2022 County Report for Outer Hebrides

Paul Smith

A spring house party was based at Arivruaich, Lewis for two weeks, filling in some early species records (particularly Taraxacum) but also covering some unrecorded territory. Hypericum elodes turned up unexpectedly in Glen Uirn, about 15km from the nearest known locality. Permission from the Pairc estate led to some long walks along estate tracks, gaining a first record for Saxifraga stellaris east of Loch Seaforth, on Beinn Mhor. Another walk produced a second native location for Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, the first since 1941, at Creag na Beirighe.

A further roadside Carex maritima was discovered in central Lewis, considerably extending the ruderal halophyte populations. Several populations were visited in spring and summer as part of data gathering for a project on C. maritima.

A summer visit to Benbecula was productive, following up a report of Mertensia maritima (see below) and with records of Spiranthes romanzoffiana, Baldellia ranunculoides and Chara hispida in new localities. The main summer push was however on Great Bernera, which has not been recently recorded. There were several interesting aliens, including Levisticum officinale, Buddleja davidii, and Escallonia ×langleyensis (in 2 places). Interesting natives included Bolboschoenus maritimus, previously recorded here, but far from the next nearest locality, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Teucrium scorodonia. In an old road quarry with many weedy species on the nearby part of Lewis was a third vc locality for Juncus filiformis.

4000 records were added in 2022.

Mertensia maritima (Oysterplant)

Mertensia maritima, reported in 2021, but only with details in 2022. Not seen in the vice-county since 1987, but also refound in a second site on Vatersay later in 2022, where there was a previous old record with no details.

Chrysosplenium oppositifolium (Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage)

Chrysosplenium oppoitifolium on cliffs at Creag na Beirighe, SE Lewis – common on the mainland, but a very rare native in the Outer Hebrides (also introduced in Stornoway Castle grounds).

Juncus filiformis (Thread Rush)

Juncus filiformis in an old roadside quarry. A third broad locality for the vc, in a fifth hectad.