2020 County Report for Selkirkshire

Jeff Waddell & Rod Corner

Significantly more field work was undertaken due to Covid. Luke Gaskell was unable to travel to Peeblesshire, so instead focussed on Selkirkshire within a few miles of his house, when restrictions allowed. 7,868 records were collected, more than the previous four years combined and more than twice as much as any previous year. 98% of these records came from the hectad NT43, Galashiels and the Tweed Valley.

Luke’s efforts found many significant records, amongst native species a large colony of Sedum villosum at 370m asl on Ashiestiel Hill and a colony of Myosotis stolonifera at 300m asl on Long Philip Burn. Both of these are 10km disjunct from the nearest extant colonies in the central Southern Uplands. Despite there being only small and decreasing amounts of good arable weed habitat in the county Luke found three populations of Stachys arvensis, the first county records for 28 years.

Luke made many new non-native county records, including the grasses Anisantha diandra and Bromopsis inermis (confirmed by Arthur Copping) both by roads and the aquatics Spirodela polyrhiza, Apium nodiflorum and Rumex hydrolapathum, the former together in an artificial pond at Hollybush and the latter on the banks of the Tweed.

Jeff undertook limited field work including a trip in January with BSBI conifer referee, Matt Parrat, which found Abies cephalonica for the first time in the county (and third time in Scotland) at the Haining. It was also nice to see Cyclamen hederifolium in flower early in the year, where its naturalised at Bowhill. Another early spring bulb, Leucojum vernum at High Sunderland, was new for the county. Jeff’s last trip in the year was mid-March to GPS the Juniperus communis population on Moory Hass, The Wiss, sadly large areas of the Juniper woodland was dead and Phytophtera is suspected.

A significant effort was also put into validation, with the majority of the records displayed on the BSBI DDB validation page thoroughly checked and validated. Many of the records flagged for validation were wool shoddy aliens from the Adventive Flora of Tweedside (Hayward & Druce 1919). This was very time consuming as the taxonomy and geography (county boundaries) were often complex and ambiguous. Rod continues progress with his Flora of Selkirkshire.