Plant Species of Dumfries and Galloway :
Dumfries and Galloway, better known as South West Scotland, has a wide variety of habitats, ranging from coastal dunes and wetlands, through woodlands, fields and open moorlands, to rock and near-tundra. A wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates survives in the area, as it is still low in population and is increasingly subject to conservation.
Native plants and trees are still fairly common, but it has to be admitted that agriculture and forestry have devastated some parts of the wetland and upland ecologies. On the positive side, there are still areas of ancient or regenerated deciduous woodland, some of which preserve pollarding and coppicing from earlier management. Bluebells flourish in the woodlands, wild garlic and bilberry can be found in season, whilst the sloe and elder provide beauty and wine-base for those who own them.
This list is likely to grow enormously as interest in the site continues. The writer will try to keep pace with suggestions and is always happy to receive images of plant species not yet illustrated here.
The climax woodland since the end of the last Ice Age is technically oak and ash woodland with a mixture of hazel and birch. Land clearance by grazing and felling has created a mixture of moorlands, grazing and arable land, much of it now declining to heathland or under plantation forestry. Extensive lowland raised bogs did exist near Dumfries, upland blanket bog and Molinia grassland covering higher parts of the Region. Relict deciduous woodland, - chiefly replanted, - survives on steep slopes and gulleys that cannot be used for much else. Plantation ground cover is sparse except where there was replanting on felled woodland. Regenerated woodland is fairly rich in plants, but deciduous trees are always at risk from deer, hare and rabbit browsing. High ground trees are vulnerable to damage from sheep and goats.
Sycamore and Beech trees are virtually naturalised rather than exotic, but
Downy Birch (Betula pubescens) and Silver Birch (Betula pendula) : These two varieties of birch tree are common within South West Scotland. Frequently they are found with the three varieties of ling on the edges of blanket bog and drained marshland, but are also common occasional trees in plantations or regenerated woodland. Dalbeattie's name is a recognition of the local importance of these trees, though the timber is of little use except as firewood.
Alder () :
Hazel () :
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) :
Rowan () :
Pedunculate (English) Oak (Quercus robur) :
Sycamore () :
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) :
Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris> :
Elder () :
Sloe (Blackthorn) (Prunus spinosa) :
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) :
Juniper (Juniperus communis)) : Although growing to brushwood heights in Dumfries and Galloway, this rather uncommon species is an interesting tree.
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) :
Grey Willow/Sallow (Salix cinerea) :
Gean (Wild Cherry) () :
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) :
Sitka (Picea sitchensis) and Norway Spruce (P. abies):
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) :
Corsican Pine (Pinus nigra (maritimus)) :
Japanese (Larix kaempferi) European and Hybrid Larches :
Western Hemlock () :
Leylandii () :
This separates those plants that grow to no more than 3 metres from genuine trees, but it includes the woody species that form ground cover in woodlands and on moorland. Birch, Elder, Hazel and Holly, may share some features with ground cover species, but are true trees. Heathers and Gorse very definitely are not.
Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) : A troublesome pest in conservation terms, but still planted by some gamekeepers as cover for breeding gamebirds. Only exceeded by Bracken in its tendency to overgrow native groundcover and hinders regeneration. Flowers are the only redeeeming feature.
Heather : Common Ling (Calluna vulgaris) Bell Heather (Erica cinerea)and Cross-Leaved Heath (E. :
Bramble () :
Gorse () :
Broom () :
Bilberry/Blueberry/Blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) :
Ivy (Hedera helix) :
Dogrose (Rosa canina) :
Dogwood () : A troublesome introduction and garden escape into forestry plantations and rough ground. May grow to impressive heights but is an annual.
Giant Hogweed () : The worst introduced species in Britain, rapidly infesting watercourses from further up in the watershed.
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