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13 Scalpsie (21.5.19)

Posted 21/5/2019



Scalpsie beach is one of the more popular walks on Bute, usually to see the seals.  But it’s also a great place for wild flowers.  Park by the signpost (GR NS060587). Near the beginning of the fenced path to the beach, look out for the tiny pink flowers of the Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill (I also found one example of the less common Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill).

At the beach, turn right and follow the grassy path that lies between the wall and the shore.  Cattle have grazed here over the winter, eating off the taller, coarser vegetation and allowing a rich diversity of species to continue.  I have listed just the species that are currently in flower, although many more will come out as the summer progresses.

Hawthorn blossom and Red CampionHawthorn blossom and Red Campion The Bluebells are almost over, whereas the Foxgloves, the Yellow Flag Irises and the Cat’s-ears are just beginning.  The Hawthorn blossom is now fully out.  Growing in patches in the grassier areas, Germander Speedwell is one of the more common species of Speedwell; the two distinct lines of hairs along the stem are a useful identifying feature.

Germander SpeedwellGermander Speedwell 

Make your return route closer to the sea, so as to spot some additional species.  Sea Sandwort has a most attractive leaf formation and grows near the high watermark on much of the island where the beach is a shingly.  Its tiny creamy-green petals are now showing.

Sea SandwortSea Sandwort

Where there are patches of coastal turf, look not only for the pink Thrift and the white Scurvygrass flowers but also for patches of the less well-known Sea Arrowgrass.  Its flowerhead is in the form of a spike with delicate little green flowers.

Sea Arrowgrass and ThriftSea Arrowgrass and Thrift


A flower that is much wider-ranging in its habitats is Silverweed, being found on roadsides and other types of bare grassland as well as on the shore.  Its bright yellow flower looks a little like a Buttercup but the plant is readily distinguished by its silvery leaves, particularly on the underside.



Flower list:

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Bush Vetch Vicia sepium
Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata
Common Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum
Common Sedge Carex nigra
Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Cut-leaved Crane's-bill Geranium dissectum
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Dove's-foot Crane's-bill Geranium molle
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys
Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea
Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Lesser Yellow-trefoil Trifolium dubium
Pignut Conopodium majus
Red Campion Silene dioica
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Sand Sedge Carex arenaria
Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis
Sea Arrow-grass Triglochin maritima
Sea Milkwort Glaux maritima
Sea Radish Raphanus raphanistrum 
Sea Sandwort Honkenya peploides
Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Soft Brome Bromus hordeaceus
Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum
Thrift Armeria maritima
Yellow Flag Iris pseudacorus