Montane speedwell re-discovered in Assynt

November 20th 2019

Montane speedwell re-discovered in Assynt

Alan Swann, a visitor to Assynt, was climbing Conival on 28th June 2019 when he came across this lovely speedwell, which he photographed. The following day Alan emailed the details to the Field Club as he was uncertain of the plant’s identity.  He described it as occurring in a ‘patch on the banks of the stream on the path from Gleann Dubh’ (NC2920). From the photo, it appears to be growing in a bryophyte flush.

From the location, at an altitude of about 550m, habitat, compact inflorescence and large deep-blue flowers, I have identified it as the montane sub-species of thyme-leaved speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia ssp. humifusa. This speedwell has not been recorded in Assynt this century and never before at this precise location.

The map in the Flora of Assynt (2002) shows six records, four of which are along the montane eastern boundary of the parish, one on the higher slopes of Beinn an Fhuarain, south of the Bone Caves and one up behind Knockan, so this is a significant addition to knowledge of its distribution.

A nice find!

Ian Evans

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