Taking a kayak trip to Bute gives you the opportunity to discover a world of interesting wildlife that takes a trained eye to properly identify and appreciate. Whether you’re looking for seals bobbing their heads above the water, birds of prey wheeling through the sky, or plants growing on the shoreline, Bute is full of wildlife that you have the opportunity to learn about, should you wish to take the time.
Luckily, there are some wonderful resources online that make it easy to name a plant that you’ve found, but what if you want to create a checklist of some iconic plants that you can spot whilst you’re on your kayak trip? This list of classic Bute plants will give you something to keep your eye out for whilst you’re stopping at the shore to camp or take a wizz:
Thrift (Armeria maritima)
Not many locals know this, but the common Thrift is Bute’s county flower. Best spotted between April and July growing in wild bunches along the craggy coastline, the pink flowers of this plant are instantly recognisable and rather lovely. Although it’s most commonly found growing on cliffs, it is being increasingly spotted inland too, so you may spot it on your way to Bute!
Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima)
This plant is one of the most common of its kind around the world, in addition to finding it growing in the sand dunes of Bute, you can also spot this member of the mustard family multiplying across Europe, North Africa and the east coast of North America (where it is considered to be an invasive plant). It can be spotted by its shiny, green leaves and white to light purple flowers.
Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)
The Cuckoo Flower’s bloom is one of the heralds of Spring here in Bute, its pale pink flowers can be spotted across meadows, ditches and riverbanks from April onwards. Flowering from April through to June, this is an example of another common plant that calls its home across the UK.
Mossy Cyphel (Minuartia sedoides)
The Mossy Cyphel is a rare plant that you’ll be lucky to spot on a single visit to the North East of Scotland. Growing in mountainous, rocky regions, this plant is easily recognisable by its crowded system of leaves and low mat of petal-less flowers.
Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria capreolata)
This shrub can often be seen scrambling up hedge banks and cliffs during the Winter, when it’s also known to flower. Once confined to the Channel islands, this plant has since broken out to the rest of the UK, where it can be spotted along the coast and in-land for miles around.
A note on invasive plants:
If you happen to spot a large mass of plant matter that doesn’t look like it quite belongs, or are concerned that you’ve come across a plant that is appearing to stifle the surrounding plant life then you may have spotted an invasive plant! Invasive plants effect public and private land across the UK, some of which can lead to some seriously nasty legal implications for those who aren’t aware. If you think you’ve spotted one of these plants then you can inform the local authorities by using iRecord’s reporting feature.