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A blooming good summer

August 1, 2014

All over Scotland our native plants are having a riotous time this summer. The long spring and summer mean that blooms have been especially fantastic this year creating a perfect welcome for High Heels and Horse Hair’s project, TRANSPLANTED.

It doesn’t matter where you go in Scotland, there are always some wild plants to marvel at.

On the coast, Scotland’s grasslands are blooming. Our coastal grasslands go through dramatic seasonal colour changes: having succeeded the spring white phase, they are now turning yellow with Lady’s bedstraw and bird’s foot trefoil. Next they’ll turn pink with clover and self heal. If you could stay in same spot from 1 April to 1 October, you’d experience the entire machair rainbow.

High up in the mountains, there are some real jewels nestled amongst the rocks at your feet: pink moss campion and mountain azalea grow right on the very tops of our mountains on rocky ridges and exposed summits. Further down, you’ll come across the acid yellow green of our very own native Alpine lady’s mantle, like the garden variety only much more delicate. You might see cloudberry or cowberry – both prized berries for jams, puddings and cordials in Scandinavia but hardly noticed by us in Scotland.

And then in east, delve into a little bit more of Scandinavia in our Caledonian pinewoods. Wander in Glen More for example, amongst the pines, blaeberries ripening on the forest floor and the promise of chanterelles later in the year.

On the west coast, we have the Hobbit habitat of our Celtic rainforest. There is lots of it in Argyll, dripping with green lichens, mosses and ferns - this is a real adventure into the enchanting world of all things green. The lichen, tree lungwort, hangs from the trees, alongside common polypody and hard fern strung along the bigger branches. Amongst the boulders, look out for the magical filmy ferns – transparent and extremely delicate. Only one cell thick, their leaves need high humidity to survive.

Even in urban areas, the pink of foxgloves and rosebay willow herb wave enthusiastically with the breeze.  Broom brightens up our cities too, firing its seeds in the heat. How do you think Broomielaw in Glasgow got its name?

Wherever you are in Scotland this summer, be transported by our wild flowers. They make the heart sing.

 

Dr Deborah Long

Head, Plantlife Scotland

www.plantlife.org.uk/scotland

Machair Flora (c) Laurie Campbell

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