Good news in the wetland paradise

Loch Lomond NNR

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We had a bit of a shock last year at Loch Lomond NNR when a very small plant of Crassula helmsii, the New Zealand pygmy weed  was found on the south side of the river. This wasn’t good news because this plant is an introduced, highly invasive wetland plant that if it became established could become a huge problem by swamping native flora. The plant was the first record for Loch Lomond and was probably introduced via either a boat that had been transported from another water bodies where it is already found or via fishing gear. The plant was removed and destroyed and a search made in the area where it was found.

So yesterday we went back to do a comprehensive search to see if we could find if there were anymore of these plants. Crassula is tiny and very insignificant when it first arrives so Steve, Amee and myself along with some help from Becky and Sam the RSPB, spent several hours walking slowly bent in half staring at every tiny bit of green at the loch edge. And the good news is that we didn’t find any. Of course we might have missed it but if we did it must have been very tiny and not yet established. In this case vigilance is vital so this is a search exercise we will be doing every year.

As ever there was exciting wildlife all around this wetland paradise. Ospreys overhead.

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And rare plants under foot. This is Amee finding Callitriche palustris, one of the rarest plants on the NNR, it likes the muddy bits along the edge of the loch and is only found in a few sites in the UK. Hold on to your hats!

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A satisfying day all round.

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