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Scarce machair flowers

Discuss the wonderful plant life of the Outer Hebrides here
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Matt T
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Joined: 09 Nov 2012, 22:39

Scarce machair flowers

Post by Matt T » 17 Dec 2012, 13:17

Hi folks,
We have just received some interim results from Applied Ecology, who are carrying out the invert/botanical survey work for the Machair LIFE+ project with three plant species they found on the Machair plots they consider to be worthy of comment from their rarity in vice-county 110 Outer Hebrides. We've been advised that these result are okay to be released publicly so I copy&paste the details here...

These are:
Aphanes arvensis Parsley Piert,
Lithospermum arvense Field Gromwell, and
Ononis repens Common Restharrow.

Aphanes(Local Status Scarce), found for the first time in 2012, when it was recorded within quadrats on both visits to Plot 60 at Balranald. This is in the 10km square NF76, where, according to the New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora, there are no records post-1970. In fact, according to our copy of the Outer Hebs Rare Plant Register, the last record in this 10km square was in 1941 at Baleshare, in the south of the square. There appear to be no records in the Outer Hebrides in any squares since then except for NG08 – a 1979 record.

Lithospermum (National status Endangered; Local Status Scarce)was recorded in a quadrat in Plot 02 (Balranald) in August 2011. Also seen in an area of Machair near to Plot 05 (Balranald) in 2010, and also in 2010, in a non-plot piece of arable machair next to Plot 47 on Berneray. The Atlas says it was recorded in square NF67 between 1979 and 1986. An unclear record from the Plant register (may be 1976) is very close to Plot 05 (Balranald). Apart from a Plant Register 1977 record from Eriskay, all other Outer Hebs records are from long ago; pre the first half of the 20th century.

Ononis(Local Status Scarce) was found in a quadrat in Plot 60 (Balranald) in August 2011 and it was seen there, but not in a quadrat, in August 2012. Also seen on one or two of the uncultivated rocky knolls near this plot, in previous years. The Atlas records it as present in this 10km square pre-1970, and this ties in with a 1963 record in the Plant Register, which it say needs confirmation. There appear to be only four sites in the Outer Hebrides for this species, and their latest dates are 1998.

Matt Topsfield
Curracag Chair

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