2023 County Report for Kincardineshire

David Elston

The most significant event of the year was the death of senior co-recorder David Welch. An obituary has been written and will appear in BSBI News early in 2024.

I led a Wildflower Society walk at St Cyrus NNR on July 4th (main photo) as part of a 3-day meeting organised by Lyn Jones. Most attendees were from the south of England, so were pleased to see common northern species such as Ligusticum scoticum (Scots Lovage) and Rosa mollis (Soft Downy-rose) as well as some of the scarcer plants for which the site is renowned including Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink) and Astragalus glycyphyllos (Wild Liquorice).

Recording has concentrated on tetrads with few previous records, primarily in lowland arable areas. Combined with 2022’s focus on lowland areas dominated by arable land, several species once considered scarce in Kincardineshire have been found to be quite widespread, including Lamium hybridum (Cut-leaved Dead-nettle) in arable margins and Carex hirta (Hairy Sedge) in wet grassland.

An urban flora recording visit to Inverbervie led to discoveries of Veronica agrestis (Green Field-Speedwell) in the cemetery and outwith the settlement Salix phylicifolia (Tea-leaved willow) new to the catchment of the Bervie Water.

Visits to edge tetrads primarily in South Aberdeenshire have proved surprisingly productive. In particular, ditches in wet heath close to the former Loch of Park were found to contain Eleogiton fluitans (Floating Rush), Utricularia minor (Lesser Bladderwort) and Eleocharis multicaulis (Many-stemmed Spike-rush).

There are now fewer than 10 tetrads without respectable species lists, and these will be covered in 2024.

A selection of the most significant finds in Kincardineshire during 2023 is given below.

Ophioglossum azoricum (Small Adder’s-tongue)

Ophioglossum azoricum (Small Adder’s-tongue) was found at St Cyrus NNR, new to Kincardineshire. A press release was written and published in the Scotsman and on Yahoo News. A poster describing the discovery was produced for the 2023 Scottish Botanists’ Conference and is on the SBC website.

Polypogon monspeliensis (Annual Beard-grass)

Polypogon monspeliensis (Annual Beard-grass) was found growing by a footpath in Newtonhill, a Kincardineshire first.

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (Frogbit)

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (Frogbit) was found for the first time in Kincardineshire, growing in the old curling pond at Burnett Park, Banchory. This small pond has been the site of several other unusual records, in this case presumably resulting from the discard of material from a garden pond.

Lepidium campestre (Field Pepperwort)

Following on from last year’s first record for Lepidium campestre (Field Pepperwort) in Kincardineshire since 1960, a second group of plants was discovered near Park Bridge when exploring round one final bend at the end of a long day.

Ornithopus perpusillus (Bird’s-foot)

Ornithopus perpusillus (Bird’s-foot) was discovered on a forest track at Drumtochty, showing signs of flowering despite the visit taking place in December. This is third localised record for the species in Kincardineshire.

Ceratophyllum demersum (Rigid Hornwort)

Ceratophyllum demersum (Rigid Hornwort) was found in a eutrophic pond below Knock Hill, Glenbervie, a second Kincardineshire site for this species originally discovered at Loirston Loch in 2018.

Impatiens parviflora (Small Balsam)

Impatiens parviflora (Small Balsam) was discovered in the woods at NTS Crathes Castle, the sizeable patch suggesting this species must have gone unnoticed there for quite some time. This is only the 5th record for Kincardineshire and the first since 1994.