Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
What is Flowering : April
New in flower this month are going to be coltsfoot, germander speedwell , common dog violet, lousewort, cuckooflower , wild hyacinth field pansies and pearlwort.
Blue wildflowers in the Western Isles in April
The first of the common dog violets are out, at the moment they tend to be mostly flowering in sunny sheltered places. The one in the photograph was growing in short heather on top of a Rodel sea-cliff.
The wild hyacinth is also out, it is better known as the (English) bluebell. The Scottish Bluebell (harebell) will not be in flower for a few months. Wild hyacinth is a native plant of the Western Isles.
Germander speedwell is mostly blue in the shade, but sometimes looks white when sun-bleached, small finger-nail sized flowers.
Heath milkwort will be in flower at the end of the month along with the first field pansies (blue) and bog cotton.
Yellow wildflowers in the Western Isles in April
Colt's foot is flowering at the roadsides. Colt's foot looks a bit like a leafless dandelion with thick furry stalks when it first flowers. This is the plant that is often used as a non-nicotine tobacco substitute.
Dandelions have been giving us a splash of welcome colour for a couple of months now, and by the end of April were seeding, providing early food for the goldfinches.
A few more wild primroses are about (said to be very attractive to fairies... )
Lesser celandine is dotting wet lawns with it's yellow star-like flowers. It is forming quite dense patches in some places. (Very like buttercups but with heart -shaped leaves).
Groundsel is flowering in sunny sheltered places. (Dry wasteland and garden's mostly - if you do garden, best not let it seed!)
The gorse is almost in full flower now...a heartening glory of yellow abundance..
The daffodils we are see throughout April are all planted ones, some very long ago. In some places the clumps have spead and naturalised where there are now just ruins of houses remaining. Someone found time to invest in a golden springtime treat, very lovely with the emerald green of the new grass and blue skies of Spring.
White wildfowers in the Western Isles in April
The daisy is still following the sun. Also white and small, hairy bitter cress has taken up the challenge with gardeners. (A real pest if it seeds in the strawberry bed).
Pearlwort is a very small plant mostly noticeable to gardeners because it grows green and quickly on freshly cultivated ground. In the Outer Hebrides it is reputed to have magical powers (keeping fairies away). You are likely to need a magnifying glass to see the pearls (or the tiny greenish white flowers) - but they are sometimes there. We get several varieties of pearlwort.
Common scurvy grass is growing along the shoreline, this plant has white flowers smaller than a little finger-nail and heart-shaped dark green leaves).
Pink wildfowers in the Western Isles in April
Lousewort will be in flower, also thrift and Cuckooflower (lady's smock).
Quite a lot of the pink flowers of the salmonberry, a cane rather like raspberry, growing profusely as thickets in the castle grounds are likely to open this month. Salmonberry is an introduced plant.
A few more of the rhododendrons in the Stornoway Castle grounds will come into flower. The rhododendrons, are probably introduced plants here rather than native wildflowers, but they are believed to be native to the UK many thousands of years ago.
A total about 17 species were reported last year in April.
By the end of the month lambs will be bouncing in every village...cherry trees and sallows flowering. Cuckoo and Corncrake calling.