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GOLONSAY 



OSlimatc, Geology, etc 



Murdoch IVTNeill 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



COLONSAY 

ITS PLANTS, ETC. 



COLONSAY 

ONE OF THE HEBRIDES 



ITS PLANTS : THEIR LOCAL NAMES AND USES 
LEGENDS, RUINS, AND PLACE-NAMES- 
GAELIC NAMES OF BIRDS, FISHES, ETC. 
CLIMATE, GEOLOGICAL FORMATION, ETC. 



BY 

MURDOCH M C NEILL 



EDINBURGH 
DAVID DOUGLAS 

1910 



THIS VOLUME IS 

IRespectfullE S>efcicatefc 

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE 

LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL, 

G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., D.C.L., LL.D., D.L. 

IN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OP HIS GENEROUS ASSISTANCE, 

WHICH HAS ENABLED THIS VOLUME TO BE 

COMPLETED AND PUBLISHED 



DA 



PREFACE 

A COLLECTION of the plants of his native island was begun 
by the writer in 1903, during a period of convalescence, and 
was continued as a recreation, from time to time, as occasion 
offered. In 1908 the idea of making use of the material 
accumulated and arranging it for publication was conceived, 
and to put it into effect a final endeavour was made that 
season to have the plant list of the island as complete as the 
circumstances would permit. 

In preparing the little volume for the press, the lack of 
works of reference was found a serious drawback. The 
following publications were found most helpful : Bentham 
and Hooker's British Flora ; Withering's English Botany ; 
Cameron's Gaelic Names of Plants ; Hogan's Irish and 
Scottish Gaelic Names of Herbs, Plants, Trees, etc. ; Gregory's 
History of the West Highlands ; Oransay and its Monastery, 
by F. C. E. M'Xeill ; " Colla Ciotach Mac Ghilleasbuig," by 
Prof. Mackinnon (Celtic Monthly, Sept. 1903-Jan. 1904); 
Geikie's Scenery of Scotland ; Notes on the Geology of Colon- 
say and Oransay, by Prof. Geikie; The Two Earth-Movements 
of Colonsay, by W. B. Wright, B.A., F.G.S. ; Sketch of the 
Geology of the Inner Hebrides, by Prof. Heddle ; Journals of 

719649 



vi PREFACE 

the Scottish Meteorological Society ; Address on the Climate 
of the British Isles, by A. Watt, M.A., etc. 

Among the many friends who have given generous aid, 
special thanks are due to two gentlemen in particular r 
Mr Arthur Bennett, F.L.S., who has named or verified nearly 
all the Colonsay plants ; and Professor Mackinnon, of the 
Celtic Chair, Edinburgh, a native of Colonsay, who kindly 
read the proof-sheets and corrected the Gaelic names. 
Others kindly gave help in a variety of ways. Thus Mr 
E. B. Bailey, who was engaged for several seasons in the 
Geological Survey of the island, corrected and amplified the 
chapter on Geology. 

In determining doubtful species, assistance was received 
from the authorities at Kew and the following gentlemen : 
Kev. W. Moyle Rogers, F.L.S., Bournemouth (Rubi) ; 
Mr W. Barclay, Perth (Rosa) ; Rev. E. S. Marshall, M.A., 
F.L.S., Taunton (Euphrasia, Betula, etc.) ; Rev. E. F. Linton, 
M.A., Salisbury (Mentha, Hieracia, Salix, etc.); Mr Charles 
T. Druery, F.L.S., Acton (Ferns); the late Rev. W. R. 
Linton, M.A. (Hieracia) ; Rev. G. R. Bullock Webster, F.L.S. 
(Chara, Tolypella). 

For information concerning the plants of the surrounding 
islands and assistance in other ways, the writer is much 
indebted to Mr Symers M. Mac Vicar (flora of Tiree, Eigg, 
Lismore, etc.), Dr Gilmour (list of the Islay plants), Mr P. 
Ewing, F.L.S. (Glasgow Catalogue of Native and Estab- 
lished Plants), Dr M'Neill, Medical Officer of the County 
of Argyll, and others; and to Mr Donald M'Neill, Lower 
Kilchattan, and the older inhabitants for information on 
local matters. 



PREFACE vii 

The writer trusts that much of the matter contained in the 
following pages may be regarded as typical of and applicable 
in many respects to the Western Islands as a whole. He 
would gladly have entered into greater detail regarding the 
old-time industries, place-names, topography, traditions, and 
folk-lore of Colonsay, but the general reader may be of 
opinion that enough has been said on these matters in a 
work primarily intended to treat of the flora of the island. 

M. M c ^. 

KILORAN, COLONSAY, 
. December 1909. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGB 

1. GENERAL DESCRIPTION .' . . .' . . 3 

2. CLIMATE . . ... 45 

3. GEOLOGICAL FORMATION . . ' . . . 54 

4. WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES . . . .69 

THE FLORA ...... 86 

INDEX . . 205 



COLONSAY 

ONE OF THE HEBRIDES 



CHAPTER I 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

THE islands of Colonsay and Oransay and the neighbouring 
islands of Islay, Jura, and Scarba, with their islets, constitute 
the group of the South Inner Hebrides. Colonsay and 
Oransay were formerly jointly known as Eilean Tarsuinn 
(or the cross-lying island), so designated, it would seem, 
from an exaggerated notion of their oblique position with 
relation to the Sound of Islay. In the Old Statistical 
Account it is mentioned, but erroneously, that they are 
named after two saints, Colon and Oran. 

Colonsay (Gaelic, Colasa) is 9 miles long, and averages 3 
in breadth; with Oransay, the length is 12 miles. Situated 
in lat. 56 5' N., long. 6 15' W., the island is distant by sea 
from Greenock about 110 miles and from Oban about 38. 
In striking contrast to the opposite island of Jura, whose 
Paps rise steeply from the Atlantic to a height of 2571 feet, 
and the more distant Mull, where Ben Mor attains an 
altitude of 3169 feet, Colonsay is low-lying; Carnan Eoin, 
its highest hill, not exceeding 470 feet above sea-level. 
The channel that separates it from the nearest islands 
varies in breadth from 8 to 20 miles, widening from south 



4 COLONSAY 

to north. The depth of the channel generally is less than 
20 fathoms, but north of the island the sea deepens con- 
siderably with an irregular bottom. 

Notwithstanding the low elevation, in clear weather 
distant views of the other islands and of the mainland can 
be obtained. Northward, beyond the isles of lona, Tiree, 
and Coll, the outline of what is thought to be the peak 
of Ben Heavel (1260 feet) in Barra, 70 miles away, has 
been observed. The hills of Donegal in Ireland to the 
south-west, and Goatfell in Arran, 44 miles off, are more 
frequently seen. In winter the snow-capped Ben Cruachan 
and other Argyllshire hills, and even Ben Nevis, 60 miles 
distant, are familiar objects on the horizon in the north-east. 
On the western side the wide sweep of the Atlantic is 
broken only by the lonely Du Hirteach lighthouse (15 miles 
off) and a few barren rocks ; the Skerryvore light flashing 
into view across the intervening 37 miles of sea only when 
the sky is very clear. 

For several hours during low water the smaller island of 
Uransay is connected with the southern end of Colonsay by 
a sandy, islet-dotted strand. Oransay (Gaelic, Orasa) is 
derived from the Norse (Orjiris-ey = ebb-tide island). The 
name is common in the West, there being some twenty of 
them between the western shores and islands. Oransay is 
about 2000 acres in extent, and hilly on the north ; its 
highest hill, Beinn Orasa, being 308 feet above sea-level. 
The southern portion is low-lying, with sand-dunes over- 
grown with Sea Maram, Sea Sedge, and other plants and 
mosses, which assist in binding the sand. With the excep- 
tion of some shrubby Willows and Elders, the island is 
treeless. 

After his departure from Ireland in 563, St Columba is 
said to have landed at Oransay, but there is no historical 
record confirming this tradition. Port-na-h-Iubhraich (Port 
of the Barge), at lochdar-na-Garbhaird, on the west side of 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 5 

the Strand, has been suggested as his probable landing-place. 
According to local tradition, this was also the spot where, at 
a later date, the galley of a viking chief came ashore. It is 
related of St Columba that before he left Ireland he made a 
vow never to settle within sight of his native hills, and dis- 
covering that he could still see them from the Beinn in 
Oransay, he moved to lona. 

