Monday, 24 August 2015

Sanna Wildflowers

We drove to Sanna this morning with the intention of looking for wildflowers and were not disappointed. The weather was still, with rain around and fleeting bursts of sunshine. For the first time for some days the midges were out, even following us for a while as we walked along the beach.

Where the orchids were, a month or so ago, at their best, their place has been taken by autumn gentian, Gentianella amarella. We found a few specimens at Sanna last year, but this year's weather has obviously suited this plant as there are masses of them emerging, and those that are already in flower are far bigger and healthier than then.

We've seen this pretty little flower once before, in the verges along the Ormsaigbeg road, but there were several of them in a sheep-cropped area at the northern end of the machair. It's common centaury, Centaurium erythraea, one of the gentian family, which is....

....much smaller and more delicate than autumn gentian but with the same star-shaped flower.

The devilebit scabious Succisa pratensis is coming into flower and, as usual, we were on the lookout for colour variations. While the normal flowers are blue through to purple, some paler and some darker, the most common variation is pink, usually fairly pale, but we have found white - though not today.

The flowers of sea rocket, Cakile maritima, vary from pale pink through to white, and we found both. It only seemed to occur on the sand along the tide-mark at the back of the most southerly of Sanna's bays.

Nearby we found this, which we take to be a sorrel, but nowhere can I find one which has quite such a dense seed head. It stood a good two feet tall.

Where there's luxuriant foliage, there's going to be someone to enjoy it. This is the caterpillar of the fox moth Macrothylacia rubi. While the weather wouldn't have suited them, we had hoped to see a few butterflies and moths but we didn't see one.

Right beside the car park there's as much mint as you would need to go with a roast leg of Sanna lamb, but I'm not sure which variety of mint it is. It was growing in damp ground, and some of the plants were much greener than this one.


  1. Thank you for the Sana nature tour, Jon. The Fox moth is a handsome caterpillar and there's nothing wrong with your camera!

  2. Indeed. It's as sharp as a tack!

  3. You're both right - it's a great camera, a real miracle of modern invention. Jon

  4. Lovely pictures, lovely flowers.