Cerastium fontanum subsp. scoticum
This short-lived perennial herb is known only from Meikle Kilrannoch in Angus, where it occurs principally amongst serpentine debris on exposed montane fell-field; also in montane heath dominated by Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum and Vaccinium myrtillus, and rarely in Nardus stricta grassland. The altitude is c. 860 m.
C. fontanum subsp. scoticum was not described until 1967. Although the three known populations are small, they are not thought to be under any significant threat.
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RDB Species Accounts
The account below is for the sub-species. Closely related species and sub-species may have separate accounts listed elsewhere in the Online New Atlas
Cerastium fontanum ssp. scoticum Jalas & Sell (Caryophyllaceae)
Status in Britain: VULNERABLE. ENDEMIC.
C. fontanum ssp. scoticum is known only from Meikle Kilrannoch in Angus. There it is found at an altitude of 860 metres, growing on soils largely derived from ultramafic (serpentine) rocks. It occurs in several different vegetation communities, most frequently in those occurring in areas of thin, skeletal soils overlain by stones. These debris areas support open vegetation and are botanically rich, with such locally or nationally rare species as Armeria maritima, Cochlearia officinalis (cf. ssp. alpina), Lychnis alpina and Minuartia sedoides (Proctor, et al. 1991). It is also found in Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum and Vaccinium myrtillus heath, and more rarely in Nardus stricta grass-heath.
This taxon is distinguished from other subspecies of C. fontanum by its longer petals, larger seeds with larger tubercles, shorter capsules, sepals, flowering stems and leaves, and few-flowered inflorescences (Jalas & Sell 1967). It has a short-lived perennial life-history and flowers from June to September (and perhaps beyond these dates). Reproduction is by seed, though some vegetative reproduction through rooting of non-flowering shoots may also occur.
It is restricted to three small sites, situated within 1 km of each other and covering an area of approximately 6.5 hectares. There have been no direct counts of its population, but it is estimated as comprising around 100,000 individuals. It was formerly thought to occur at Strathy Point, West Sutherland, but plants from there have since been shown to be referable to ssp. vulgare (Wyse Jackson 1992).
There are no immediate or obvious threats to its survival. It may, however, be vulnerable to excessive grazing, and this should be monitored. Long-term management should ensure the maintenance of some debris areas, in the event of natural succession of these areas to closed vegetation. All three sites for ssp. scoticum lie within Caenlochan NNR.
M. B. Wyse Jackson