The earliest mention that we have of Colonsay is in 
Adamnan's Life of St Columba, which was written about 
A.D. 693, i.e. about ninety-six years after the saint's death. 
The name in Adamnan's Latin is Colosus. In this, the oldest 
book which can be proved to have been written in Scotland, 
the author relates an interesting story of one Ere Mocudruidi, 
who had the hardihood to cross, in a small boat, the stormy 
strip of ocean that separates Colonsay from lona, with the 
intention of stealing the seals that St Columba was rearing 
for his own use. He hid his coracle among the sand-hills in 
Mull, on the opposite side of the sound, and, in concealment, 
waited for the fall of night for carrying out his dishonest 
design. St Columba, perceiving his purpose, sent two of 
the brethren to apprehend him. " Why dost thou often 
steal the goods of others, transgressing the divine command ? 
When thou art in need, come, and then thou shalt receive 
for the asking all that is necessary," said the saint when 
the culprit was brought before him; and, lest he should 
return empty, he caused sheep to be killed for him. Fore- 
seeing in spirit that the death of the thief was at hand, 
St Columba ordered Baithene in Tiree to send to him 
to Colonsay, as a last gift, a fat sheep and six pecks of 
corn. On the day that the presents arrived Mocudruidi 
died suddenly, and the gifts were used by the mourners 
at the funeral feast. 

The Norwegians held the Western Islands for upwards of 
400 years, and although it is nearly 650 years since they lost 
possession, evidences of their occupation are not wanting in 



6 COLONSAY 

Colonsay in place-names e.g. Poll-na-Cnarradh (Ga. Poll = 
pool, NOT. Knarr = vessel; i.e. the Pool of the Vessel), 
Scalasaig (Bay of Small Huts), Cnoc Innibrig (Knoll of 
Ingibiorg), etc. in legends, and in interments such as were 
dug up at Lag-na-Birlinn, Machrins golf-links, and at Traigh- 
nam-Barc. Bronze coins of Wigmund, Archbishop of York 
A.D. 837-854, similar to one recently found in a ship-burial 
in the island of Arran, were discovered in the viking's grave 
at Lag-na-Birlinn. A sword, rusty and almost mouldered 
away, was lying near the bones of the warrior who met 
his death at Traigh-nam-Barc, the local tradition in connec- 
tion with it being, that a fight took place in the vicinity 
between natives and the Norsemen who landed from the 
galley at Port-na-h-Iubhraich. The leader of the latter was 
killed, and his body encased in the stone coffin, which lay in 
the ground undisturbed for more than 600 years. Three 
of the principal hill-forts Dun Eibhinn, Dun Ghallain, 
and Dun Cholla are said to have been named after 
three sons Edmund, Gallan, and Coll of the King of 
Lochlann. In one of the Norse sagas mention is made 
of a certain Earl Gilli, Lord of Coin (Colonsay or Coll?), 
being married in the eleventh century to a Norwegian lady 
of high rank. 

The Druid's circle, some rough stones arranged in a 
circular manner at Buaile Riabhach, recalls a still more 
remote and mysterious past. Britain, before the Roman 
invasion, was the stronghold of Druidism, and not until the 
Celtic people were converted to Christianity did this form of 
worship entirely disappear from their midst. The cill 's are 
of Christian origin. They are the remains of chapels which 
were in use before, some of them after, the Reformation. 
Sites of about a dozen of these old structures are pointed out 
in various places in the island. Portions of the walls of two 
Temple of the Glen and Kilchattan are yet standing, 
and, judging by what is still seen of the walls, they were of 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 7 

small size. Gravestones show that burials were made within 
and around the buildings. Of some of these old structures 
hardly a trace now remains. Time, in its work of destruc- 
tion, was aided by man, who found the stones (as well 
as those constructing the duns) useful for various other 
purposes. The dedications were to Columba (Oransay), 
Oran, Catan, Ciaran, Coinneach, Maol-Rubha (Cill-a- 
Rubha), Moire (Mary two dedications, one in Colonsay 
and one in Oransay), Bride (Bridget), and Catriona 
(Catherine). 

Among the possessions confirmed by David II. in 1344 to 
John, Lord of the Isles, we find Colonsay included. The 
island was occupied until the seventeenth century by the 
M'Duffies or M'Phees. They held it from the M'Donalds, but 
there is no evidence to show at what period they first came 
into possession, or indeed that they ever had a written charter 
of the island. After the forfeiture of the Lordship of the 
Isles, M'Phee, like M'Donald of Islay, became a tenant of 
the Crown. M'Phee was clerk or secretary to the council 
or parliament of the M'Donalds of Islay. Their stronghold 
was evidently Dun Eibhinn, from which their title of Lord 
of Dun Eibhinn, engraved on a tombstone in lona, had been 
derived. A Donald M'Duffie or M'Phee of Colonsay wit- 
nessed a charter of John, Earl of Ross, in 1463. In 1609 
another of the name and designation was present at the 
assembly of island chiefs in lona presided over by Bishop 
Knox, when the nine famous statutes of Icolmkill were 
enacted. 

Something of the history of the M'Phees may be learned 
from the inscriptions on their tombstones. Their burial- 
place was a small chapel built against the south wall of the 
church in Oransay. It contained some of the sculptured 
stones now arranged along the north side of the church. 
One of these is to the memory of Murchardus M'Duffie, 
who died in 1539. Another was over the tomb of Sir 



8 COLONSAY 

Donald M'Duffie, abbot in Oransay when Dean Monro 
made his tour of the Western Isles in 1549. Monro 
wrote that "the He is brucket by ane gentle capitane 
callit M'Duffyhe, and pertained of auld to clan Donald 
of Kintyre." 

The last of the M'Phees of Colonsay, Malcolm M'Phee, 
was killed at Eilean-nan-Kon, south of Oransay, by Coll 
Ciotach in February 1623. Earlier in the century he, 
according to Gregory, had been compelled for a time to hold 
his lands from Argyll, instead of M 'Don aid of Islay. This 
circumstance, however, did not prevent him from joining 
Sir James M'Donald when the latter escaped from Edinburgh 
Castle in 1615. The rising was unsuccessful, and at its 
close M'Phee was delivered into the hands of Argyll by 
Coll Ciotach, one of his associates in the recent revolt. 

After being detained for some time as a prisoner in 
Edinburgh, M'Phee was allowed to return to Colonsay. 
Places of concealment in various parts of the island, named 
after him (leab' fhalaich Mhic-a-Phl), indicate that he had 
been hunted about from place to place for some time before 
his death. He was finally followed to the south-western 
extremity of Eilean-nan-R6n, an-t-Eilean-Iarach, but would 
have still remained undiscovered had not his whereabouts 
been made known to his pursuers in a curious manner. Coll 
and his men were returning to Oransay after a fruitless search 
when the cry of a gull hovering over a particular spot 
attracted their attention, and on reaching the place they 
found M'Phee crouching on a very narrow ledge of rock at 
the edge of the sea. "Fabhar, a Thamhais," pleaded the 
fugitive. " Fabhar no fabhar," answered Tamhas Mac 'Hie 
Mhoirche, the person who first saw him, "is beag fabhair a 
gheibhteadh o t' fheusaig ruaidh mu'n am so 'n deV' In 
June 1623 Coll and his son Gilleasbuig, with four followers, 
were summoned to Edinburgh on the charge of murdering 
Malcolm M'Phee of Colonsay, Donald (Og) M'Phee, Dugald 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 9 

M'Phee, John M'Quarrie, and Ivor Ban (the Fair), the com- 
plainants being Mary M'Donald (M'Phee's widow), Donald, 
a son, Catherine, Annie, and Flora, daughters, besides relatives 
of the other victims. 

Although the history of the island is often veiled in 
obscurity, we can gather from various sources that its owner- 
ship during the latter half of the sixteenth century and 
the early part of the seventeenth was a source of contention 
among the M'Phees, M'Donalds, M 'Leans, and Campbells. 
After the forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles in 1493, 
the Isles, instead of following one leader, were divided 
among a number of chiefs who frequently opposed one 
another. In their quarrels over the ownership of certain 
parts of Islay, M'Lean of Duart and M'Donald of Islay 
were fighting for close on half a century, 1550-1600. 
Local traditions of raids and clan fights are often associated 
with this period. 

The battle of Traigh Ghruineart in the north of Islay, 
in 1598, brought the long tribal warfare between the M 'Leans 
and M'Donalds to a close. Before the fight began, Dubh- 
sith Beag, a native of Jura, asked Lachlan Mor, chief of the 
M'Leans, for "a day's work." Owing to his diminutive size, 
M'Lean refused to take him into his ranks. Nothing daunted, 
Dubh-sith went to the opposite party. M'Donald gave him 
"a man's place." "I will see to Lachlan Mor; you dispose 
of the rest," exclaimed the dwarf, who forthwith betook 
himself to the shelter of some neighbouring scrub. In the 
heat of the fight, Lachlan Mor bent down to arrange his 
armour. Dubh-sith, who was an expert bowman, seeing part 
of M'Lean's person unprotected by his coat of mail while he 
was in this position, shot him with an arrow. Besides their 
chief, nearly 300 of the M'Leans fell on that day. The 
M'Donalds' loss was not so great, but their chief, Sir James 
M'Donald, Lachlan Mor's nephew, was wounded. 

