Monday, 4 August 2014

Hebridean heroes and villains

Carex extensa
The Hebridean recording team is going from strength to strength, with recorders coming up from Nottinghamshire and Oxfordshire to join Paul Smith's merry band. 

On the first day out, southern recorders tend to squeal and coo over the Butterworts, Sundews and all the unfamiliar sedges, and marvel at not finding any Cocksfoot or False Oat-grass until after lunch. 

Today, we didn't see any Cleavers Galium aparine at all, although we botanised along a roadside and along the shore, and found almost 200 species over the course of the day. 

Gunnera tinctoria in a ditch on Lewis
On the saltmarsh, we found Carex extensa (Long-bracted Sedge) and in the last few days we have also seen Carex lasiocarpa (Slender Sedge), C. limosa (Bog Sedge) and C. pauciflora (Few-flowered Sedge, which we rechristened Windfarm Sedge because it looks just like a wind turbine).

A few days ago, Puccinnellia distans ssp. borealis was found... on a roadside. Plants up here really haven't read the book!

We have also found a few "baddies": Rhododendron ponticum is perhaps the most famous, but we also spotted this clump of Gunnera tinctoria. Only one bit for now, but odds are that if this invasive plant is not removed, it will spread and outcompete some of our native plants.