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 in June
This is the 2007 record which gives a good guide of what is about this year
Another month with lots of new species flowering including the orchids, a joyous time for those of us who love the wildflowers...
Yellow wildflowers in the Western Isles in June
At the start of June there were just a few assorted buttercups about, including common meadow buttercup creeping buttercup marsh marigolds lesser celandine and lesser spearwort by the end of the month the loamy areas of the islands will be yellow with them.
The dandelions are still flowering, and now so is the autumn hawkbit, this one is rather like a dandelion, but has a tall branched hairy stem, there are about 200 sub-species in it's family, one of them is fox and cubs which Debbie reported flowering on the 9th June.
The primroses are almost gone now.
Groundsel has really got going in the arable areas. A few pineapple weeds are in flower.
Sea plantain is flowering in salty places.
Tormentil is really getting going now on the acid soil (a handy plant that will help us identify the orchids).
Silverweed ia abundant along the verges, it is recognisable by it's silvery foliage and it's runners by which the plant spreads like it's relative the strawberry.
Changing forget me-not is still in flower (so called because the flowers start off yellow then turn blue). Found on bare soil.
Gorse has past it's peak and is seeding.
Yellow flag iris is flowering abundantly now. Corncrake like to nest in amongst the flag's foliage, so listen out for the call of the corncrake.
At the begining of June the lady's bedstraw just started to flower. This plant favours the machair areas.
Bird's foot trefoil is also starting to get going now, some of the ones that first flowered have already formed the seed pots that give the plant it's name.
On the 3rd of June and Frank reported charlock flowering, charlock is a colonist plant which is found throughout the islands (related to the cabbage).
Monkey flower (mimulus) has just begun to flower in the wet places, so has the blotched monkey flower.
Yellow rattle is flowering on the machair (this one is a relative of the lousewort and red rattle)
Kidney vetch (looks a little like the bird's foot trefoil or a clover at first) has begun flowering on the machair, in a month many of the villages on the West Side of Lewis will have roadside verges full of it.
Tutsan is coming into flower, a member of the St John's Wort family. A wildfower which is not a native, (although several members of the same family are) but a small shrub which does well here.
13th June and Frank sent the first report the bog aspodel in flower on Killaval, Grimersta Estate.
Debbie reported Welsh Poppy flowering in the Stornoway Castle Grounds. Wood avens is flowering there too.
In waste spaces and fields a yellow thistle the prickly sowthistle is in flower.
On the 29th June frank reported Beautiful (Also called slender) St John's Wort in flower at Grimersta in Harris.
Blue or Purplish wildflowers in the Western Isles in June
Just one or two common dog violets remain flowering. The wild pansy, a related species is still flowering, other pansy species are likely about.
Germander speedwell , thyme-leaved speedwell and heath speedwell are in flower. Speedwell has wide range of traditional medicinal uses. Brooklime another speedwell, one that has fleshy leaves is flowering in damp places.,
Heath milkwort is flowering on the moor (pink and white too). On the machair we can see the larger common milkwort flowering.
Water forget-me-not is flowering, it has larger flowers than the field forget-me-not which is also in flower. (So is the changing forget-me-not that starts yellow and goes blue)
Common butterwort is flowering. The flowers look like violets at a glance, (one of it's name is bog-violet) this yellowish-green star-shaped plant is insectivorous the midges came soon after it was ready...another insectivorous plant the sundew will flower this month too.
At the start of June the wild hyacinth has nearly finished flowering (better known as the (English) bluebell).
Bugle is flowering in shady places in the Stornoway Castle grounds.
Columbine (Aquilega) has been flowering for a month or two (natural colour pink-purple).
11th June and Sunny reported tufted vetch flowering at Stornoway airport.
Foxglove (also natural colour pink-purple) is in flower.
Bugle is in flower in the Stornoway Castle grounds, and some of the willow herb species are begining to flower.
In Frank's garden viper's bugloss is in flower, this is a home-grown one, but this wildflower has been reported growing wild in the Islands on a couple of occasions - both sandy areas... that would be an exciting find!
29th June Frank reported water lobelia in flower. (straight stems, fairly small pale blue flowers in some of the freshwater lochs)
White wildfowers in the Western Isles in June
The daisy has turned the land white wher there is a bit of soil. The hills and the moor are white with the white bog cotton.
Hairy bitter cress is now on it's second generation this year in our cultivated patches...
Pearlwort is fast covering freshly cultivated ground.
Common scurvy grass is growing along the shoreline. Places where there is a patch which is really vigorous and green are likely to be places where the otter or mink mark their territories.
One or two bogbean are still flowering in the freshwater lochs. Most are developing their seeds now.
White campion is in flower.
Ribwort plantain is flowering. If you get down to orchid level on the machair you will see the skyline full of bobbing heads of the ribwort plantain.
