VICE-COUNTY 104 – RECORDING UNITS AND COMMON PLANTS: TOWARDS ATLAS 2020

Hectads Recording & Resources

VC 104 comprises part of 51 hectads (10 km squares of the British National Grid). It shares eight of these with other vice-counties, three (NG60, NG71, NM47) with VC 97 (West-Inverness-shire), three (NG63, NG64, NG65) with VC 105 (West Ross) and two (NG72, NG82) with both VC 97 and VC 105.

No hectad is 100% land (including freshwater bodies), though four are >98% (NG43: 99.8%, NG42: 99.7%, NG45: 98.1%, NG34: 98.0%).

NG82 has only 0.1% as land in VC 104 and NM19 only 0.4%.

Tetrads

There are 709 tetrads (2 km squares of the British National Grid) in VC104 according to the Biological Records Centre. At least nine of these are likely to contain no vascular plants (with the possible exception of Zostera) as they appear to lie wholly below the High Water Mark.

It shares six tetrads with other vice-counties, three (NG71T, NG72V, NG72W) with VC 97, two (NG72N and NG72T) with VC 105 and one (NG82B) with both VC 97 and VC 105.

Common Plants

At the time of writing (April 2015) there are 20 species that have been recorded in >500 tetrads in VC104:

Anthoxanthum odoratum

Lotus corniculatus

Blechnum spicant

Plantago lanceolata

Calluna vulgaris

Potentilla erecta

Carex nigra

Primula vulgaris

Carex panicea

Prunella vulgaris

Erica cinerea

Ranunculus acris

Eriophorum angustifolium

Succisa pratensis

Holcus lanatus

Thymus polytrichus

Hypericum pulchrum

Trifolium repens

Juncus effusus

Viola riviniana

 

If one takes records from 1 January 2000 onwards Carex nigra is lost from the top twenty list to be replaced by Angelica sylvestris (and only 13 taxa exceed 500 tetrads).

Taking records from 1 January 2000 onwards, there are 163 plants recorded from >200 tetrads.

Common Plants Missing from Individual Hectads

In 20 of the 51 hectads all 163 common plants, as arbitrarily defined above, have been recorded since 2000.

Eleven hectads are currently missing records for 1-4 common plants and six more are missing 5-10.

The remaining 14 hectads are missing more – from 18 to 114 taxa. With one exception these are the smallest hectads, each with <5% of its total area as land in VC 104. The exception is NG63 which has 9%, mostly in the northeast of Scalpay and is known to need further work. This is illustrated in the following table with the smallest 13 hectads having a coloured background:
 

Hectad

# Common Missing

 

Hectad

%land area

NG14

0

 

NG43

99.8

NG15

0

 

NG42

99.7

NG24

0

 

NG45

98.1

NG25

0

 

NG34

98.0

NG32

0

 

NG44

97.8

NG33

0

 

NG46

96.3

NG36

0

 

NG52

92.8

NG43

0

 

NG61

89.8

NG44

0

 

NG24

87.1

NG46

0

 

NG33

78.0

NG47

0

 

NG35

64.0

NG50

0

 

NG62

63.6

NG51

0

 

NG53

62.6

NG53

0

 

NG25

61.7

NG54

0

 

NG32

60.1

NG55

0

 

NM39

59.9

NG61

0

 

NG72

54.1

NG62

0

 

NG14

49.2

NG72

0

 

NG60

47.1

NM48

0

 

NG54

45.1

NG34

1

 

NG51

44.0

NG35

1

 

NG41

36.6

NG45

1

 

NG47

36.1

NG52

1

 

NG71

34.0

NG60

1

 

NG50

33.9

NM49

1

 

NG30

31.7

NG26

2

 

NM48

31.3

NG30

2

 

NG36

26.3

NG41

3

 

NG15

25.3

NG42

3

 

NG26

25.0

NG56

4

 

NG55

23.9

NG65

5

 

NG23

16.3

NM39

5

 

NM49

15.0

NG20

6

 

NG20

14.6

NG71

7

 

NG65

12.7

NG23

8

 

NG56

12.4

NG37

10

 

NG63

9.1

NG31

18

 

NG37

6.7

NM59

18

 

NG40

4.9

NM47

20

 

NG31

3.9

NG64

23

 

NM47

3.6

NG40

26

 

NG66

2.4

NG63

32

 

NG64

1.7

NG66

40

 

NM59

1.2

NG13

52

 

NG13

1.1

NM37

56

 

NM37

0.8

NM38

65

 

NM38

0.6

NM29

76

 

NG38

0.5

NG82

85

 

NM29

0.5

NG38

92

 

NM19

0.4

NM19

114

 

NG82

0.1

 

Missing 114 of 163 common plants might look like serious under-recording but in fact reflects that the only land in NM19 is Hyskeir (Ňigh-sgeir), a low-lying, seriously exposed islet that marks the southern end of The Minch and is composed of hexagonal basalt columns and sandy material formed therefrom.

Details of Hectads Missing 1-4 Common Plants

Hectad

#

Missing Plants

NG26

2

Rumex acetosella, Selaginella selaginoides

NG30

2

Iris pseudacorus, Valeriana officinalis

NG34

1

Sedum rosea

NG35

1

Selaginella selaginoides

NG41

3

Cirsium arvense, Deschampsia cespitosa, Lathyrus pratensis

NG42

3

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum, Heracleum sphondylium, Triglochin palustris

NG45

1

Sonchus asper

NG52

1

Eleocharis palustris

NG56

4

Eriophorum vaginatum, Luzula congesta, Schoenus nigricans, Selaginella selaginoides

NG60

1

Sedum rosea

NM49

1

Ajuga reptans

 

Almost all of these seem likely to be present. Similar lists for e.g. those hectads missing 5-10 common plants can readily be constructed.

Other Notes

For many years when recording I have taken tetrad lists split into pre- and post-2000 records. Recently I have constructed lists for each hectad of plants recorded there only before the year 2000. The advantage of this is that they show old records for which there is no grid reference better than hectad level.

Constructing these lists is complicated where subspecies are involved as e.g. a pre-2000 record of Luzula multiflora might show up as “Not Re-found” despite Luzula multiflora subsp. multiflora having been recorded frequently from 2000 onwards.  By and large this issue has been resolved but the odd false positive may remain. I have left microspecies of Hieracium, Rubus and Taraxacum on these lists but made them pale as in general it is not expected that these will be covered for Atlas 2020.

These “Not Re-found” lists contain many taxa recorded only once or twice, often a long time ago, many of which may be erroneous.

All lists alluded to in this document are freely available to anyone recording in the vice-county.

Poorly-recorded Tetrads

Of the 709 tetrads in VC104, 146 (20.6%) have fewer than 50 taxa recorded. Forty–two of these tetrads have no records at all, though at least 9 of these probably contain no vascular plants (with the possible exception of Zostera) as they appear to lie wholly below the High Water Mark.

Thirty-eight of the 51 hectads in VC104 contain one or more of these poorly recorded tetrads. The most severe cases are shown in the table:

Hectad

# poor tetrads

NG24

10

NG42

10

NG32

9

NG47

8

NG41

7

NG46

7

NG35

6

NG45

6

NG23

5

NG25

5

NG26

5

NG33

5

 

 

Stephen J Bungard

Updated 22nd April 2015