An interesting find in Culag Woods

September 9th 2020

An interesting find in Culag Woods

On 11th July 2020, Jane Young and Gwen Richards were walking their dogs on the metalled track that runs up from the Lochinver Harbour. Jane noticed an unfamiliar yellow-flowered plant at the hinge end of the metal gate across the track (NC090219) and drew it to Gwen’s attention.  It had reddish runners bearing five-lobed leaves and five-petalled flowers, and Gwen identified it as the aptly-named creeping cinquefoil Potentilla reptans.

This is a perennial herb of open habitats, found throughout England, Wales and much of Ireland. It is however absent from most of Scotland north of the Central Belt, except as an introduction.  There is only one previous record from Assynt, at Inchnadamph (NC2522).  It was recorded there by W.M.M. Baron on 25th June 1955, in survey work for the first Atlas of the British Flora (1962).  It does not seem to have been seen there or anywhere else in the parish since, so a very interesting find.

From the well-established look of the plant, which extends over about 1 sq. m., it appears to have been present at this site for several years.  It may have been introduced either with the original material used to surface the track, or when the gate was put up about ten years ago.

Ian M. Evans

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