Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Highlights of Botany in 2010 (by Ken Butler)

1st June 2013

This article was first publishedin the Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2011

In May I was looking for the Celery-leaved Buttercup along the banks of the Wick River. It has been recorded from the tidal stretch between the supermarket car park and the Fairies Hillock. I could not find it at all. This is the only place for it in Caithness and it is the most northerly current record in Britain. You have to go to Dornoch to see the nearest colony because it grows in that stream that runs through the middle of the town. By June the Wick riverside is overgrown with tall herbs and the little buttercup is unlikely to be found. Has it disappeared? Perhaps you know where it is?

Also in May (on the 14th to be precise) I rediscovered the Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) on the braes south of Dunbeath harbour at ND16172901 where there is a really good colony which look beautiful when in flower. This is the wild native plant with white flowers and it comes up the east coast as far as Dunbeath. There is an old record for it on the Keiss to Frewick stretch of coast.

The above two paragraphs are about re-finding rare or scarce plants known to be (or to have been) in the county at particular locations. I am now well advanced with a book about them though in fact it will be an electronic book in .pdf format on the internet. When it is there I will advertise it.

Sandy Payne, a very good botanist from Inverness was working in the county again this year. He was looking at places where the Marsh Saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) might grow and indeed he found four new sites. So now there are seven sites in Caithness for this plant. It is classed as Nationally Rare, Rare in Europe and on the UK Red Data List as Vulnerable, so it is an important plant for Britain. The strongholds left in Britain are in the Pennines, Aberdeenshire and Caithness with a few other small sites. We are now, with seven sites and at least one of these a big site, one of the best places to see the plant. In Caithness it occurs in remote peatland places where the underlying rock has a spring which flushes out calcium-bearing water to produce a grassy green circle amongst the peat. It will have lived, confined to these green circles for a thousand years and more.
Caithness is also a good place for the Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia) where it is found around Dunbeath and Latheron . Ron and Moira Webster found a new colony at Harpsdale which spreads the range somewhat. There are also old records for Reay which could do with re-finding.

The Wall Lettuce (Mycelis muralis) was unknown in Caithness until 2008 though I saw it frequently around Inverness and south of there during the last 20 years. It turned up in Halkirk in 2008. It is now widespread across the county in gardens and roadsides. Have you noticed? You can Google search for any of the plants I have mentioned to get a photo or description.
Plenty to do next year then

 

Related Organisations

 

Related Articles

15/2/2020
Caithness Field Club Winter programme 2019 - 20 February - April
Saturday 22nd February: A walk led by Sharon Pottinger around her patch.   It's about 6 miles, mainly on by-roads, so bring a pack lunch.  
18/1/2020
Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2018
Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2018 Articles now added at the link above Caithness Field Club Summer Programme 2018 - See below Field Club Activities during 2017 (by Tony Bradford) Botanical Report 2017 (by Francis and Margaret Higgins) Ranger Wildlife Notes 2017 (by Paul Castle) Strathmore Flora (contributed by Keith Gerry) Allan's Reminiscences (by Allan Abernethy) Place-names - Nottingham and Snottergill Burn (by George Watson) St Donnan - Patron Saint (by Audrey Munro) Thusater Dig (by Caithness Broch Project) Caithness Field Club Trips (by Anna Rogalski) Heads of Heroes (by Geoff Leet) Tale of a Carriage (by Tony Bradford).  
17/3/2019
Hetty Munro's War Diaries by Elizabeth Rintoul - July 1942 - February 1943
First published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2010 Vol 7 No 6.   The following extracts from the War Diary of the late Henrietta Munro of Thurso come from the North Highland Archive and are published with their permission.  
20/1/2013
Hetty Munros War Diaries by Elizabeth Rintoul
Hetty Munros War Diaries by Elizabeth Rintoul First published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2011 Vol 7 No7.   The following extracts from the War Diary of the late Henrietta Munro of Thurso come from the North Highland Archive and are published with their permission.  
16/3/2019
History of Cabrelli‘s Cafe at the Camps in Wick by Lyndall LeetThumbnail for article : History of Cabrelli‘s Cafe at the Camps in Wick by Lyndall Leet
This article was first published in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2010 Vol 7 No 6.   Early in the 20th century, Italian-owned cafes, ice cream parlours and chip shops spread through- out Scotland, run by enterprising immigrants, who saw Scotland as a land of opportunity, at a time when work was scarce in their own country.  
27/12/2018
Caithness Field Club Winter programme 2018 - 19
Thursday 29th November at 7:30pm: A talk by Roy Mackenzie on the Veteran's Tower, in the Smith Room at the Pulteney Centre, Huddart Street, Wick Tuesday 22nd January 2019 at 7:30pm in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso: A talk by Lydia Fensome on bygone bikes, illustrated by some in her own collection.   Saturday 9th February 2019: A walk, led by Joy and Tony, around Achvarasdal, to see the broch.  
Caithness Field Club - Events March to May 2018
Caithness Field Club Winter programme 2018.   Tuesday 20th March at 7-30pm: A talk Iain MacLean of Caithness Broch Builders Project on latest findings: in Pentland Hotel, Thurso.  
1/10/2016
CAITHNESS FIELD CLUB PROGRAMME 2016-17
Sunday 2 October 2016 Walk for Highland Archaeology Festival Seeking hut circles using Li.  Dar images - Geoff Leet to lead.  
11/5/2015
Hidden Landscapes: LiDAR survey of a multi-period landscape in CaithnessThumbnail for article : Hidden Landscapes: LiDAR survey of a multi-period landscape in Caithness
Hidden Landscapes: LiDAR survey of a multi-period landscape in Caithness (by Charlotte Douglas, Graeme Cavers & Andy Heald).   From the Caithness Field Club Bulletin 2014 Caithness is well known for its spectacular archaeology but aerial laser scanning surveys carried out in the county have revealed glimpses of the hidden archaeological landscapes that are less easily appreciated.  
27/12/2014
Some Thoughts on Castle Varrich, Tongue. (by George Watson)Thumbnail for article : Some Thoughts on Castle Varrich, Tongue. (by George Watson)
This article appeared in the Caithness Field Club Bulletin for 2013.   Perched on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Kyle of Tongue this small tower was described in 1791 as, "a structure so antient, that there is no consistent tradition concerning it"i.