The person whose doings during this stormy period most 



10 COLONSAY 

vividly impressed the imagination of succeeding generations 
of islanders was Colla Ciotach (Mac Gilleasbuig) M'Donald. 
Although we do not know the date of his arrival in Colonsay, 
he was long connected with the island. According to local 
tradition, he came from Ireland. The date of his birth was 
about 1570. His grandfather, Coll, was brother to James 
M 'Donald of Dun Naomhaig, and of the Glens in Ireland, 
the first Earl of Antrim being a cousin. It is said that 
Coll was twice married, and local tradition hands down an 
incident in connection with the burial of one of his wives. 
M'Donald of Keppoch had been married to a woman much 
younger than himself. For a slighting retort which she 
made when he was in a playful mood, " Se sin miolaran an 
t-seana choin ris a chuilein," he sent her away, and she after- 
wards lived with Coll in Colonsay as his wife. M'Donald, 
later on, found his way to the island. Coll, on hearing of his 
arrival, went to apprise his wife, who had been but recently 
confined. Wishing to find out if she still had any regard 
for her former husband, he told her that M'Donald had been 
drowned off the Point of Ardnamurchan. On hearing this, 
she turned away her face and expired. A dispute subse- 
quently arose between Coll and Keppoch as to where the 
body should be taken for burial, Kilchattan or Oransay; 
and to settle the matter they resorted to a duel of spears 
at the western entrance of the mansion-house, afterwards 
known as Bealach an t-Sleagh (Gateway of the Spear). 

Two of Coll Ciotach's sons, Alastair and Angus, are referred 
to in local tradition ; but not the third, Gilleasbuig. Alastair, 
Montrose's celebrated general, was born in the Abbey barn 
(Sabhall Ban), Kiloran, used as the family residence after the 
old Abbey had fallen into a dilapidated condition. It was 
an indication of the warlike career before him, that the 
swords jumped out of their scabbards and the muskets fired 
of their own accord on the night of his birth. His nurse, 
who possessed second sight, predicted that the child would 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 11 

become a great warrior, valiant and famous, and that victory 
would be his until the day that he planted his banner upon 
Gocaru-go. As possessing the mightiest arm in Ireland 
"a dh' aindeoin c6 theireadh e," he, in 1644, was chosen 
leader of the Earl of Antrim's troops in support of Charles I. 
Alastair's successes with Montrose are a matter of history. 
One fine summer morning, while on the march through 
Argyll's country to chastise the Campbells, he halted for 
the morning meal. He asked the name of the green knoll 
over which his banner had been raised. " Gocam-g6 " was 
the reply. Alastair remembered his nurse's warning, and the 
heart of the warrior who never yet turned his face from the 
foe (nor even scrupled to cut the head off an old friend if he 
happened to oppose his party) now became that of a child. 
After planting garrisons in Dunaverty and Dun Naomhaig, 
Alastair crossed over to Ireland, where soon afterwards he 
fell in battle. 

Coll Ciotach took a leading part with Sir James M'Donald 
against the Campbells in 1615. He afterwards returned, 
unmolested, to Colonsay. "While M'Phee occupied his 
stronghold of Dun Eibhinn, Coll resided in Kiloran. A 
feud for supremacy was carried on between these two hardy 
chiefs for the next six or seven years, until the murder of 
M'Phee. For many years after this event, Coll, with his 
family, lived on the island, and there is nothing in tradition 
to show that he was disliked by the people. The Campbells 
came down in force in 1639, and carried off everything that 
they could lay hands upon. From this date Coil's connection 
with the island became severed. He, along with his sons 
Gilleasbuig and Angus, is said to have supported Alastair at 
Inverlochy. He was afterwards treacherously entrapped by 
General Leslie outside the castle of Dun Naomhaig, and con- 
fined in Dunstaffnage. The old man was hung from his 
own galley mast over a rocky gully behind the castle. 

After Coll Ciotach had been cleared out in 1639, Colonsay 



12 COLONSAY 

apparently became a possession of the Campbells. In 1700 
the island was sold by the Earl of Argyll to Donald M'Neill, 
the latter's estate of Crerar in South Knapdale being part of 
the purchase price. For the next 200 years Colonsay and 
Oransay remained in the possession of the M'Neills, many 
of whom, during that period, attained to distinction both in 
military and civil life. At the death of Major-General Sir 
John M'Neill, V.C., K.C.M.G., in 1904, the estate passed, 
by purchase, into the hands of the present proprietor, Lord 
Strathcona and Mount Royal, G.C.M.G., High Commissioner 
for Canada. 

Most of the M'Neills now in Colonsay are descended from 
a person who, at an early date, migrated from the island of 
Barra. He, with his family and chattels, crossed the sea in 
an open boat. During the voyage his wife gave birth to a 
child, and to protect the mother and infant from the weather 
M'Neill slaughtered a cow and placed them in the warm 
carcase. The woman, a M'Phee, subsequently nursed one 
of the M'Phees of Colonsay, and by the turn of events we 
may assume that this was primarily the object of the migra- 
tion. The child that was born in the boat was afterwards 
known as Iain a' Chuain (John of the Ocean), a designation 
that continued to be applied to succeeding generations of his 
descendants. M'Phee gave M'Neill a house at Baile Mhaide, 
some distance from the family residence. When M'Phee's 
cock happened to crow it was answered, after the manner of 
cocks, by M'Neill's. This assumption of independence, even 
by a fowl, so near her dwelling annoyed M'Phee's wife. 
To save further friction, the laird offered M'Neill his choice 
of any other place in the island as a site for a new habitation. 
M'Neill selected the place now known as Aird-an-Duin, in 
Machrins, and there built his house, which continued to be 
occupied by many generations of his descendants. The 
badge of the M'Neills, white dryas (Machall Monaidh), does 
not grow in Colonsay, but it is found in some of the more 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 13 

mountainous northern islands. The local badge is Channelled 
Wrack (Feamainn Chireagach). 

Although the monastery at Oransay is believed to have 
been founded originally by St Columba, the present build- 
ings date from a much later period. St Columba's buildings 
were of clay and wattle, but even had they been constructed 
of more lasting material, it is certain that they would have 
been destroyed in the ninth and tenth centuries by the 
Vikings and the Danes. These hardy sea-rovers made 
their first descent on lona in 795, and for the next 200 
years our shores were subject to their invasions, often 
sudden and disastrous. The good John of Isla, Lord of the 
Isles, is credited with the foundation, about 1350, of the 
present priory at Oransay. It belonged to the Augustine 
order, and canons were brought from Holyrood. 

While the Lords of the Isles were in power, Oransay, it 
may be assumed, was the centre of a nourishing community. 
Foundations have been traced which extended over a much 
larger area than the buildings now occupy. Along both 
sides of the road leading from the priory to the strand the 
ruins of a number of circular enclosures, each about 18 feet 
in diameter, are to be seen. Others were probably cleared 
away when the road was made. Those still existing are 
situated well within view of the church, and it is supposed 
that these structures had been used for stacking the seed- 
grain of persons living in Colonsay, who carried it across 
the strand for the blessing of the Church, and also for the 
more practical reason of having it preserved until seedtime 
from the depredations of freebooters. Oransay having the 
right of sanctuary was, so far, free from such visits. 

A number of sculptured stones, some exhibiting very fine 
workmanship, are now arranged along one side of the chapel 
at Oransay. Formerly they lay on the floor, over the graves 
of persons of note, but for preservation they were removed 
to their present positions. One of the stones, on which is 



14 COLONSAY 

carved in relief the figure of a knight in armour, is supposed 
to have been to the memory of Sir Alexander M'Donald of 
Loch Alsh, who was murdered in the prior's house in 1498 by 
M'lan of Ardnamurchan. The cloisters, which were described 
by Pennant, have been partially restored. Of the many 
crosses which once adorned the precincts of the priory, one 
fine specimen is still standing. Hewn from a single stone, 
it is fully 1 2 feet in height, and elaborately carved. It is 
believed to have been erected to the memory of Colin, a 
prior who died in 1510. Another cross (M'Duffie's Cross) 
had been fixed in a cairn of stones on the way to the landing- 
place. It is said that the bodies of the heads of the M'Duffie 
family were rested for some moments on this cross as they were 
taken to the chapel for burial. 

