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St Kilda dandelion

5 July 2012

We have been keeping it under wraps until we were certain but now it seems St Kilda not only has its own Mouse and Wren, but also its very own Dandelion.

Dandelion Taraxacum pankhurstianum

(Photo C.C. Ferguson-Smyth)

There have been occasional recordings of Dandelions over the years but this Spring they have been seen in profusion, mainly alongside the roads and burns on Hirta where the ground is disturbed. It is probably no coincidence that they are being seen this year now the grazing pressure on the vegetation has lifted with fewer sheep munching away. Botanically they are related to Dandelions of Iceland and the Faeroes so supposition would suggest they may have arrived with the Vikings. The fact that they are found alongside the road and paths on the island would certainly indicate human activity influences their dispersal.

The humble Dandelion of St Kilda may prove to be one of the rarest plants in the British Isles.




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