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BOTANY GROUP - Tuesday 13 June, 2017
by Rosey - 15:34 on 14 June 2017
13 th JUNE 2017
EASTSIDE, SOUTH RONALDSAY
Seven of us -Fiona, Peter, Jean, Bev, John, Beryl & Rosey met up in glorious sunshine at St
Peters carpark - particularly grateful to have missed a recent heavy down pour! We set off
on a pleasurable investigation of the flora along a path to the sea. The first vegetation was
mainly meadow heathland to the south of the church and there was much to see along the
way including field forget me not, red and white clover, dandelion, rib wort plantain, birds
foot trefoil, yellow rattle, field horse tail, ladies bedstraw, hogweed, flowering dockan, cow
parsley and red and white campion. There was a splendid northern marsh orchid growing in
isolation. Eyebright and buttercups (renunculis) were growing in profusion. One gem of
information we learned was that the sepals of the bulbous buttercup point down towards
the stem rather than up to the petals!
Nearing the beach there was lovely stretch of blue tinged lime grass -not maram grass as at
first thought by some of us. We discovered greater burdock, primrose, sea sand wort, fern
like yarrow and spear thistle. On the beach we identified orache and frosted orache, sea
mayweed, ragwort, sand sedge, sea rocket and many examples of the oyster plant in flower.
We discovered that this amazingly resilient plant had re seeded itself from much further
round the bay and is now lying in its glory much nearer to the entrance to the beach. Sadly
the sand dunes which separated the path from the beach are almost non existent here -
having been devastated by severe easterlies some three years ago.
Our third area of interest was a wetland area to the north of the kirkyard where quite a
large Winter lochlan has not dried up this year- in fact it has increased after the recent
heavy rains! There were many other plant species to be found here, not to mention some of
those already seen elsewhere -like yellow rattle and buttercup which were prevalent giving
a yellow haze to the fields & landscape. Fresh identities included shepherds purse, chick
weed, wild cabbage, pineapple weed, changing forget me not, ( named as this starts off with
white flower and after pollination they turn blue!). There was also sticky weed, stinging
nettle, marsh horsetail and many yellow iris.
At this point the clouds gave way to a few drops of rain beckoning us up the road to
Sorquoy for tea! Perhaps we could had persevered a little longer and found some rare
marsh flowers? However an excellent and informative walk and time was had by all. Our
thanks to John Crossley for joining us with his expertise!
Northern Marsh Orhid
The Day's Recorder
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