Monday 6 January 2014

Wild flowers in 2013

After the usual start to the year with the carpets of snowdrops decorating Bridgend Woods, the cold spring delayed a great many flowering plants so that, when the BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) held their annual Scottish recording week on the island for the first time, and had chosen the second week of June as a good time of year to come, it turned out to be probably about two weeks earlier than would have been optimal. However, whereas I usually require a flower to be fully out to help me identify it, the experts included in the visiting dozen botanists seemed just as happy with buds or even just leaves! Assisted by generally very good weather, planned visits to under-recorded parts of the island went very well and, later in the year, I was sent a spreadsheet containing a magnificent 7,949 records which represented an increase in total wild flower records for the island of just over 20%!
The highlights of the year were undoubtedly the orchids, most of which flowered in much greater abundance than usual, especially the Greater and Lesser Butterfly and the Marsh Helleborine. The very rare Narrow-leaved Helleborine also had one of its better years, with 15 spikes, the most since the small scattered colony was first found in 1998.
Pyramidal Orchid

Greater Butterfly Orchid

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Marsh Helleborine
Narrow-leaved Helleborine