The lodhlann-mhor (large corn-yard) is a green, flat-topped 
mound to the south of the priory. From excavations made, 
it is believed that this was a circular enclosure formerly 
used for stacking grain, and that the shifting sand gradually 
filled it up and gave it its present striking outline. In the 
course of excavations carried on in various parts of Oransay, 
finds of antiquarian interest were obtained. Various 
ornamental articles bronze brooches and ring, beads, etc. 
were found in a grave at Carnan-a-Bharraich (Barra-man's 
Cairn). The remains of animals, shellfish, etc., found in 
an ancient kitchen-midden at Caisteal-nan-Gillean, and 
enumerated by Mr Symington Grieve in his treatise on the 
Great Auk (pp. 54, 55), indicate what the bill of fare of our 
ancestors at different periods consisted of. Bones of the Eed 
Deer (Fiadh), Wild Boar (Fiadh Thorc ; Cullach), Marten 
(Taghan), Eat, Seal, and Otter 1 (Beist-Dubh; Dobhran), 

1 The Otter, at one time common, but absent from the island for 
close on half a century, has recently been seen in the vicinity of its 
old haunts at Port-na-Cuilce. Places in various parts of the island 
Rubha-an-Dobhrain, Glaic an Taghain, Dunan-a-Chullaich, etc. 
are named after animals some of which have become extinct. 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 15 

and those of various kinds of birds (including the Great Auk, 
an extinct species) and fishes, Avere identified. The Kabbit, 
though now plentiful in the island, is not indigenous, 
and is consequently not included as such in Mr Grieve's 
list. It is said that rabbits were first introduced from 
Barra in the eighteenth century, and that holes were dug 
for them in the sand-hills at Baile-Mhaide. The shellfish 
mentioned by Mr Grieve include the Oyster. Limpet- 
hammers, barbed bone spear-heads, lap-stones, and other 
articles were also found during excavations. Other shell 
deposits are to be seen at Cnoc Sligeach, Cnoc Riabhach, 
etc. Two places of interest not previously referred to in 
connection with Oransay are Cill-a-Mhoire, the site of an 
old chapel, and Dun Domhnuill, a conspicuously situated 
hill-fort with the ruins of rather extensive fortifications 
on the top. 

Surrounding Oransay are a number of smaller islets and 
exposed reefs, congenial homes of the Cormorant (Sgarbh), 
the Eider Duck (Lacha Mhor), and many other sea-birds. 
In the winter time the scene is enlivened by the arrival of 
flocks of the Barnacle Goose (Cathan), Grey Lag Goose 
(Geadh Glas), Pintail Duck (Piobaire), and other visitors 
which are driven south from Northern Europe by the severity 
of winter. Seals of two kinds are numerous ; the large Grey 
Seal (Tabeist) preferring the solitude of the outer reefs, 
while the Common Seal (Ron) is more frequently seen in the 
bays and channels nearer shore. Lying high and dry, 
beyond the reach of the tide, the young of the Grey 
Seal are to be seen on the rocky islets in late autumn. 
They are generally creamy white in colour, solitary, and 
lying motionless on the rocks, but showing signs of 
anger when approached. Helpless little creatures, too fat 
and buoyant for diving, they put their heads, in fancied 
security, under the water in times of danger. While 
they are still young their mothers are said to shift their 



16 COLONSAY 

position at every spring tide. The Common Seal has its 
young in spring and early summer. 

Approached by steamer from the east it has been said that 
"Colonsay has a barren, uninviting appearance, the shores 
being rocky and often precipitous, and the prospect inland 
being closed by bare, rugged hills. But the interior is 
extremely fertile, showing wide stretches of pasture-land 
and good agricultural farms." l The harbour is in the eastern 
outlet of the more southern and lesser of two valleys 
containing the bulk of the arable land, which cross the island 
from side to side. In a prominent position on Cnoc-ua- 
Faire, overlooking the harbour, stands a granite obelisk 
erected by the inhabitants to the memory of Lord Colonsay, 
a former proprietor of the island and a well-known lawyer 
of the Victorian era. He was Lord Justice General of 
Scotland from 1851 to 1873, when he was created Baron 
and made first Lord of Appeal from Scotland. Westward 
from the harbour lie the farms of Scalasaig and Machrins ; 
the latter extending to the western shore, and including 
within its borders a well-situated golf-course. The mansion- 
house, policies, and home-farm, and the crofting district 
of Kilchattan occupy the greater portion of the northern 
valley. In depressions among the hills in the north- 
east and south of the island are other farms and crofting 
townships. 

A survey from a few points of vantage will discover that 
the two valleys just referred to are closed in by three main 
tracts of hills : one in the north, one in the centre, and another 
in the south. The arable land is thus sheltered from cold 
northerly winds, an important consideration from an agri- 

1 " Notes on the Geology of Colonsay and Oronsay," by James Geikie, 
LL.D., F.R.S., F.R.S.E., etc., of H.M. Geological Survey (Trans- 
actions of the Geological Society of Glasgow, vol. vi. partii., 1878-79, 
1879-80). 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 17 

cultural point of view. The hills decrease in elevation from 
north to south. They usually present their escarpments or 
steep faces to the north, falling with a gentler depression in 
the opposite direction. This formation is best seen north of 
Kilchattan and Kiloran, where the hills rise in perpendicular 
precipices from the sea, and gradually, though somewhat 
irregularly, slope southwards to Loch Fada. They rise again 
more or less abruptly from Loch Fada, falling with an 
easier gradient in the direction of Scalasaig and Machrins. 
These alternating ridges and valleys which cross the island 
from side to side are, to the popular mind, suggestive of a 
series of violent subterranean upheavals rather than the 
slower work of denudation. 

Concurrently with an irregularity that appears in the rock 
structure in the north-east of the island, a series of ridges 
from Carnan Eoin to Beinn-na-Fitheach runs north and 
south at right angles to the main tracts of hills, effectively 
closing in the eastern gap of the main valley and sheltering 
Kiloran from withering easterly winds. Owing to the 
general conformation of the hills, cattle for the rearing of 
which the island has long been famous are able to find 
shelter from every wind that blows. 

The largest sheets of fresh water are Lochs Fada and 
Sgoltaire ; the former situated near the centre of the island, 
and the latter in the northern end. Marshy and reed-over- 
grown areas along their margins provide seclusion for 
water-fowl such as the Mallard or Wild Duck (Lacha 
Riabhach), Coot (Bolachdan), and Teal (Crann Lach). Winter 
visitors include the Widgeon (Lochlannach) and very 
occasional flocks of the Wild Swan (Eala Fhiadhaich). 
Numbers of Snipe (Gudabochd), and less commonly the 
Jack Snipe, inhabit the marshes. The Lapwing (Sadharcan) 
breeds plentifully in the peat-bogs on the north side of 
Loch Fada; and the Meadow Pipit or Titlark (Reabhag), 
in whose nest the egg of the Cuckoo (Cuthag) has been 

2 



18 COLONSAY 

found, the Skylark (Uiseag), and the Land Rail or Corn 
Crake (Tarritrean) in the adjacent meadows. The idea 
that the Corn Crake passes the coldest of the months in 
holes in dry banks still survives. In winter the whistle 
of the Golden Plover (Feadag) is heard in the surrounding 
fields and commons. 

On the north-western side of the island the hills overhang 
the sea for some 3 miles, from Kiloran Bay to the Inbhear 
in Kilchattan, in rugged, precipitous cliffs, rising here and 
there in terraces, one above another, and interrupted at 
intervals by chaotic accumulations of broken rocks, and by 
deep and gloomy aoineadh's and slochd's. Most of this coast 
is rock-bound, and inaccessible from the sea to all except the 
daring and skilful lobster-fisher, who, to be successful in the 
pursuit of his precarious calling, must know every treacherous 
reef and every creek along the dangerous shore. North- 
west of Kiloran Bay there are good examples of raised 
beaches, platform-like in formation, and now forming the 
arable land of the little crofts of Port-an-Tigh-mh6ir. 
Judging from the antiquarian remains, this now secluded 
part of the island had, in former times, been a settlement 
of some importance. Ruins of fortifications and buildings 
curiously circular in outline are to be seen on the headland 
of Cailleach Uragaig and at Dun Tealtaig. Cill-a-Rubha 
is the site of an old church and graveyard. A corn-mill 
or muileann-dubh, driven by the overflow water from 
Loch Sgoltaire, is said to have been at one time situated 
below Bealach-a-Mhuilinn. The only indication now re- 
maining of the existence of this structure is a fragment of 
a small millstone. 

