Stoer Green: a wealth of flowers revealed

February 3rd 2020

Stoer Green: a wealth of flowers revealed

Between the road and the sea at Stoer Bay is an area of sandy grassland known as Stoer Green (NC038283).   It is bounded to the south by a large sheep fank, on the hill to the north by an old dyke, and surrounds the Old School House.  The area was known to house some uncommon plants, but has for many years been intensively grazed by sheep.

Following stock-fencing of the Green by the Stoer Grazings Committee early in 2019, Bill and Val Badger began to notice a proliferation of flowers in the grassland sward.  They drew my attention to this, and on 20th September Bill and I spent a couple of hours making the appended list from the part of the Green north of the burn (photo 1).

The list includes plants growing along the burn course, but not those on the area of sea-cliff in the westernmost part of the site, which we did not explore.  The total tally was 68 species, unexpectedly large, given the relatively small area and the time of year.  They include a number of plants that are locally scarce or rare in Assynt (indicated by * in the list below).

Examples are knotted pearlwort and autumn gentian.  Most pearlworts are inconspicuous tufted plants with greenish flowers, but knotted pearlwort Sagina nodosa has upright stems, bearing the tight whorls of leaves from which it gets its name, and single white, star-like, flowers about the size of a little fingernail.  It was seen at the edge of Loch an Aigeil some years ago, but never before on the Green, where it was scattered through the grassland sward (photos 2 and 3).  Autumn gentian Gentianella amarella is an annual, which appeared in quantity this year in thinly-vegetated areas across the higher parts of the site (photo 4).  The form found here, as elsewhere in the north, is subspecies septentrionalis, with compact stems bearing creamy-white flowers, suffused with purplish-red on the outside.

We plan to have another look at the area next summer, with likely additions.   One plant we shall be hoping to find is the dune form of meadow orchid Dactylorhiza incarnata coccinea, with brick-red flowers, which was last seen on the Green on 11th June 1997.

Ian M. Evan

 

Stoer Green (NC038283):  list of  flowering plants made by Bill Badger and Ian Evans, 20th September 2019

Grasses

Common Bent Agrostis capillaris

Creeping Bent Agrostis stolonifera

Early Hair-grass Aira praecox

False Oat-grass Arrhenatherum elatius

*Marram Ammophila arenaria

Crested Dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus

Cock’s-foot Dactylis glomerata

Fine-leaved Sheep’s-fescue Festuca filiformis

Red Fescue Festuca rubra

Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus

Perennial Rye-grass Lolium perenne

Annual Meadow-grass Poa annua

Spreading Meadow-grass Poa pratensis ssp. irrigata

 

Sedges and rushes

Glaucous sedge Carex flacca

Carnation sedge Carex panicea

Jointed Rush Juncus articulatus

Soft Rush Juncus effusus

Heath Woodrush Luzula multiflora

 

Other flowering plants

Yarrow Achillea millefolium

*Thyme-leaved Sandwort Arenaria serpyllifolia

Thrift Armeria maritima

Daisy Bellis perennis

Hairy Bitter-cress Cardamina hirsuta

Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra

*Sea Mouse-ear Cerastium diffusum

Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum

Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense

Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare

Smooth Hawk’s-beard Crepis capillaris

Wild Carrot Daucus carota

Marsh Willowherb Epilobium palustre

Bell Heather Erica cinerea

*Common Stork’s-bill Erodium cicutarium

Monkeyflower Erythranthe guttata

Cleavers Galium aparine

Lady’s Bedstraw Galium verum

*Autumn Gentian Gentianella amarella septentrionale

*Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill Geranium molle

Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus

Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus

Mint Mentha sp.

Water Forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides

Buck’s-horn Plantain Plantago coronopus

Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata

Greater Plantain Plantago major

Selfheal Prunella vulgaris

Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris

Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens

*Water-cress Rorippa cf. microphylla

Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa

Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius

Procumbent Pearlwort Sagina procumbens

*Knotted Pearlwort Sagina nodosa

*Heath Pearlwort Sagina subulata

Autumn Hawkbit Scorzoneroides autumnalis

*Biting Stonecrop Sedum acre

English Stonecrop Sedum anglicum

Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea

Bog Stitchwort Stellaria uliginosa

Devil’s-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

Wild Thyme Thymus polytrichus

Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

White Clover Trifolium repens

Marsh Arrowgrass Triglochin palustre

Common Nettle Urtica dioica

Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys

 

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Recent Sightings

Greenshank

single bird heard calling, Loch Nedd (Ian M. Evans) (07/04)

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three birds on croft land near Loch Ruighean an Aitinn, Drumbeg (DAH) (07/04)

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eight birds (3 male, 5 female) Loch Ruighean an Aitinn, Drumbeg (DAH) (06/04)

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c70 birds heading north over Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (05/04)

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four birds at Clachtoll (AS) (04/04)

Red-breasted Merganser

two pairs, Badnaban Bay (Dave Bird) (04/04)

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three birds, Oldany estuary (DAH) (04/04)

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three Great Northern and a single Red-throated Diver Loch Dhrombaig (DAH) (04/04)

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