2015.
The Botanist in Skye and Adjacent Islands
by C.W. Murray H.J.B. Birks, Prabost and Bergen 2005 ISBN: 0-9548971-0-2
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