2023 County Report for Ayrshire

Dave Lang

2023 for the small vc75 Ayrshire recording group was a combination of seasonal visits to particular habitats (woodlands in spring, grasslands in summer etc.) and a final year of ‘treasure hunts’ as part of the BSBI Scottish Hectad Rare Plant Project (SHaRPP).


Highlights from the year were often to be found near the sea – and included finding new locations for Teesdalia nudicaulis (shepheard’s purse) and Mertensia maritima (oysterplant) while confirming/refinding old locations for Viola canina (heath dog-violet) and the Nationally Scarce endemic Coincya monensis subsp. monensis (Isle-of-Man cabbage). The latter is now pretty much confined to Ayrshire and the Clyde Islands in Scotland, with its range seemingly shrinking.


On the road verges near Bennane Head in the south of the vice county we confirmed the continuing presence of Ophrys apifera (bee orchid) as well as finding an unusual growth form (for us) of Anacamptis morio (green-winged orchid) – here at its only Scottish location. Seemingly, when protected from grazing cattle it grows closer to the height described in books – rather than the little stumps of inflorescence that we are more used to.


We also recorded the county’s third appearance of Anacamptis pyramidalis (pyramidal orchid) at Seafield Dunes in Ayrshire’s north. While towards the end of the season I personally was pleased to get to grips with confidently recording one of the easiest of the eyebrights – Euphrasia tetraqueta!

Mertensia maritima (oysterplant)

Nationally Near Threatened and locally scarce species expanding its range at Dunure.

Anacamptis pyramidalis (pyramidal orchid)

A new site for this locally scarce orchid species at Seamill.

Anacamptis morio (green-winged orchid)

Freed from grazing on a road verge, these nationally Near Threatened orchid specimens manage to make it to a ‘normal’ height.