Westward, past Aoineadh-nam-Ba and the high precipice 
of Geodha-gorm, is Aoineadh-nam-Muc, said in former times 
to have been assigned by crofters as summer quarters for 
their pigs to prevent them from roaming at large and damag- 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 19 

ing the crops. Lamaluin (Lambs' Holm), with its beautifully 
green verdured headland, its shingly beaches, and Piper's 
Cave, is a little farther on. Dreis-nic-Ceothain is named 
after a young woman who had the hardihood to walk across 
that dangerous ledge. In the cliffs around Aoineadh-nam- 
Muc, Lamalum, and other parts, great numbers of sea- 
fowl Gulls of various kinds (Sgaireag = Kittiwake?, mostly) 
Cormorants, Guillemots (Eun Dubh a Sgadain), Razor- 
bills, etc. lay their eggs on the ledges. When they are 
disturbed from their nests the shrill cries from thousands 
of throats, the howling of the wind over the edges of 
the cliffs, and the dashing of the waves beneath, create 
a discordance not readily forgotten. Binnean Eiabhach, 
the highest sheer cliff (about 350 feet) in the island, is 
annually taken possession of by the Peregrine (Seobhag) 
for rearing its young ; and as each spring comes round a 
pair of Eavens (Fitheach), in choosing a site for their 
nest, make a leisurely survey of the most inaccessible spots 
in the neighbourhood. 

The sombre aspect of these northerly exposed and usually 
sunless cliffs is relieved from early summer onwards by an 
abundance of wild-flowers and ferns, which find root-space 
in the many interstices and on ledges in these broken and 
fast disintegrating rocks. Colonies of yellow-flowered Rose- 
root, glaucous green-foliaged Campion, rosy-coloured Thrift, 
daisy-like Matricary, together with the greenery of the Sea 
Spleenwort and many other plants and ferns, make a com- 
bination of pleasing colours that favourably contrasts with 
their rugged surroundings. Here also the Scottish Lovage 
and the rarer Spergularia rupestris are safe from the maraud- 
ing hands of the collector. Many other plants not usually 
characterised as sea-rock plants, and apparently happy in 
their novel surroundings on ledges and in crevices, lend a 
charm to the scene with their flowers of various hues. 
Among those noted were Bird's- foot Trefoil, Blue Scabious, 



20 COLONSAY 

Honeysuckle, Stonecrop, Bramble, Lady Fern, Soft Meadow, 
Cock's-foot, and other grasses. 

Kiloran Bay, with its much-admired stretch of yellow 
sand about a mile in width, is formed by a deep indenta- 
tion in the northern coast-line. This neighbourhood, apart 
from its own peculiar attractions, is interesting botanically. 
A bed of sandy limestone, which, judging by the ruins of 
an old kiln near Craobh-na-Sgeachag, had at one time 
been burned by the inhabitants for making lime, accounts 
for the presence of certain calcicole or lime-loving plants. 
Hartstongue Fern is common in the gullies below Uragaig. 
Plants more or less confined to the neighbourhood are the 
curious little Moonwort Fern, Knotted Figwort, Sea Holly, 
and the Red Broomrape, which is parasitic on the roots of 
the Wild Thyme. 

Natural sea-caves, haunts of the Rock Dove (Caiman 
Creige) and other birds, penetrate into the rocks on both 
sides of Kiloran Bay for considerable distances. A number 
of fugitives are said to have been formerly suffocated by 
their enemies in the New Cave below Uragaig. Heaps of 
broken rocks and debris partly block the mouth of the cave. 
Inside there are a well and a smooth stone : the stone is 
said to have been used in former times by frequenters for 
sharpening their swords. 

Slochd-dubh-Mhic-a-Phi is a natural tunnel in the rocks 
north of the New Cave, and the following traditional story in 
connection with it has been handed down for generations. 
A clansman of the Laird of Lochbuie who visited Colonsay 
was gleaning after the reapers in the Glen of Ardskenish ; 
and Macphee, the chief of the island, who was under a geas 
or taboo not to let pass a sword-stroke, coming round to see 
the shearers, when passing the Mull man cut off his hand. 
On finding this out, the M 'Leans came over to avenge the 
deed. When he heard of their arrival, Macphee, accom- 
panied by his servant and his famous black dog, left his 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 21 

residence at Kiloran and escaped to the hills. As they were 
retiring over Beinn-a-Sgoltaire they heard the wails of 
Macphee's wife herself a daughter of Lochbuie who was 
being maltreated by the M'Leans because she would not tell 
them where her husband was hiding. Macphee exclaimed to 
his servant : " Good were your promises to her the day she 
gave you these trews," pointing to those that his servant 
had on, "that you would see no harm come to her." 
" Unlucky is the time that you remind me of it," answered 
his henchman ; " if I and the black dog were with you we 
would defy them; but I will now return, and I shall be 
slain, and you shall be caught also." Macphee, retiring to 
the cave in question, which is open at both ends, set his 
black dog at the one end while he took his stand at the 
other, and both so well defended their respective posts that 
it was only by opening a hole through the roof that the 
M'Leans were able to get at them. This cave ever since 
has been called Slochd-dubh-Mhic-a-Phi. 

Bogha-Mhic-a-Bhastair a rocky islet, almost submerged 
at high tide, on the western side of Kiloran Bay is said 
to have been named after one of Macphee's servants, who 
landed on it to abstract an arrow with which he had been 
pierced by his enemies while endeavouring to escape from 
them by swimming across the bay. He pulled the arrow 
out of his body, and swam over to Port Easdail; thence 
walked to Port Olmsa, where he got a boat with which he 
crossed the channel to Jura, and so escaped. 

Place-names l and fragments of legendary lore would in- 
dicate that in former times raiding parties, who, judging by 
the sequel in some cases, did not always fare well at the 
hands of the inhabitants, sometimes landed at Kiloran Bay. 

1 It has been asserted that the places in Balanahard had formerly 
been so well named in detail that the people without difficulty could 
apportion the land out as they sat on Cnoc-a-Chreagain "yes, even to 
the breadth of a ' caibe ' handle. " 



22 COLONSAY 

Lag-na-Birlinn, a slight depression on the west side of the 
blown sands, derived its name from an incident which ended 
with the burning of M 'Lean's birlinn or barge. The boat 
must have been dragged through the dunes for about a 
quarter of a mile before it was set fire to. Rusty boat-rivets 
were found in the surface sands for many a long day after. 
Baile-Mhaide, some distance inland, is the reputed scene of 
an old-time conflict ; and here again the odds seem to have 
gone against the incomers, for their chief is said to have 
preferred voluntary death by drowning at Rudha-Buidhe- 
Mhic-Iomhair, on the east side of Balanahard, some 2 miles 
distant, rather than fall into the hands of his bloodthirsty 
pursuers. A well-preserved tomb of a Viking chief, with the 
skeletons of a man and horse, the metal parts of the horse's 
accoutrements, sword, balance, and other interesting relics 
now on view in the Royal Scottish Museum, were unearthed 
some years ago at Lag-na-Birlinn in the blown sands. The 
weights of the balance, which are of unknown value, are 
chased on one side, and are enamelled. 

Balanahard comprises the north-eastern extremity of the 
island. Its northern shore-line is broken and precipitous. 
Off Meall-a-Chuilbh the sea, even in calm weather, is 
invariably agitated by the strong currents of the Gulf of 
Corryvreckan ; steamers here encountering more violent seas 
than those met off the dreaded Mull of Kintyre. In the 
cliffs around, the Scottish Lovage and the Rose-root grow in 
profusion. High up in the precipices of Slochd-a-Chroinn 
the Scurvy Grass is seen in great luxuriance, forming dense 
green masses. The Erect Bugle, a plant not previously re- 
corded for this or neighbouring islands, was discovered on 
the syenite above Slochd-a-Chroinn. 

Within living memory stone crosses, stone models of the 
human parts, and other relics of the past were to be seen at 
the ancient burying-ground of Gill Chatriona. At Cnoc 
Mhic 'Ille Mhinniche, near by, the crofters formerly followed 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 23 

a superstitious custom of pouring out, for good luck, an offer- 
ing of new milk when the cows were turned out to the fold 
on May Day. It was believed that if the practice was 
neglected by anyone, some evil would befall the delinquent's 
best cow. On one occasion, so it is related, an old woman 
who had accidentally spilt all her milk, gave an offering of 
whey instead. Appreciating the spirit, the dwellers under- 
neath struck up on the pipes the tune 

Fhuair mi deoch mhig o'n mhnaoi laghaich 
Banarach nam bo, nach d'61 an cobhar. 

Dun Loisgte, Dun Meadhonach, and Dun Crom, are close 
together on the north side of the farm ; Dun Leathann 
and Cnoc-na-Faire, 1 where the people in olden times used to 
watch for the approach of their enemies, lying to the south- 
east. The Cowrie Beach and Uinneag lorcuil, a natural, 
window-like opening in one of the rocks, seen best from the 
sea, are in the extreme north-east. St Columba's, or the 
Wishing Well, is popularly credited with certain wish- 
fulfilling potentialities. Part of the ceremony is to leave 
a gift for the saint. A miscellaneous collection of articles 
is usually to be seen on the slabs which cover the well. 