Shepherd's purse and lots of the chickweeds like sticky mouse-ear, and common chickweed are flowering.
The mountain everlasting is still in flower, this one grows on the moor, it has white papery club-shaped flowers.
Wild strawberry is flowering.
Sea sandwort is in flower on the pebble beaches and in sand above the strand-line ..
Nettles are in flower.
Heath bedstraw and eyebright are in flower.
The marsh horsetail is still in flower in wet places. Horsetail is sometimes called a living fossil. About 350 million years ago (Devonian period), the horsetails did well. They grew to heights of up to 40 feet or more and resembled skinny, branchless pine trees, growing as dense as a forest.
White campion is flowering.
In the shade of the Stornoway castle grounds the Umbelliferae pignut is flowering. Sweet cicely is likely also in flower but I did not see it anywhere. In sunny places elsewhere the first of the wild carrot is out. look out for the single red floret in the middle of the pinkish white flowerhead. The cow parsnip is starting to flower, and in shady places and cultivated ground, ground elder is in flower.
13th June and Grank reported Oxeye Daisy in flower, a native plant of the Western Isles, found on roadsides and machair.
In the village of Valtos in Uig, Isle of Lewis the streams are white with watercress. Garlic mustard is in flower in the Stornoway castle grounds, as is goosegrass.
White clover is in flower.
New Zealand Willow Herb, a tiny creeping plant with white flowers that prefers mountains is creeping across the Islands.
Lesser stitchwort is flowering in the castle grounds. (profusion of white flowers, scrambling nature and narrow leaves).
Cotoneaster, a small shrubby plant that likes rocks and walls is flowering, and already has it's red berries.
Eyebright is flowering.
Some of the white waterlilys on the lochs are now open.
Sneezewort is in flower, this one grows about 2' tall and has a small pale daisy-like flower. Frank reported fleabane, another daisy-like flower growing in Leurbost.
Pink wildfowers in the Western Isles in June
Yipee! The first orchids are out. The first I saw were the heath spotted-orchid This one grows on the acid moorland soil.
On the 9th June Debbie reported Northern Marsh-orchid growing in the middle of a muddy field on Benbecula, and on Riof machair the greenish-yellow (at start later pinkish-brown) frog orchid is open and some of the deep scarlet Early Marsh-orchids are already out. (By mid-June, a few of the Hebridean Spotted-orchids were also in flower, plus a few crosses ( Northern Marsh-orchid x Heath-opotted Orchid). Debbie saw pyramidal orchid growing in Benbecula.
Lousewort is in flower on the wet moorland, and the thrift is just getting going in the salty places.
Cuckooflower is still almost finished by mid-June.
lots of rhododendrons in the Stornoway Castle grounds and across the Islands are now in flower, just one or two salmonberry left flowering, most now have their yellow friuts. (they do not taste good)
Red campion is nearly 3' tall now.
Ragged robin is flowering, a pink flower of old damp meadows.
The fuschias are flowering, these are garden escapes.
The sorrel is flowering.
A pinkish-purple thistle is already in flower, marsh thistle, which as it's name suggests prefers the damp ground. This one is slender, straight, very spiny.
Red clover has been in flower for since the start of June - just a few about yet.
Foxglove is in flower, as is honeysuckle.
Saltwort, a small plant where the shingle meets the land at the shore (pink and white) is flowering.
10th of June and there are a few flowers of the purple heather (bell heather) giving us a reminder of the colour the moor will turn in a few months.
In boggy areas (but not on the moor) marsh cinquefoil is in flower. Deep maroon almost, with a flower reminiscent of the strawberry ( it's relative).
Ela reported the first of the common knapweed flowering on June 13th in Callanish. (rather like a small pink thistle with no prickles - do not pull it without gloves, it has toxic juices).
Red rattle is in flower now in wet places, it has only made a few inches of it's full height yet.
Common hemp-nettle is flowering in cultivated areas. Related to mint, this hairy plant can grow 3' tall.
Common wild thyme is small, pink and sprawling across rocks.
Common persicaria and knotgrass are in flower.
10th June Debbie reported rough comfrey in flower in Stornoway.
The laburnum tree is a glory of yellow, this tree related to peas, beans and clovers, is not a native plant of the Western Isles, but does very well here. (It's seeds are poisonous).
Gunnera is flowering where it has been planted. Not wild in the Hebrides, it is native to the mountains of South-Eastern Brazil - however it also does very well here...
"Ox-eyed Daisies are flowering in my garden and along with Meadow Buttercups and Ragged robin are dominating my wild meadow at Tigh an Uillt."
Frank Stark, Leurbost June 12th
Thank-you Frank and Sunny, Ela and Debbie, for your contributions.
Flower sightings are much welcomed.
Page updated 28th June, 2007
Photography © Suzanne Harris
Riof Machair - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
19th June, 2007