Holly Fern Polystichum lonchitis, Drumbeg
Holly Fern Polystichum lonchitis was found in an old wall on the roadside at Drumbeg, on 21st August 2014. This is a new locality (the westernmost in Assynt) and habitat for this species. It is more familiar on the limestone in the east of the parish, although there are occasional outliers in crevices in the Torridonian sandstone, as at two places on Quinag. It was accompanied by Wall Rue Asplenium ruta-muraria, another typically limestone species, which is occasionally found on other rock types. Despite its name, Wall Rue is seldom recorded from walls. We must have walked past this wall over a hundred times, but never before noticed it! The wall is, significantly, mortared, and from the well-established look of the two species they may well have colonised it naturally and have been present for many decades. There were at least five other more familiar species of ferns in adjacent sections of the wall, including Maidenhair Spleenwort Aspenium trichomanes, which is locally abundant on old walls elsewhere in Drumbeg.
Ian and Pat Evans