Mainly about the wild flowers of Fife

Yellow Star of Bethlehem

For several years I’ve wanted to find the Yellow Star of Bethlehem, Gagea lutea. There have been a few unsuccessful attempts (e.g. the abundant 19th century colony at Logie is no longer there) but Margaret told me about a fairly recent record from the Perth Nats at Inveralmond. As flowering seems to be early this year, I went off to have a look.

I walked up the Tay from North Inch, not a walk I’ve done before. It was good to see lots of people out enjoying the weather, and most of the dogs were well behaved. I passed the flooded golf course.

Circular ripples looked like rain drops but must have been escaping air coming up from below?

Along at Scone Palace, there were groups of birds at the water’s edge – cormorant, oyster catcher, gulls and wigeon. I decided these were Lesser Black-backed gulls, as there was a glimpse of yellow leg and they just didn’t look big and black enough to be the Greater.

There were pussy willows just beginning to emerge.

I found my way to the Inveralmond bridge, and pondered over these leaves – Gagea lutea or baby bluebells?

After checking out the M&S foodhall, I started back. I went down to the river to admire a grey wagtail. And it was just a few yards further along when I saw the first glimpse of yellow…

I found it!

There were only 3 or 4 in bloom, so I might go back with the Plant Ladies later. But what a lovely delicate little flower it is, with very subtle green marking on the back of the petals.

I also checked around Niel Gow’s oak at Dunkeld – again there were lots of leaves which might or might not be Gagea, but no flowers to be seen. However, Town Hall Clock, Adoxa moschatelina, was just beginning to come out.

Although I was trying not to think about moss, there were some spectacular bryophytes, including this stand of Plagiochila.

And this lacy purple liverwort on a beech trunk.

And this carpet of Ceratodon purpurea.

But there was no doubt about today’s star.

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