23 May 2012
I was talking with one of my colleagues today around a recent survey he had conducted, and he was showing me this photo. As he talked me through what was on there I realised how much I would miss if I had wondered across that piece of land on my own. I asked him to put this into words, as I hope that it will be of interest to you as well
The tall pale bleached plant, is Narthecium ossifragum common name Bog asphodel, locally known as “bone breaker” due to an alleged association with rickets in grazing animals. More likely this is due to the animals grazing on a nutrient (specifically calcium) poor acid peatland habitat. In the late summer this plant has beautiful yellow flowers on tall stalks, a sea of yellow across acid peatlands.
Over the autumn and winter these die and become the bleached skeletons seen in the photo.
The pale spreading mat is a lichen; of the genus Cladonia the species (the type of cladonia it is) is difficult to tell from the photo but is probably arbuscula, making it Cladonia arbuscula. It can take many forms ranging from a spreading mat like seaweed to raised golf tee like structures. It is sometimes known as reindeer moss as it forms a vital part of the diet of reindeer and caribou in the arctic tundra during the winter months, although it is of low nutrient benefit. We can eat it, but again it is of very low nutrient benefit and has a slightly musty/dry taste. Generally found high in the mountains within the alpine zone.
- 28/03/2013 Local Biomass Energy Solutions Conference, May 7th
- 21/02/2013 Highland Birchwoods update, February 2013
- 05/02/2013 Highland Birchwoods welcomes new board members
- 01/02/2013 Plant Identification Skills Training, May & June 2013
- 28/08/2012 Highlands and Islands Woodfuel Group meets in Kingussie
- 22/08/2012 Dave Thompson MSP visits Highland Birchwoods
- 14/08/2012 Highlands and Islands Woodfuel Group meeting to take place on 22nd August
- 23/07/2012 Board Member Vacancies
- 19/07/2012 Rare Scottish Willow Planting at Glen Feshie
- 12/07/2012 Wet weather may cause butterfly numbers to decline