Mainly about the wild flowers of Fife


Meadow above the quarry

A quick Sunday morning visit to see what was flowering in the pasture above the old quarry. The first highlight wasn’t floral.

Male and female Common Blue butterflies – they did some impressive synchronised flying then got together on the nettles.

I liked this combination of lemon yellow Hop Trefoil and the beautiful Selfheal.

There were other good partnerships too. Red clover and yellow Pillosella, for one.

I tried to get a “wildflowerhour” picture of this scabious with Lomonds in the background, but it looks a bit odd.
I didn’t notice the yellow flower photobomb in the background…still, it was a lovely Scabious.

There were still a few orchids in flower. Why is it impossible to get a good picture? Why is the grass behind it in focus? Why does the orchid look as if it’s laughing at me?

On a calmer note, the roadside was bursting with daisies.

Further down, near the junction, I had to stop for this wonderful road verge.

Why can’t they all be like this?

And the bonus was the poppy field.



I had such a good day out with Sheila and the group. At Keltneyburn, we failed to find many different orchids, but thankfully there were loads of Greater Butterfly.

And of course there were other things to consider.

Red seeds of Pignut.


Chimney Sweeper moths mating while two of the little speckled biting beasties got on with it too (not in the picture though).

I was happy to see the Alpine Bistort, but came away without a photo.

At lunch, we found a rather lovely moth.

It seemed quite at home on Mary’s finger.

Afterwards, we went a short way up the path, admiring Oak fern, Wood Geranium and the waterfalls, and then found what Sheila had been looking for.

Small Cow-wheat, Melampyrum sylvaticum. Darker yellow than the Common Cow-wheat. And much rarer.

But that wasn’t the only rare plant we saw. We stopped off at Corsiehill and tried again to find the Whorled Solomon’s Seal – with some success.

We could only see about 10 plants, none of which seemed to be carrying seeds, and they were pretty overgrown with Sweet Cicely etc. But lovely to find it.

Time off

Life has been so busy lately, and I’ve missed my days pottering about the countryside. So on Monday evening I seized my chance and went down to Shell Bay to enjoy a sunny evening.

I discovered that the mystery plant from a few weeks ago is what it appeared to be – an opium poppy, looking very out of place.

Must have seeded itself from the poppies someone has planted at the “shrine”.

I went up the little hillock – have never done this before. Good view.

There was also a nice little rock garden on its slopes.

The flowers are amazing at this time of year. This is the path through the dunes.

If I was asked “Meadow or Bloody?” (Cranesbill), I wouldn’t know which to choose.

There were tall stems of Valerian in the dunes, such a sweet flower. And the pure green-white flowers of bladder campion.

Wonderful time of the year

I went down to Shell Bay to have another look at the hairy little white thing, and everything was in bloom. The Lesser Meadow-rue, the Annual Wall Rocket, the Sea Campion, the Viper’s Bugloss…

Such a stunner, with it’s scorpion buds opening pink, then turning that ethereal blue.

The little white thing is very beautiful, close-up.

With its hairy upright stem leaves, I think it’s Hairy Rock-cress, Arabis hirsuta.

The flag irises were coming out.

On Ruddon’s point, I found orchids, and lots of Quaking Grass and Kidney Vetch.

And a mystery plant – Opium poppy? Very cabbagey to feel.

The ducks were distant, but I could see moulting male eiders among them.

There were some lovely grasses too – still to ID.

Astragalus danicus. Thyme covered in bees. A bank of lemon yellow Pilosella.

The rain stayed off, but it was never a certainty. The weather effects on sea and sky were good though.

I liked this view of Berwick Law through the Marram grass.

Bits and bobs from Guardbridge

Welted Thistle, Carduus crispus, all along the edge of the University’s fence.

Scarlet Pimpernel – wasn’t expecting to find it here.

There were at least 10 spikes of orchid. Possibly Northern Marsh Orchid.

Lots and lots of Lesser Twayblade in the woods.

Also went to Tayport to look for the Great Lettuce, which has mysteriously disappeared.

Sea Club-rush, Bolboschoenus maritimus down on the salt marsh.

“No Flowers” walk Lower Largo to Elie

It was never going to work, but I thought I’d have a break from poring over flowers and trying to work out IDs, and just enjoy a walk along the coast.

