13 June 2010

Ben Ledi and its flowers

Yesterday I went for a walk up Ben Ledi.

This is a view of the hill seen from the south, which I took in 2008. The most popular route goes straight up the ridge, starting from the right side of the picture.

Yesterday most of the alpines were already in flower. The most interesting find was Dwarf Cornel (Cornus suecica). This is usually hard to find because it is not common and is also a shy flowerer, so I was rather excited to find some in flower when I didn't even know that it grew on this hill.

The flowers are the dark purple bobbles in the centre, which are surrounded by 4 white bracts.

Dwarf Cornel is commonly associated with Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), which is another shy flowerer, and this species was growing in close proximity.

Cloudberry is related to Blackberry and Raspberry and has a similar fruit, though these are dull orange in colour.

While most of the alpines present were white, the Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) provided a splash of bright colour. Although closely related to Red Campion, this plant forms a mat, flat on the ground, with the flowers on very short stalks.

Several Saxifrage species were growing on the hill, though the Yellow Saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides) was not yet in flower. There were a few patches of Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides)...

but the commonest saxifrage present was Starry Saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris). This saxifrage has 2 tiny yellow dots on each petal.

Scurvygrass (Cochlearia sp.) belongs to the Cabbage family (Brassicaceae) and is unrelated to the Saxifrages. Each flower has 4 petals.

The name of this plant gives an indication of its chief use in the past - as a cure for scurvy due to its high vitamin C content.

Some other species on the hill

Hare's-tail Cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum)

The insectivorous Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) on the left, and the leaves of Alpine Meadow-rue (Thalictrum alpinum) below.

Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) - another insectivore

Fir Clubmoss (Huperzia selago)

Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) - which later has tiny black berries. These are edible, though full of pips.

And finally, the view from the summit trig point.

No comments:

Post a Comment