Plants in Vice-County 104: a review of July-December 2012
This year’s Threatened Plants Project target species in v.c. 104 was Alchemilla wichurae (Rock Lady’s-mantle) which was duly recorded from the Storr.
Christopher Fraser Jenkins had another look at one of his 1988 collections from Struan in the herbarium at RBGE and seems quite sure that it is Cystopteris diaphana (Greenish or Diaphanous Bladder-fern) which is new to Scotland.
Two specimens collected during the 2011 BSBI Field Meeting on Skye have been confirmed as the first vice-county records for Equisetum x mildeanum (E. pratense x E. sylvaticum).
Equisetum x dycei (E. fluviatile x E. palustre) from Lochan Uisge was confirmed by Chris Page. It seems likely to be more widespread than records suggest.
A single plant of Heracleum mantegazzianum (Giant Hogweed) appeared in Portree, the first record in the vice-county. It was destroyed pretty comprehensively but the area will be under surveillance for some time.
Gwyn Jones reported Glebionis segetum (Corn Marigold) in an oat crop at Stenscholl and described a population of Carum verticillatum (Whorled Caraway), originally spotted about a decade ago at Carbostmore. I found it to be doing well, as is the well-known population at Sligachan.
The fine flora of the Trotternish Ridge got a fair amount of attention, amongst which the Sibbaldia procumbens (Sibbaldia) seemed more common than records might have suggested.
All specimens I have taken of Utricularia intermedia agg. in the vice-county in recent years have been determined as U. stygia (Nordic Bladderwort), but there are quite a lot of fairly recent records for U. ochroleuca (Pale Bladderwort )(as well as U. stygia) in the rest of NW Scotland, so this remains a possibility.
Scrophularia auriculata (Water Figwort) was found near Kyleakin. This plant has a stronghold in the Dunvegan area but otherwise the only other recent records are from a garden on Raasay and emerging from imported roadside soil near Loch Cill Chriosd.
Steve Terry reported Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard) from Lower Breakish. There is some around the Corry Lodge area of Broadford and a few old records from the Dunvegan and Uig areas, but that is it for the vice-county - except for some growing in a garden on Raasay.
A number of interesting records were made from a disused quarry near Dunvegan which has clearly been used to dispose of material from a not-too-distant estate. These include first vice-county records for the purple form of Euphorbia dulcis (Sweet Spurge) “Chameleon”, Rubus cockburnianus (White-stemmed Bramble), and (almost) Saxifraga x polita (S. hirsuta x spathularis, False Londonpride) for which there is an anonymous 1950 record from the same 10km square. Carex pendula (Pendulous Sedge) is present, only known previously on Skye from Dunvegan Castle grounds. Other locally uncommon escapes present include Crocosmia paniculata (Aunt-Eliza), Erinus alpinus (Fairy Foxglove), Gunnera tinctoria (Giant-rhubarb) and Tellima grandiflora (Fringecups).
The Clan Donald Centre at Armadale still has a problem in its ponds with Crassula helmsii (New Zealand Pygmyweed), first recorded it there in 1996.
Escallonia rubra var. macrantha (Escallonia) was found in a burn gorge well away from habitation or a road, which is the first record for Skye, though it will probably have escaped elsewhere.
The soil from ground cleared for a house extension in Clachan produced Persicaria lapathifolia (Pale Persicaria), a first for Raasay, and a single plant of Atriplex patula (Common Orache) which made only the second reliable record for Raasay, the previous one being unlocalised in the south of Raasay in 1957. This area is the only Raasay site for Potentilla reptans (Creeping Cinquefoil) and Scrophularia auriculata (Water Figwort) (both first recorded in 1993) and both are still present.
A couple of plants of Epilobium hirsutum (Great Willowherb) appeared near the ferry terminal, another first for Raasay, but disappeared before they set seed.
A mature specimen of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress) has been confirmed from Raasay House grounds, another Raasay first.
Several plants of Linaria vulgaris (Common Toadflax) appeared in a West Suisnish garden but have not been formally recorded at this stage.
The Small Isles
A Hieracium collected on Canna by Michael Usher has been determined as H. uistense (Island Hawkweed), a first for Canna There is also Salvia pratensis (Meadow Clary) growing on Sanday which must be a garden escape or the result of wild flower seed being scattered or some similar mode of introduction.
Armed with a list of plants not seen since before the year 2000 Michael knocked off nearly twenty of them including Cakile maritima (Sea Rocket) which was last recorded on Canna in 1953.
It looks as though the Apium inundatum (Lesser Marshwort) has really gone from An t-Oban (Sanday) as it fills in with reeds, which is a shame as that was the only confirmed site in the vice-county. I couldn’t find any in 2009 and Michael has not found any this year.
Sarah Longrigg has been surveying Utricularia on Eigg over the past three years. She has found U. minor (Lesser Bladderwort) and U. stygia (Nordic Bladderwort) in numerous locations and there is the possibility of a further species.
Stephen J. Bungard, 20th December 2012