2022 County Report for East Lothian

Marion Moir

East Lothian (vc82)                                                                Marion Moir


Total number of records: 13,062


After working out the Monads with no records and marking them on my phone Memory Map with a blue flag, and Monads with less than ten records with a yellow flag, we concentrated on these through the Spring moving eastwards through the county. Spring plants such as Petasites fragrans (Winter Heliotrope), Myosotis ramossissima (Early Forgetmenot) and Viola odorata (Sweet Violet) were particularly targeted. On a walk down the Colstoun Water, we refound quantities of Petasites albus (White Butterbur), and an unusual plant Trachystemon orientalis (Abraham, Isaac and Joseph) which has naturalised down this river.

Michael Williams, owner of Eaglescairnie farm near Gifford, asked the Botany Group to come and record around his farm, as he takes a keen interest in natural history; there is a regular group who visit to record the birds, and Michael has brought in students to practise the layering of hedges. A small group of us made two visits in the Spring and Summer. The Goodyera repens (Creeping Ladies Tresses) which grow nearby are just outside his farm but the damage caused by storm Arwin with fallen trees had not affected them. He felt that the layered hedges and the mixed planting of trees had been beneficial to the farm’s biodiversity.

At the end of July, a group visit was made to Papple Steading near Whittinghame. Sue Jury undertook to lead this visit, as an operation on my foot kept me away from recording for the rest of the Summer. The aim of the visit was to learn about the exotic trees that grow in the Whittinghame woods. George Mackintosh is developing Papple Steading into an East Lothian agricultural museum and went out of his way to welcome the group and show them around the buildings and the wildflower meadow, ending up with a welcome tea.

This is my opportunity to thank Sue Jury for all her hard work in helping the recording in VC82; she has now become Recorder for VC83, and we shall work closely together. For 2023 we are planning some shared walks between the two counties.

Calystegia soldanella (Sea Bindweed)

Refound on the dunes at Belhaven Bay, recorded last in 1982, found by Carolyn Hargest.

Lycium barbarum (Duke of Argyll’s Teaplant)

Found on the coast between Prestonpans and Cockenzie, a new record. Another is south of Gullane at Saltcoats Castle. Lycium chinense is further east at Skateraw and Thorntonloch.

Catapodium rigidum (Fern Grass)

Amongst the industrial exhibits of Prestongrange Museum, several plants, found by David Adamson.

Polypogon viridis (Beard Grass, Water Bent)

On pavements in Haddington, first record for VC82, spreading out from Edinburgh. Found along with P monspeliensis by Julia Wilson.

Polypogon monspeliensis (Annual Beard Grass)

Found in Haddington by Julia Wilson , first record for VC82.

Apera spica-venti (Loose Silky Bent)

Found in the carpark of Woodhall Dean (SWT), south of Dunbar, by David Adamson, first record for VC82.

Crassula helmsii (New Zealand Pygmy Weed)

Reported from a little pond on Garleton Hills, north of Haddington. The records for this invasive species are mainly at Duddingston Loch in Edinburgh, and a pond over near Tyninghame, so the likelihood is that it has travelled on bird’s feet. The piece I took home was thoroughly toasted in the oven! The Ranger for the Garleton Hills has said she will attempt to eradicate it. You might like to listen to ‘Out of Doors’ on Radio Scotland 10/12/2022, Inverness Council emptying the pond in Bught Park, not to eradicate but just to lessen the quantity of the weed.

Trachystemon orientalis (Abraham, Isaac and Joseph)

Naturalised on the Colstoun Water, first spotted near Colstoun House by Sandra Goodswen.