Bird life is varied and abundant among the rugged hills 
and secluded shores of Balanahard and the east of the island. 
The Carrion Crow (Feannag Dhubh), Grey or Hooded Crow 
(Feannag Ghlas), Buzzard (Croman), and Kestrel (Speireag 
Ghlas) here have their haunts. Among the broken rocks 
underneath the cliffs the Black Guillemot (Calag) has its 
nest, and Mergansers (Sioltach) feed in pairs in the bays, 
building their nests in the heather in rocky places. The 
Jackdaw (Feannag Bheag), one of the farmer's pests, and 

1 There are at least two other hills (watch-hills) bearing the same 
name, one at Dun Ghaillionn and another at Scalasaig. Their situation 
in the northern end of the island indicates the direction from which 
the approach of their enemies was looked for by the natives. 



24 COLONSAY 

the Starling (Druideag) inhabit clefts and fissures underneath 
Carnan Eoin. Woodcock (Coilleach Coille) nest among 
the withered bracken in the natural woods, from which also 
issues the prolonged jarring note of the Nightjar (Cuidheal- 
Mhor). Its nest, with two nestlings, has been found in the 
heather. To dry, stony, and louely situations the Wheat- 
ear (Clachran) and the Stonechat are partial. In strange 
contrast with its wild surroundings, the little Rock Pipit 
appears flitting and chirping from rock to rock on the stormy 
shore. 

Kiloran, with its pretty policies and plantations of forest 
trees, offers a pleasing contrast to the characteristic bareness 
of the surrounding landscape. " The luxuriance of the trees 
in the neighbourhood of Colonsay House astonishes the 
stranger, who, while wandering in their glades, might easily 
fancy himself in some well-wooded part of the Lowlands. 
Here we find growing vigorously in the open air, all the 
year round, several plants which on the mainland could not 
survive the winter." l The garden and grounds, which were 
laid out in a naturally well-sheltered situation, are now 
further protected by belts of forest trees. Plants, flowers, 
fruit, and vegetables usually seen in gardens on the main- 
land arrive here at a tolerable state of perfection. 

The site of the present mansion-house adjoins that of an 
old abbey and churchyard. According to the Old Statistical 
Account, there was a monastery of Cistercians in the island, 
their abbey being in Kiloran and their priory in Oransay. 
At the beginning of last century the ruined walls of the old 
church, which stood on what is now a grassy slope south- 
east of the house, were removed to allow of the extension of 
the pleasure-grounds in that direction. In 1695 it is 
recorded by Martin that the "principal church" stood in 
the village of Kiloran. As early as 1549 Monro writes 

1 Professor Geikie, in his Notes on the Geology of Colonsay and 
Oransay. 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 25 

that the island "hath ane parish kirke." Oran's Well, with 
its unfailing spring of clear, cool (though possibly now 
contaminated) water, is situated to the north-east of the 
spot where the church stood. The abbey barn was utilised 
for a time as mansion-house, retaining its designation of 
"An Sabhall Ban." It stood on the ground where the 
kitchen-garden is now laid out ; and here, according to 
tradition, Montrose's famous general, Alastair Mac Colla 
(Alexander MacDonald), son of Colla Ciotach (Kolkitto), was 
born. Some stones at the base of an old elm are said to 
have formed part of Coil's drying-kiln. 

Among the ferns Lady Fern, Male Fern, Broad Buckler 
Fern, and others luxuriating in the woods around Kiloran, 
a few plants of the Soft Prickly Shield Fern, a rare 
plant in the West of Scotland, were found. Gooseberries, 
Raspberries, Currants, etc., carried from gardens, principally 
by the Blackbird, are springing up everywhere. Besides 
providing conditions suitable for the growth of particular 
plants, those sheltered woods are the homes of numerous 
birds that love a sylvan retreat. In spring and early 
summer the Song Thrush (Smeorach), Mistle Thrush (An 
t-Eun Glas), Blackbird (Lon Dubh), Wren (Dre611an), Red- 
breast (Brudeargan), Titmouse (Cailleach a' Chinn Duibh), 
and Chaffinch (Breac an t-Sll) contribute to the chorus of 
song. The Dipper (Gobha Dubh nan Allt), Water Rail 
(Dre611an Dorann), and Water Hen (Cearc Uisge) frequent 
the burn and its vicinity. In the trees the Ring Dove 
(Caiman Coille) often has its nest; the Sparrow Hawk 
(Speireag Ruadh) and Owl (Cailleach Oidhche) less fre- 
quently. Sparrows (Gealbhonn), which almost completely 
disappeared, years ago, from the island, have again become 
numerous and destructive to growing seeds an occupation 
that is being shared within recent years by the Greenfinch. 
Small colonies of the Rook (Rocais) attempted, unsuccess- 
fully, on several occasions to settle in the trees in the park. 



26 COLONSAY 

Other birds common in the vicinity and other parts of the 
island are the Wagtail (Bigein an t-Sneachd), Hedge 
Accentor, and Yellow Bunting (Buidheag a' Chinn Oir). 
Less common species include the Bullfinch (Buidhean na 
Coille), Goldcrest, Tree Creeper, and Warblers. 

Several other places in the neighbourhood of Kiloran are, 
on account of the traditions associated with them, worthy of 
passing notice. Dunan-nan-Nighean is on a low, somewhat 
isolated hillock to the south-east of Kiloran Bay. The 
entrance to the structure is in a more or less complete state, 
and still lintelled. The children of one of the chiefs of the 
M'Phees are said all to have been born here ; their mother 
removing hither from the family seat at Kiloran before the 
advent of each addition to the family. It is related that a 
number of daughters were born ; and there was a belief that 
if seven daughters were born in succession the seventh 
would be in possession of the second sight. Another version 
is, that in the event of a son being born in the Dun, he 
would be more fortunate than any of his race. 

South of Kiloran, near the place where the road crosses 
between the eastern and middle portions of Loch Fada, a 
fight is alleged to have taken place between natives and 
Mull men, known since as Blar-an-Deabhaidh. 1 While the 
battle was in progress Calum Gaol Mac Mhuirich (slender 
Malcolm M'Vurich), who lay ill of a fever in his house at 
lodhlann Chorrach on the opposite side of the loch, had his 
servant on sentry outside keeping him informed of how it 
fared with the combatants. At last, getting excited, he im- 
patiently donned his kilt, grasped his sword, and hurried 
across to join in the fray. He killed the first of the foe that 
he met ; and to instil a young native, whom he found hiding 

1 To assist in repelling the invaders, nineteen unbearded youths 
of the Bells (Cloinn Mhic 'Ille Mhaoil) alone, descended Bealach na 
h-airde from Balanahard. Though at one time common, there is none 
now bearing the name in the island. 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 27 

in a furze bush, with courage, he caught some of the gushing 
blood in the hollow of his hand and made the youth drink 
it. He then gave him a sword, and, inspired by Malcolm's 
example, the young man fought bravely until the invaders 
were vanquished. When the fight was finished, a friend, 
meeting Malcolm, remarked, " I thought you were ill with a 
fever." " Oh yes," he replied ; " but I got relief." Return- 
ing homewards from Corra Dhunan, Malcolm noticed a 
reflection on the face of a rock some distance to the north 
of the middle loch, and on arriving at the spot found, to 
his surprise, eight of the foe lying fast asleep. Taking 
advantage of their helpless state, he killed them one after 
the other. He then collected their swords, which stood 
against a rock and caused the reflection which had first 
attracted his attention, and took his departure. This spot 
has ever since been known as Glaic-a-Mhoirt (Murder 
Hollow). Another version states that this incident took 
place on the following morning. 

Ruins of hill-forts are not so common about Kiloran as 
in other parts of the island ; and the remains of the few 
that are to be seen, such as Dunan-a-Chullaich, above the 
mill, and Dun Ghaillionn, half-way between Kiloran and 
Riskbuie, are in positions that are by no means unassailable. 
Another isolated knoll with traces of buildings on it, but 
now bearing no local name, situated to the south-west of 
Kiloran Bay, near Ceann-da-leana, is better adapted for 
purposes of defence. Dunan Easdail is a small headland on 
the east side of Kiloran Bay. 

Parts of the walls of the old church from which the town- 
ship of Kilchattan has derived its name are still standing, 
surrounded by the gravestones of the burying-ground, the 
only one that is now used in the island. The ruins of Cill- 
a-Mhoire, another of the old chapels, are to be seen east of 
the Baptist church. Two standing-stones by some associ- 
ated with Druidical times respectively 8 and 10 feet above 



28 COLONSAY 

the ground, and noticed by Pennant on his tour through the 
island in 1769, are conspicuously seen oil the rising-ground 
between Loch Fada and Port Mor. Stone cists or coffins 
have been discovered in the cultivated ground near by. Dun 
Meadhonach, an isolated knoll to the south, formed the site 
of an easily defended fort. 

