Mainly about the wild flowers of Fife


What a difference a day makes

The day before my trip to Inveralmond (blogs in wrong order), I did a short moss-collecting walk up at Hill of Tarvit.
The wind was cold and a little sleety shower blew over. However, the snowdrops were still looking good.

And the line of trees along the hill was showing that hazy spring-time colour at the tips.

The moss was looking good (I think March must be peak time for moss beauty, which is something to say for this miserable month). Green grape capsules of Bryum capillare.

And a beautiful mixed moss garden on this stone.

There’s always something to be seen even on unpromising I-hate-March sort of days.


I’ve never seen a field like this – a haze of pink, at Hill of Tarvit.

It was Redshank, Persicaria maculosa.

Intentional? There seemed to be a crop in there too.

Lesser Stitchwort was also flowering away, and Bush Vetch, Vicia sepium, in some very fresh looking vegetation.

Tarvit path

It was this sort of a day.
I knew I should do the Plantlife survey before the nettles got too high to get down the path…I was a couple of weeks later than last year; thankfully the nettles and thistles were still mainly knee high (but my poor knees!). And there were lots of good plants to compensate for the jaggy ones.

My favourite cow parsley – although anthriscus sylvestris sounds much more elegant.
cow parsley
Wood Avens, twinkling away on the bank. The seeds are curly haired achenes.
wood avens
The “pink” purslane was everywhere.
The bluebells were almost past, but there were still enough to get a haze of blue when I looked into the wood. These small tortoiseshells were loving them.

I was trying to work out whether they were the native non-scripta ones or the Spanish ones, or a hybrid. Blue bells drooping down one side of the stalk and pale anthers – think it’s non-scripta. Whatever, they were lovely and I’m sorry the bluebell season is just about over for another year.


I’m not so fond of nettles, especially knee-high nettles, but the flowers are so strange, pink and almost woolly.


Scotstarvit in spring

12 April 2012. April showers all this week, but during a sunny break in the middle of the day I headed off to do the first Plantlife survey this year for the Scotstarvit square. What a view, to start with.
Lomond Hills

The nettles were small and unthreatening. It’s hard to believe that in a month or two I’ll need gloves and/or a machete to get through. The white (pink) purslane was beginning to flower, at least two large colonies. The farmer came to see what I was doing, with my nose to the ground. I added bluebells, gorse, and ivy to the list – can’t believe I missed the gorse and ivy before. I thought there might be primroses, but no. Some coltsfoot going over.

The sycamore leaves were just out, very fresh and beautiful.

Part of the path runs along a sunken lane between high banks.
I love moss covered walls, which always said “home” to me when I was on the way back from Berkshire. It looks as if there will be a bluebell wood at eye level in just a couple of weeks, so I’ll have to go back.Beautiful colour on the Scots Pine cones.

The sky clouded over…
I got back to the car just in time, after stopping to admire seven yellowhammers in a field.

Scotstarvit revisited

I just went up for a quick visit, needing some peace and quiet. Late afternoon, late July – the fields are turning to gold and the hedgerows are browning. Here’s a view of the top of “my” path:

I went on up the path a bit to see if there was anything exciting – buzzards circling, a squirrel (red I think, but it was against the light), beautiful views, raspberries, and my old friend from the Lade Braes:

One day, I will be sure what that is. I like this photo though – how many other plants got into the shot?

On the way back, there were happy Hogweed bonking beetles on the thistles, and also some gorgeous tortoiseshell butterflies:

There was a small knotweed plant (picture to be added once I’ve tried to identify it) and finally, beautiful blue chicory at the end of the drive.

Scotstarvit plant survey

Today was the day. After several postponements because of the weather, today was the day for getting to grips with the exciting-looking 1 km square on the map sent by Plantlife. The square covers the hill going down from Scotstarvit tower, and the map showed a likely looking path going all the way.

I knew it would be a bit overgrown…yes, well, next time, I’m wearing gloves. Key plant: nettles. Followed closely by thistles. My hands are stinging yet. And I’ve still to find out how many midges managed to land a bite on me.

However, I did enjoy it. I found about 17 plants on the list, and realised that I need to do a bit more work on umbellifers…just not sure about some of them. And then there were the lovely plants that weren’t on the list. Beautiful blue flowers I’ve never seen before, which turned out to be Chicory.

Restharrow and bristly Common Fiddleneck.

And all the way down the top part of the path, white “Pink” Purslane. So the little colony on the East Lomond isn’t unique. Why do none of the books say that it can be white, or is it just a Fife thing?

There were buzzards circling and crying up above, and a deer went out of the bracken ahead of me. A good place for birds, if I’d taken the binoculars, but today I just wanted to look at the plants. And although Plantlife don’t want to know about them, I was pleased to find and identify 4 kinds of speedwell (tiny ivy-leaved veronica hederifolia, v. persica with its one pale petal, v.arvensis that’s all over my garden, and Germander speedwell, v. chamaedrys.