2020 County Report for West Ross & Cromarty

Duncan Donald

There have inevitably been fewer visitors this year, and many have understandably headed for remote areas. For example I’ve had several reports from Cul Mor: Artemisia norvegica (Norwegian Mugwort) obviously had a good year, and Peter Ashworth newly added Pseudorchis albida (Small-white Orchid). Jim McIntosh and Dan Watson contributed a splendid set of records from Beinn Dearg including, amongst a plethora of rarities (e.g. Artemisia norvegica again), Helictochloa pratensis (Meadow oat-grass), new for this hot-spot. I much enjoyed a socially-distanced excursion with the Inverness Botany Group in fine weather on Glas Bheinn, where we added Juncus triglumis (Three-flowered Rush) and a fine stand of Parnassia palustris (Grass-of-Parnassus) for NG94. Jeff Waddell sent in many records from the Balmacara area – as did David Morris from near Lochcarron, adding a new Equisetum hyemale (Rough Horsetail) site and taking the palm for the best find of the year, Trichophorum cespitosum ss (Northern Deergrass) in only its second Vc locality. Newcomers Genevieve and David Tompkins have their eye in well for Arctostaphylos alpinus (Alpine Bearberry), adding this from Beinn Ghobhlach and Beinn Liath Mhor – but also raising an intelligent question about how to network better to encourage visiting mountaineers to submit noteworthy finds. Local resident Nik Bullivant continued reporting Sibbaldia procumbens (Sibbaldia) records; and Irene Brandt reported Dactylorhiza purpurella var. cambrensis (Western marsh-orchid) from the road verge north of Ullapool she has been actively championing for many years. Worringly, I found Cotula alpina (Alpine Buttonweed) escaping north from the vice-county at Kirkaig.

Trichophorum cespitosum ss (Northern Deergrass)

Found by David Morris in three places at only its second Vc locality.

Equiseum hyemale (Rough Horsetail)

Found by David Morris at only its 4th Vc locality.

Dactylorhiza purpurella var. cambrensis (Western marsh-orchid)

Found by Irene Brandt on ‘her’ verge north of Ullapool; its 7th recorded Vc locality.