The neighbourhood of Port Mor is botanically one of the 
most interesting in the island. The Wild Beet growing on 
the sea-rocks, Celery-leaved Ranunculus on the sandy shore, 
Parsley Dropwort at the edge of the brackish shore pools, 
and the tiny Lesser Duckweed floating on the surface 
of still waters, are among the local rarities not noticed 
elsewhere. In the little gullies of the rocky northern 
shore, amidst accumulations of shelly sand and decom- 
posing seaweed, the glossy waving Sea Club-rush, the stout 
Foxsedge, and the slender Juncus Gerardi grow in great 
luxuriance. 

While the country's trade overseas was still being carried 
on by sailing vessels, without lighthouses of which four are 
now to be seen from Colonsay to warn them of the prox- 
imity of dangerous rocks, hardly a winter passed without one 
or more wrecks taking place on some part of the island. 
The circumstances attending these losses are yet vividly re- 
counted with more or less detail. Persons are living who 
witnessed the wreck of the barque Clydesdale on Eilean- 
nam-Ban at Port Mor during a storm in December 1848. 
Bound for Glasgow from Charleston in South Carolina with a 
cargo of cotton, the ship had been driven back, with sails torn, 
from the Mull of Kintyre by contrary south-easterly winds, 
which, veering westward, finally drove her on to the rocks. 
Though built a short time previously on the Clyde, of the 
toughest oak, the ill-fated vessel, under the pressure of the 
huge seas that dashed over her, soon broke in two. Twelve 
of the crew were rescued in fishing-boats by th6 natives, and 
others were saved by clinging to the stern portion of the 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 29 

vessel, but of the crew of twenty-three six men were 
drowned. 

Machrins, to the casual tourist, is perhaps the best-known 
locality in the island, for lying along the shore between 
Maol Chlibhe and Druim Sligeach is that stretch of undulat- 
ing machair land that holds such a fascination for the golfer, 
Machrins golf-links. Here, while he enjoys his game, the 
player may view a combination, on a small scale, of sea- 
coast scenery of bluff headland and receding sandy bay that 
is difficult to beat. Stretching out to sea and rising abruptly 
from the Atlantic, Dun Ghallain named after Gallan, who 
was reputed to be a son of the King of Lochlann formed 
an easily defended site for the fort that once crowned its 
summit. Flanked on either side by pretty sandy beaches 
Traigh an Tobair Fhuair on the north and Port Lobh on 
the south this headland was well adapted for defensive 
purposes. 

From the ruins of the old fort at the top an extended 
view is obtained of the rock-bound coast from Kilchattan 
south beyond Ardskenish. Huge green seas rise over sunken 
rocks far out from shore, sometimes passing onwards with 
white and curling crests, sometimes breaking into surging 
masses of snowy foam. Bogha Samhach, one of the most 
treacherous of these sunken rocks, lies in the path of boats 
going north and south ; the seas giving warning of its pres- 
ence only by breaking occasionally and at unexpected 
moments. In the cliffs underneath the fort deep, gurgling 
caverns are grooved and worn by the ceaseless waves. 
Huge banks of rolled stones and gravel of every grade 
of fineness have been piled up by the Atlantic rollers 
at Rudha Aird-alanais and at Garbh Chladach. Inland, 
the golf-links and the arable land of Machrins form a 
pretty foreground of undulating sward backed in the 
distance by rugged and heath-clad hills; farther off, the 
outline of the misty hills of surrounding islands is seen. 



30 COLONSAY 

Of the four ruined chapels observed by Pennant on his 
ride from Oransay to Kiloran, Cill-a-Bhride, situated about a 
quarter of a mile east of Machrins farm-house, was doubtless 
one, presuming he came from Oransay by the Temple of the 
Glen, and on to Machrins through Bealach-an-t-Sithein. 
By this route the Temple of the Glen would be the first 
to be reached, Cill-a-Bhride the second, Kilchattan the 
third, and Kiloran the fourth. Had he chosen a more 
westerly course he would have passed Cill-a-Choinnich 
and Cill-a-Chiarain, thence going on to Kilchattan and 
Kiloran. 

A Tigh Searmonachaidh ("preaching-house") stood at 
a little distance from the south end of Machrins farm- 
house, and served as the parish church until the present 
one was built in 1802, the minister's residence being then 
-at Ardskenish. It was also called Tigh-na-Suidheachan 
from the fact that it was fitted with turf benches. The 
ruins have been long since removed to allow of the land 
in this part being cultivated. It was somewhere in this 
vicinity, too, that the earliest-known schools in the island 
iiad been situated ; and one of the old school door-lintels with 
a schoolmaster's name carved on it was afterwards used as 
.a corner-stone in the construction of a barn, now also falling 
into ruins. 

Near the old church there was a "branks" (brangas) 
for the punishment of church offenders, who were usually 
pilloried during church service. It had been fixed to a 
large standing-stone, a part of which yet remains. The last 
person to be exposed to public odium in this way (according 
to one version) was a woman ; and her brother, hearing of 
the occurrence, went out of church in indignation and re- 
leased his sister. He then broke off the " branks " and threw 
it into Lochan Moine Nic Coiseam, "where it remains to 
this day." 

"LathaCath na Sguab air taobh tuath Dhun Ghallain " 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 31 

was a well-remembered day in the annals of the locality, 
when a battle was fought on the sands of Traigh an Tobair 
Fhuair between natives and Norsemen, who, it is surmised, 
were attempting to land. The combatants on one side, 
probably the natives, appear to have been armed with 
sharpened sheaves of birch. That it turned out to be a 
deadly conflict for one side or the other, notwithstanding the 
primitive weapons in use, is proved by the number of human 
bones which have been exposed from time to time on the 
sands of the bay. There is a belief that if any one disturbs 
the bones by digging for lug-worms, the favourite bait in 
flounder-fishing, a storm will arise which will prevent the 
person from being able to use the bait thus obtained. It is 
a curious coincidence that the last time bait was dug here 
a storm came on which half-swamped the boat of those who 
set the lines. 

Of the old ruins of Cill-a-Chiarain on the north side of 
Port Lobh hardly a vestige now remains, the stones having 
been used in building one of the field walls in the neighbour- 
hood (garadh na h-airde). Dunan-ga'-Gaoth is at the head 
of Traigh an Tobair Fhuair. 

Following the old road southwards from Machrins through 
Druim Sligeach and down Bealach-na-Traghadh, passing the 
deep gullies of Turnigil on the right and the grey Carna 
Glasa on the left, we come in view of the bent-covered 
dunes, the sandy beaches, and skerry-lined shores of 
Ardskenish. Cut off from Garvard by the bay of Traigh- 
nam-Barc on the east, this promontory, projecting for several 
miles into the Atlantic, forms the south-western extremity 
of the island. Stretching seaward for miles are reefs and 
sunken rocks over which the sea, as far as the eye can reach, 
rises in stormy weather into foaming masses of roaring 
breakers an impressive sight of the power of the elements 
in an angry mood. 

To the lover of nature these solitudes provide much that 



32 COLONSAY 

is of interest. Seals bask lazily in the sunshine on the 
exposed reefs till the returning tide floats them off" again. 
On the calm waters of Traigh-nam-Barc groups of Eiders may 
be seen congregating some distance from the shore. As 
these handsome birds often have their nests near the centre 
of the island and on the verges of high precipices, it is 
surmised that they carry their young, one by one, to the 
sea soon after they are hatched. Standing in the shallow 
waters of the Glen burn at the head of the bay, among 
less conspicuous members of their kind, are a few of the 
Great Black-Backed Gull (Dubh-Fhaoileann-Mhor). Shel- 
drakes (Cra-gheadh), handsomer specimens than their more 
domesticated brothers of the ornamental pond, anticipating 
danger, are shifting uneasily about in the vicinity of the sand- 
banks, in the rabbit-holes in which they often have their nests. 
and lay a considerable number of eggs. Over mid-channel a 
pair of visiting Gannets (Amsan) are going through swift, 
lightning-like evolutions as they dive from a great height for 
the fish beneath. Nearer shore the elegant Tern (Steirneal) 
imitates on a lesser scale the performance of the Solan ; not 
diving, however, but merely picking some delicate morsel off 
the surface of the sea. Among the wrack-covered boulders at 
the water's edge a Wild Duck affects the utmost incapacity 
for rational movement, Avhich, as closer observation discovers, 
is only a device to draw away attention from a sadly reduced 
following of three ducklings, the remnant probably of a 
former lively brood of ten or twelve, a convincing proof of 
the rapacity of the voracious gulls. " Sandpipers " (Loirean 
Traghadh) move briskly in search of insects along the sands, 
and a pair of Oyster-Catchers (Bridein) manifest keen 
displeasure at the presence of the intruder by a steady 
volume of shrill and ear-piercing cries. Two dark-plumaged 
specimens of the Lesser Skua (Fasgadair) are flying over 
the promontory in search of fresh victims. They chase and 
frighten the sea-gulls to make them disgorge their half- 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 33 

