A walk along the Almond in early May 2014

10/05/14
It was wonderful to see so many plants in flower and with little difficulty I counted over thirty species!

Butterbur ( Petasites hybridus) grows near Dowie's Mill. The flower emerges first and is followed by very large leaves. In an old photograph of Jock Howison's cottage ( when it had walls and a roof!) this plant can be seen on the slope towards the river. It is no longer there but Ramsons, Few-flowered Leek , Cow Parsley and Ground Elder could be seen.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)



The non-native and invasive Few-flowered Leek (Allium paradoxum) was widespread but was beginning to die back. It will quickly be superseded by other plant species such as Jack-by-the-Hedge, Ground Elder and Creeping Buttercup. the native wild Garlic or Ramsons (Allium ursinum) was prevalent towards Cramond, especially in the vicinity of the Salvesen Steps.
Ramsons (Allium ursinum)
Ramsons (Allium ursinum)




Between Dowie's Mill and Peggy's Mill a beautiful White Violet (Viola odorata) emerged from a stump covered in Ivy. Nice to see that something can grow amidst Ivy!
Sweet Violet (Viola odorata)
Sweet Violet (Viola odorata)



At the bottom of Peggy's Mill Road there was a large patch of Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp argentatum). This was an interesting find, probably a garden escapee. It was first recorded in the wild in Oxfordshire in 1974. According to the organisation 'Plantlife' it is increasing rapidly in the wild, carpeting the area to the exclusion of other plants and should be considered among the top 17 plants presenting a risk to species of conservation interest.
Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatum)
Variegated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatum)



The Holly (Ilex aquifolium) was now flowering and all trees examined were male - no doubt the reason why there were so few berries last winter.
A male Holly Flower showing stamens and no ovary (Ilex aquifolium)
A male Holly Flower showing stamens and no ovary (Ilex aquifolium)



Towards Fair a' Far Wood Anemonies (Anemone nemorosa) were an attractive sight.
Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)



Bluebells were frequently seen but were not the native Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) which has narrow tube-like flowers with the tips curled back and which droop to one side. The hybrid between our bative Bluebell and the Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) is commonly grown in gardens and those along the walkway are no doubt escapees from gardens in the vicinity. In view of their presence in so many gardens in the area and the fact that the species readily hybridise I suspect it would be impossible to maintain a population of native Bluebells along the walkway. A study on Bluebell populations and the risks to genetic integrity of our native Bluebell can be seen at:
http://www.plantlife.org.uk/uploads/documents/Bluebells-for-Britain-report.pdf
Hybrid Bluebells near Dowie's Mill
Hybrid Bluebells near Dowie's Mill



The Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) which had been a beautiful sight, especially on the slopes between Fair a' Far and Caddell's Row, had nearly completed flowering.
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)


How lucky we are to have such a beautiful walkway on our doorstep! Do contact us if you have any questions, photographs or observations on wildlife.

Isla Browning

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Walks along the River