Lesser celandine – Ranunculus ficaria

March 22nd 2015

Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria: the first flower we have seen this year, on a south-facing bank just east of the Glenleraig fank (NC154313), 21st March 2015. The shiny patches towards the base of the petals absorb ultraviolet light, while the outer parts reflect it. To potential insect visitors, whose eyes are more sensitive to this end of the spectrum, the flowers must look like ‘bull’s-eyes’. Mark Snowdon from Baddidarrach recently came across observations which suggest another function for these patches – reducing the amount of ultraviolet light reflected onto the stamens, whose pollen can be degraded by it. Celandine derives from the Greek chelidon, the swallow, from a tradition that the flowers open as the swallows arrive; a bit ahead of them this far north!

Ian Evans

Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria Glenleraig fank. Photo I. Evans
Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria Glenleraig fank. Photo I. Evans

Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Shelduck

Two adult birds and nine juveniles off Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). Sadly a very rare record now for Assynt, but great to know we had at least one breeding pair this year. (25/07)

House Martin

15+ birds around Culkein Drumbeg jetty (DAH) and large number also around Culag Hotel, Lochinver. (Andrew Mackenzie) Both records late evening. (25/07)

Common Lizard

Single animal, Clashmore (Andrew Mackenzie) (25/07)

Red-throated Diver

Two birds, Bay of Stoer (DAH) (24/07)

Common Dolphin

15+ very active animals just off Sgeir Mhòr, Loch Kirkaig (DAH) (24/07)

Black-throated Diver

Six birds in a group, Loch Kirkaig (DAH) (24/07)

Antler moth (Cerapteryx graminis)

Single moth in Strathan garden (Jean Macleod) (24/07)

Magpie moth (Abraxas grossulariata)

Single moth Clachtoll, (Dorell Pirie) (24/07)

Map