Friday, 15 May 2015

Botanical find of the year? Hebridean recording Part 3

Mibora minima on North Uist
I promised you news of an exciting discovery from this year's Hebridean recording extravaganza and the photos have now come in. 

While out with VC Recorder Paul Smith last week, sharp-eyed Oli Pescott spotted a species which is apparently new for Scotland as a native "wild plant" although it is known as an introduction. 

The team has since been back to take photographs and count how many individuals are in the population. Over to Paul:

"As promised, here are some pictures of our find of the week: Early sand-grass Mibora minima, which is new for Scotland. Around 1,000 plants in quite specific habitat on dunes in the machair, many of them very tiny (about half the height of a 5p coin). 

"It is reputedly the smallest grass in the world (I'm borrowing Stephen Bungard's phrase here - he has also posted about the discovery of Mibora minima on his Skye & Raasay blog). The image on the left shows Stephen in surveying mode. 

Apparently Mibora minima isn't new for Scotland, where it has been known as an introduction in East Lothian (VC82). [Take a look at this map on the BSBI database, showing where this plant grows and how little there is of it in UK]. "But this is probably the first native locality, and a big range extension. I'll write it up in more detail for BSBI News in due course."

We'll all look forward to reading more about this find of the week (of the year, surely?) in the next issue of BSBI News. The image on the right - which I suspect will also appear in BSBI News - shows how tiny the plant is, so Oli deserves a huge round of applause for spotting it!

In the meantime, another of the Hebridean recording team has sent me an account of his week on North Uist, contrasting it with his home county in the English Midlands where he is VC Recorder. 

Watch this space!