Kirkcudbrightshire Botany Group at Kippford, 4th May 2024

A group of 11 of us met at the car park by the Kippford Community Hall on a rather grey morning, but we were lucky that the dry weather held out until after lunch.

Our exploration of two monads fell naturally into three sections: the car park itself, the strip of merse below and, lastly, the Kippford Community Nature Reserve.

Our very first observation, however, was the clump of Mistletoe Viscum album in a copper Sycamore Acer sp. in the car park. Mistletoe is a very rare species in VC73 and we had been alerted to this specimen by an observant member of the public who had reported it to SWSEIC. The location is unusual, at only head height and in an ornamental tree at the car park entrance, so human intervention cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, it is a substantial, healthy plant and a very interesting record.

We then continued, in good botanical tradition, by having a close look at the tiny annual plants in the car park. There was the usual selection of spring annuals which had us on hands and knees, including Changing Forget-me-not Myosotis discolor, Blinks Montia fontana, Common Whitlowgrass Erophila verna and Early Hair-grass Aira praecox. Under a bench Jim spotted some plants of the delightful Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites which turned out to be a new record for the Vice County!

We next looked at the small area of merse below the car park which for its size offered a good range of species. We debated whether some rounded, fleshy leaves with mucronate tips were Sea Lavender Limonium sp. or Sea Aster Tripolium pannonicum and concluded that they were Limonium. (Nic found us a Sea Aster leaf to compare which had additional longitudinal veins, and Pam very helpfully remembered seeing lots of Sea Lavender in flower there later in the summer.) Thrift Armeria maritima, Common Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis and Sea Arrowgrass Triglochin maritima were in flower and we found the leaves of Sea Plantain Plantago maritima and Buck’s-horn Plantain P. coronopus. Grasses included Red Fescue Festuca rubra agg and Common Saltmarsh-grass Puccinellia maritima. We also found Parsley Water-dropwort Oenanthe lachenalii, Sea-milkwort Lysimachia maritima and Sea-purslane Atriplex portulacoides.

We walked back to the car park for lunch along the bottom of a rocky outcrop and added a number of species apparently self-sown from wild flower garden planting above, including Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare.

Until now it had stayed more or less dry, but drizzle was setting in as we walked up the road to the Community Nature Reserve. This comprises 48 acres of grassland and woodland with some wet marshy areas and recently dug wildlife pools. A network of paths allows easy access. We sadly didn’t have enough time left to do this area full justice and it certainly deserves another visit. The marshy areas in the upper field were of particular interest and Bob, who explored the area in most detail, found a very good stand of Lesser Pond-sedge Carex acutiformis by a marshy pool also containing Bog Pondweed Potamogeton polygonifolius and Round-leaved Crowfoot Ranunculus omiophyllus.

Overall, it was a very interesting day with a good mix of habitats and some great finds. Total species recorded were 96 in NX8355 and 80 in NX8455.

My thanks to all who attended for their company and observations.

Sarah White

BSBI logo

Website by Red Paint

SUP is registered in Scotland as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered address: The Southern Uplands Partnership, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE. Company No. SC200827 / Charity No. SCO29475

Back to top