Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Keen of Hamar, Unst

Our two visits to Keen of Hamar were both a little under-resourced, given that we had forgotten to bring a flora ID away with us. On the first visit we relied upon the on site interpretation and an intermittent phone / internet signal. By the second visit we had purchased a very useful book, from the Tourist Information Centre in Lerwick entitled: "A Photographic Guide to Shetland's Wild Flowers" by David Malcolm.

Resource limitations aside, we were able to find and identify a handful of the plants present on this "serpentine debris" (, 1999) including one of it's star prizes: Edmondston's Chickweed AKA Shetland mouse-ear (Cerastium nigrescens nigrascens) which is known only from this site in its particular form (Laughton Johnson, J. 1999).

Serpentine debris Keen of Hamar

amongst the Serpentine debris, Keen of Hamar

common scurvy grass (Cochlearia officinalis)
thrift (Armeria maritime)
moss campion (Silene acaulis)
kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria)
mountain everlasting (Antennaria dioica)
finding the Edmonston's chickweed
Edmonston's chickweed AKA Shetland mouse-ear
early purple orchid (Orchis mascula)

For a concise description of both the unique geology and the floristic value of the Keen of Hamar as a Nature Reserve visit:, 1999, Keen of Hamar Nature Reserve, read:


Laughton Johnston, J. 1999, A Naturalist's Shetland, T & AD Poyser Ltd, London

Malcolm, D. 2012, A Photographic Guide to Shetland's Wild Flowers, The Shetland Times Ltd, Lerwick

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