2022 County Report for Roxburghshire

Jeff Waddell & Rod Corner


2022 was the most productive year for recording ever in vc80, in terms of the number of records collected, with 12,544 records collected of 756 taxa. This was due to one of the VCRs (Jeff) moving back to live on the edge of the county, allowing frequent evening recording sessions after work.

Much of the fieldwork was therefore undertaken in the northern half of the county, within relatively short distance of Galashiels. Several trips wider afield were also undertaken, by Jeff or with the local botany group. 132 monads were visited, with 100+ taxa recorded in 76 of these. The most species rich monad, NY4787, Holm Hill, Newcastleton, had 275 taxa recorded.

Twenty three new vice county records were made, all of which were non-native. Ten of these were trees or shrubs, recorded by Matt Parrat (Betula utilis, Forsythia × intermedia, Fraxinus angustifolia, Picea jezoensis, Pinus banksiana, Pyrus salicifolia, Quercus ilex and Sciadopytis verticilliata), Luke Gaskell (Laburnum × watereri) and Jeff (Lonicera involucrata). Seven were Narcissus recorded by Jeff (“Barrett Browning”, “February Gold”, “February Silver”, “Ice Follies”, “Mount Hood”, “White Lady” and Narcissus poeticus sub spp. recurvus). The remaining six were mostly spring flowering herbs, recorded by Luke (Hyacinthus orientalis & Scilla luciliae), Matt (Hacquetia epipactis & Iris foetidissima) and Jeff (Cardamine heptaphylla & Pastinaca sativa).

Rod Corner visited Floors Castle in May and found Acaena novae-zelandiae (Piri-piri-bur) and Oxalis exilis (Least Yellow-sorrel) in sheets in trackside woodland and Montia fontana ssp. fontana (Blinks) on the moist trackside where it has been present for for 25 years.

Sedum villosum (Hairy Stonecrop) was present on the edge of the old track at Pot Burn house, upper Ettrick and Dryopteris oreades (Mountain Male-fern) on the  roadside near Ettrick Kirk normally widespread on screes. The Tima Water gravels between Glenkerry and Gair are being
dominated by invasive Alchemilla mollis (Soft Lady’s-mantle) and are losing their botanical biodiversity.

The photo shows Bowdenmoor south of Melrose, one of the finest areas of unimproved lowland grassland in southern Scotland, where the nationally uncommon (in Scotland) Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis has a large population and was recorded in 2022.

Gymnadenia densiflora (Marsh Fragrant Orchid)

Gymnadenia densiflora (Marsh Fragrant Orchid) is rather local in Roxburghshire, a new colony was discovered in unimproved damp grassland at Blakelaw in NT73, extending its known range significantly in south east Scotland.

Paris quadrifolia (Herb Paris)

Paris quadrifolia (Herb Paris) has just two sites in Roxburghshire. The Mossburnford colony was visited on the 8th May and seemed to have declined in area, but is still present.

Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine)

Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine) was refound at the base of Minto Craigs on the evening of the summer solstice, at one of its few sites in the county.

Genista anglica (Pety Whin)

The only site in the county for Petty Whin (Genista anglica) was found to have been destroyed by a forestry scheme in 2022. Several good sites have been and continue to be subject to such a fate in the Scottish Borders with the loss of much biodiversity.

Vicia lathyroides (Spring Vetch)

A new locality for the locally rare Vicia lathyroides (Spring Vetch) was found at Sweethope Hill.

Helianthenum nummularium (Common Rock-rose)

Sweethope Hill, a fine outcrop of lowland unimproved grassland with abundant Helianthenum nummularium (Common Rock-rose). Several other specialities were recorded in 2022 including Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink) and Scleranthus annus (Annual Knawel).