I lasted until Cocklemill burn, when I weakened and went off to have a wee look for the Frog Orchids. Didn’t find any, but got intrigued by the Quaking Grass heads emerging like peas from a pod.

Then I couldn’t pass by this sweet little hairy white flower – still not sure what it is, seeking help.

I made it all the way across Shell Bay, where there was a sleeping duck with some vivid turquoise feathers.

Then going up the cliffs, I stopped for lunch on the top bench and it was all over. Burnet rose, Rock rose, all sorts of lovely things.

Kidney Vetch

I watched four female Eider ducks lead a group of 10 ducklings towards the rocks. The swell was heavy and I couldn’t believe that they would make it safely on to dry ground – but eventually they did, and got a good peck at the weed.

Later I saw four of them swimming away with one female.

The top of the cliff had lots of Geranium sanguineum, more than I remember, (not in pic) and more rock rose and burnet.

Coming down, I could see the weather changing, but thought I would have time to follow the coast round the golf course. And I was glad I did, because I found this wee thing.

Common Fiddleneck – not so common.

Red and green

A bright moment on a dreich day at Auchterarder.

The red spikes are a gall, Eriophyes tilia, which shows up beautifully on the fresh young leaves of the lime tree.
They look a little bit like a colony of red penguins on a green ice field – or is that just me?

Just because I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Coralroot orchid! Twinflower!

We set out to get an idea of where to start our survey of Coralroot orchid at Tentsmuir, but made a little detour first…

So lovely to see it again.

The patch seems bigger than ever, but most of it is flowerless. Which makes the flowers all the more special.

Then we went over to the Great Slack and started tracing grid references. We found lots of small beauties, including Field Woodrush.

Deep blue Milkwort.


Carnation Sedge, Carex panacea.

And then Margaret found the first one.

And I found the second one (but it wasn’t so photogenic). Margaret found lots of Pyrola leaves.

EC’s notes say that the orchid was often found in association with Pyrola.

As a bonus, we found lots of Adder’s-tongue Fern.

Rain (and time) stopped play, but we’ll be back. So happy that we found even just a couple of spikes.

Kingsbarns coast

A “Wednesday” walk, out on my own in beautiful weather on one of my favourite walks. Not recording plants, just enjoying them flowering all over the place – no more winter days getting excited over single specimens, there are now great drifts of pink campion and cow parsley, bird’s-foot trefoil and plantain. And lovely Thrift.

And Sea Sandwort coming into flower all over the place.

It wasn’t just the plants, I was fascinated by the variety of seaweed in this pool.

Loved this delicate pink one.

The green-fringed pool was a bit creepy though.

The rocks are amazing on this stretch of the coast. This one is gradually eroding away from its flat surface, leaving little outcrops.

I liked the rock behind this pink campion.

And I liked the lichen on the wall.

It was lovely to find these deep red poppies (not dubium) at the edge of this field.

I went up to see what I’d missed in the HB purge on the Kenly burn. Did a bit more weeding. Wished I’d remembered to bring gloves…

Bird-wise, I saw my first terns of the year, several reed buntings and a linnet. Not sure if I saw a twite.

Lunch view.

Things to remember. A colony of cowslips. The “sculpture” on the rock.

Lovely pilosella

Recording 8 May (Cupar)

Just a reminder of a good morning recording on my doorstep, but as ever, discovering things I didn’t know were there.

I set out along the road to St Mary’s Farm, recording as I went. Found a little footbridge into an uncultivated area where there was Comfrey.

After a session with the book, I’ve decided to record as Symphytum tuberosum. The only other option on the sheet was uplandicum, which it’s not.

In the hedgerow I found a hawthorn which didn’t look like the usual – the leaves were shinier and rounder.

After some help from Twitter, I checked the styles and yes, there were two – so Crataegus laevigata, not monogyna.

I found a waymarked path which I didn’t know was there, and followed it up the side of a field to a hidden meadow full of yellow flowers. Too late for daffs. I was delighted to find that they were cowslips.

In the same field is a pond with bulrushes, or reedmace, and I’ll go back to explore further with better footwear.

I tried to ID some grasses, but must learn more about them. Loved this one, seen close-up ( Meadow Foxtail?).

And I found a mystery sedum which might be Roseroot, but not sure. So as ever, will have to go back…