2021 County Report for Stirlingshire

Matt Harding & Phil Sansum

The botanical highlight of 2021 was a painstaking survey of the only Corallorhiza trifida (Coralroot Orchid) site in VC86, which resulted in a significant increase in both numbers and spread of this enigmatic little orchid. A total of 104 flowering spikes were counted by Sarah Longrigg and Bill Parkes!

In contrast, the only Hypopitys monotropa (Yellow Bird’s-nest) site held a much-reduced population – just two flowering spikes noted by Roy Sexton (compared to 24 in 2019 and 49 in 2017), with dry conditions potentially a factor. Searches at the only Gagea lutea (Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem) site were unsuccessful, with the plant last seen in 1997 and possibly now extinct.

Two new taxa to VC86 were recorded, with Roy identifying a colony of Arabis collina (Rosy Cress) flowering prettily along the King’s Park boundary wall, and Andy Amphlett recording Pilosella × stoloniflora (Fox-and-cubs × Mouse-ear-hawkweed) near Kilsyth. Andy also noted a fine display of Lysimachia thyrsifolia (Tufted Loosestrife) along the Forth & Clyde Canal here, and Roy recorded new populations of the locally rare Ranunculus bulbosus (Bulbous Buttercup) around Bridge of Allan.

Development of a Vice-county Rare Plant Register got underway, with a draft species list now produced and hopefully soon rendered obsolete by fieldwork in 2022! The identification and assessment of Local Nature Conservation Sites in Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire also gathered pace, led by Natalie Harmsworth of TWIC, and supported by the BSBI through provision of data. These projects will enhance our understanding of and provide better protection for local biodiversity.