Signs of spring: Colt’s-foot at Little Assynt

March 16th 2015

Signs of spring: Colt’s-foot at Little Assynt

On 15th March 2015, I was pleased to come across a small patch of colt’s-foot Tussilago farfara, just coming into flower at Little Assynt. It was at the foot of a bank at the edge of the car-park for the All Abilities Path (NC172261). The yellow, daisy-like flowers, about an inch in diameter, are amongst the earliest to appear in the spring. They are carried on long stalks bearing scaly bracts. The large leaves, with cottony backs, appear later. Disturbed ground like this is the usual habitat of colt’s-foot further south.

It has been found in a few such places locally, but never before in this vicinity. In Assynt, it is typically a plant of shingly river banks and the edges of burns, especially in limestone areas. This must have been its preferred habitat before man started churning up the landscape. Its generic name, Tussilago, derives from tussis, Latin for a cough, and various parts have long been used as cough medicine.

Ian Evans

Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Manx Shearwater

27 birds off Bay of Clachtoll (DAH) (16/06)

Harbour Porpoise

Mother and calf off Stoer Head Lighthouse (DAH) (15/06)

Small Magpie moth (Anania hortulata)

Single moth in garden, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). This is only the second ever record of this micro-moth in the West Sutherland recording area, VC108. The first record was on 1st June this year in the garden of the County Moth Recorder in Melvich on the north coast. However, this does make it the first ever record for Assynt. Photo Gallery - Moths. (14/06)

Golden Plover

Eight birds over Clachtoll (DAH) (13/06)

Peregrine

Single bird flying over garden, Ardvar (Beccy Garvey) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly, Nedd (Stefan Taylor) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly recently emerged at Glen Leraig (AS) (11/06)

Barn Owl

Single bird hunting over croft land, near Stoer primary school (Jane Livingstone) (11/06)

Map