2020 County Report for Mid Perthshire

Jim McIntosh

2,627 records were collected in 2020, of 550 taxa in Mid Perthshire. The major contributors were Dan Watson & Alistair Godfrey, although another 20 recorders made significant contributions. Most records are clustered near recorders’ homes, though some are from seven widely scattered mountains that were visited when restrictions allowed.

The lockdown provided an opportunity to explore local flora, in this case from the Shochie Burn (really a river) north of Luncarty down the banks of the River Tay and River Almond to where it passes under the A9 bridge. Most recording took place from May to August, coinciding with low levels on the Tay, exposing areas usually inaccessible. Divided into eight habitat sections, each habitat falls within one of seven definable monads. 1,159 records were made; 309 taxa, excluding critical taxa. Thirteen new taxa were recorded in the habitats of the 7 monads, mostly small populations. These included: Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Crane's-bill), Eupatoria cannabinum (Hemp-agrimony), Lythrum salicaria (Purple-loosetrife) and Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping-Jenny). This small, glandular plant is considered native in VC88 (by AG). Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora (Monbretia) is definitely unwanted. Allium carinatum (Keeled Garlic) is spreading, attractive in flower, but not invasive like A. paradoxum that clothes the Shochie banks. Hedera algeriensis (Algerian Ivy) established on Alnus glutinosa (Alder) at the Tay’s edge is a new county record.

Petasites fragrans (Winter Heliotrope) was found also new to the VC, at Silver Walk, Bridge of Earn by Liz Lavery. Two arable weed species Sinapis alba (White Mustard), Linum usitatissimum (Flax) were recorded for the first time since 1971 and 1958 respectively, by Dan Watson in a field near Acharn, Loch Tay.  Dan also made the first record of Spiraea alba × douglasii = S. × billardii (Billiard's Bridewort) since 1959 on an island at the west end of Loch Tay. Cardamine impatiens (Narrow-leaved Bitter-cress) was recorded for the first time since 1991 in two widely separated locations – at Killin by Dan and at Luncarty by Alistair.

48 records were made of Nationally Rare or Scarce species. Mostly notably, Dan & John Holland undertook a systematic survey and count of Corallorhiza trifida (Coralroot Orchid) at the west end of Loch Tay and Dan continued his systematic survey, first begun in 2018, of Mid-Perthshire’s only Sabulina verna (Spring Sandwort) site, at Meall Dhuin Croisg, near Killin, finding new populations a little further west. NTS (Dan again!) has also been systematically surveying Sabulina rubella (Mountain Sandwort) on Ben Lawers, and has found that it is in decline apparently, even at its UK stronghold site.