Another plant new to Assynt in 2018

November 24th 2018

Several plant species have been added to the flora of Assynt during 2018, and my garden at Nedd (NC1331) has contributed one of them.  The warm dry summer and September rains resulted in a prodigious growth of ‘native species’ (i.e. weeds) in my vegetable beds, which I did not get around to clearing until quite late on.

Hiding at the back of a very weedy, albeit productive, crop of onions was a plant with large rounded leaves which had dark purplish-red centres. I recognised it at once, but had not seen it for many years.  It was common mallow Malva sylvestris, a sprawling perennial with stems that may extend for a metre or more and bright pinkish-purple flowers up to 40mm across.

It is an archaeophyte, originally introduced to these islands, but naturalized prior to A.D. 1500.  The New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora (2002) describes it as ‘a drought-tolerant perennial herb of well-drained, often nutrient-enriched, soils in unshaded situations…often near settlements’. The distribution map in the Atlas shows it as occurring throughout England and Wales, but becoming much sparser in Scotland and absent from the north and west, except for one pre-1970 record from near Ullapool.  There are, so far as I know, no previous records from either Assynt or West Sutherland as a whole.

I have not the faintest idea how it arrived in Nedd, since I have not imported any soil or other likely seed source in years.  My one plant did not flower this year, so I photographed it on 15thSeptember and have spared it, in the hope that it may do so next year.

Ian Evans

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Recent Sightings

Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris)

129 plants on cliffs north-west of Stoer Green, just off path (Bill and Val Badger). A very impressive stand of this plant (12/07)

Common Gull

three juvenile birds, Loch Neil Bhain (DAH) Photo - Gallery Birds (12/07)

Red-throated Diver

three adult birds, Balchladich Bay (DAH) (12/07)

Black-headed Gull

single adult bird, Balchladich Bay (DAH) (12/07)

Redshank

two birds Loch Neil Bhain (Pringle family) (12/07)

Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans)

0.5 sq.m. of this plant on stoned track, Culag Woods (Gwen Richards and Jane Young). This is the first Assynt record since 25/06/1955 at Inchnadamph (11/07)

European Eel

single adult eel seen in Oldany River (DAH). Photo Gallery - Freshwater (10/07)

Grey Heron

three birds (1 adult, two juveniles) Lochan na Leobaig, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (10/07)

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