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Flora of the Outer Hebrides

Although the flora of the Outer Hebrides had been recorded by a succession of botanists from mid 19th century, a comprehensive account was not published until 1991 (Pankhurst and Mullen). In comparison with the other taxonomic groups, the vascular plants are reasonably well documented, the Flora describing over 700 species. The landscape of the islands comprises largely of acid bog and moorland, numerous scattered lochs, and outcrops of Lewisian gneiss where the flora is best described as impoverished with less than 25 species of flowering plants. However, the rich coastal grassland of the west coast (machair) supports a more diverse community of wild flowers and grasses.

The combination of climate and the geography of the islands the major factors which have determined the biodiversity of the flora and plant distribution. The oceanic nature of the climate is responsible for the richness of the bryophyte flora (mosses and liverworts) and also contributes to the late flowering of many species - the flowers of the machair are probably at their best from mid-June.

The Flora has been divided into the two main sections: grasses, rushes, sedges and ferns, and wild flowers, trees and shrubs. Each section has a photographic taxonomic index, based on either order or family, and an A-Z index of scientific and vernacular names. Individual species can be located by entering the scientific or common name in the search box or by using the Search page.

The Bryophytes (mosses and websites have now been moved to a new website: Mosses and Liverworts of the Outer Hebrides.

Flora Hebrides