digested food, on which they, the "Gull-Teasers," subsist. 
Farther out to sea the Great Northern Diver (Bunabhua- 
chaille) disappears, Avhen feeding, for several minutes at a 
time under the water. As we advance on our way along 
the shore an occasional Heron (Gorra-Ghriodhach), Curlew 
(Crotach), and wary Redshank (Coileach Traghadh) rise with 
startled cry from sequestered hollows. The Lesser Black- 
Backed Gull (Dubh-Fhaoileann), Herring Gull (Faoileann 
Mhor), Black-Headed Gull (Aspag 1 ?), Common Gull (Faoileann 
Bheag), etc., are wheeling, with measured beat, along the 
shore, while various kinds of divers fish in the outer 
channels. Cormorants are particularly abundant, and it 
was formerly believed that they assumed a new stage of 
existence at the termination of every seven years : 

Seachd bliadhna 'na sgarbh, 

Seachd bliadhna 'na learg, 

Seachd bliadhna 'na bhal-ar-bodhan, 

Gu sith-siorruidh 'na bhunabhuachaille. 

Which may be translated thus : 

Seven years a sgarbh (Shag or Green Cormorant), 
Seven years a learg (young Cormorant ?), 
Seven years a bal-ar-bodhan (Black Cormorant), 
For ever and ever a bunabhuachaille (Diver). 

The Glen is a grassy flat closed in on the south-east side 
by the Garvard Hills, which rise abruptly over it in precipitous 
rocks. The soil raised-beach deposits is of a shelly, sandy 
nature, and produces wild flowers in abundance. A slow- 
flowing stream Abhainn-a-Ghlinne running parallel with 
the base of the rocks is the home of the Water Ranunculus, 
the Least Marsh wort, and other aquatic plants. The elegant 
fern- like foliage of the Meadow-rue appears here and there 
from clefts in the rocks, and masses of the reddish-purple 
Hemp Agrimony and pink-tinged Valerian grow on the 

3 



34 COLONSAY 

banks of the stream. The delicate white-flowered Grass of 
Parnassus is seen in profusion in moist places. Orchids in 
a variety of colours, blue Gentian, pink Centaury, orange 
Stork's-bill, and other free-flowering plants peculiar to such 
situations delight the senses with richness of colouring and 
sweetness of fragrance. 

Garvard occupies the central part of the southern end of 
the island. The outlook among the islets of the strand is 
an ever-changing scene : at low tide, when the water recedes, 
wide tracts of shell-strewn sand are left exposed ; at high 
tide, a land-encircled islet-studded sea, with the hills of 
Oransay in the background, lies before us. Memorials 
connected in traditional lore with interesting events in days 
gone by are not rare in this locality. Situated close to the 
road, about half a mile from the strand, are the partially 
standing Avails of the Temple of the Glen, silent reminders 
of old ways that vanished together with the sway of the 
Romish Church at the advent of the Reformation. Local 
tradition associates the Temple of the Glen with a visit of 
King Robert the Bruce on the eve of his return to the main- 
land to reassert his right to the Scottish crown after his 
prolonged retreat in Rathlin; and there is nothing im- 
probable in the supposition that this vigorous monarch 
visited Colonsay and other islands, either on pilgrimage, 
or in the hope of winning over their hardy chiefs to his 
patriotic but desperate cause. In Sir Walter Scott's 
poetical narrative of the battle of Bannockburn in the 
Lord of the Isles Bruce is supported by a contingent 
of island chiefs under the leadership of the Lord of 
the Isles, and among these the Lord of Colonsay bears no 
inconspicuous part : 

Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high, 

Lord of the misty hills of Skye, 
Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane, 

Duart, of bold Clan Gillian's strain, 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 35 

Fergus, of Canna's castled bay, 

Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay, 
Soon as they saw the broadswords glance 

With ready weapons rose at ouce. 

The shores of Mull on the eastward lay, 

And Ulva dark and Colonsay, 
And all the group of islets gay 

That guard famed Staffa round. 

Merrily, merrily, goes the bark, 

Before the gale she bounds ; 
They left Loch-Tua on their lee, 

And they waken 'd the men of the wild Tiree, 
And the Chief of the sandy Coll. 

Lochbuie's fierce and warlike Lord 
Their signal saw, and grasped his sword, 

And verdant Hay call'd her host, 
And the clans of Jura's rugged coast, 
And louely Colonsay. 

Yet still on Colonsay's fierce lord, 

Who press'd the chase with gory sword, 
He (De Argentine) rode with spear in rest, 

And through his bloody tartans bored, 
And through his gallant breast. 

Nail'd to the earth, the mountaineer 
Yet writhed him up against the spear, 

And swung his broadsword round ! 
Stirrup, steel-boot, and cuish gave way, 

Beneath that blow's tremendous sway, 
The blood gush'd from the wound ; 

And the grim Lord of Colonsay 
Hath turn'd him on the ground, 

And laugh'd in death-pang, that his blade 
The mortal thrust so well repaid. 

Funeral parties on their way to Oransay halted at the 
Temple of the Glen and there awaited the ebb of the tide 
before crossing. Half-way across the strand fragments of 
lime-built stone-work show the foundation of the sanctuary 
cross (Crois-an-Tearmaid) which marked the boundary of 



36 COLONSAY 

the holy ground of Oransay. The criminal who got 
here before he was overtaken by his pursuers, and after- 
wards remained a year and a day in Oransay, was safe. 
Three dunans or small forts Dunan-na-Fidean, Dunan 
lochdar-na-Garbhaird, and Dunan-nan-Nighean, the last- 
named on the Ardskenish side beside Port-na-Patharlinn are 
within view of one another on the southern shore ; a fourth, 
Dunan-nan-Con, being situated close to the roadside farther 
north. Dun Cholla is a conspicuous green debris-covered 
hill on the Balaromin side, and was probably one of the 
larger, though at the same time one of the less easily 
defended, of the forts. A church had been situated at Cill-a- 
Choinnich, and a muileann-dubh stood beside the burn that 
has since borne its name on the Balaromin side of the strand. 
Cnoc Eibrigin, a conspicuous green knoll, is topped by a 
standing-stone of comparatively modern erection. It is said 
to have been the place where local questions and disputes 
used to be settled. 

Two farms Balaromin-dubh and Balaromin-mor lie on 
the eastern side of the road that leads from Scalasaig to the 
strand. The dark heather-covered hills through which the 
road carries its winding, undulating way give place, towards 
the shore, to green slopes and fertile glades fringed here 
and there between projecting rocky points with pretty 
bays of white sand. Sycamore-trees, forming a rectangular 
square which surrounds the garden attached to the residence 
at Balaromin-dubh, have developed into fair-sized specimens, 
notwithstanding the open situation. 

Leana-na-h-Eaglais, or the Plain of the Church, is a flat 
of greensward near the farm-house of Balaromin-mor, with 
the remains of an enclosure surrounding the ruins of an old 
church. A short distance to the east there is a standing- 
stone to which Donald Ballach is said to have been bound 
before he was shot by the followers of Angus, son of the 
famous Coll Ciotach. At that time Colonsay was in the 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 37 

hands of the Marquis of Argyll, who sent Donald Ballach to 
the island as his representative. This individual taxed the 
very shellfish on the shore. On the death of the husband 
he claimed the horse or the cow of the widow. Sometime 
about 1644, Angus, son of Coll Ciotach, visited the island. 
He met a widow taking her only cow as a tribute (damh- 
wsanri) to Donald Ballach. On hearing her story, Angus 
sent her home, saying that he would settle the matter with 
her oppressor. Accompanied by his men, he went to 
Oransay, where Donald Ballach was staying. The latter 
was at home on Angus's arrival, and he offered him snuff. 
" Have you a feather ? " (that is, for the snuff), asked Angus. 
" I have not," answered Donald Ballach; " if I had [that is, 
the power of flying] I should not have been awaiting you 
here this night." Donald was dragged across the strand to 
Balaromin-mor, where his career was cut short by seven 
musket-balls ; and word was sent to the Marquis that if he 
sent another man like Donald Ballach to Colonsay he would 
be treated in a like manner. 

On a clear day a nne view of the surroundings is obtained 
from the top of Beinn Eibhne, which rises abruptly from 
Poll Gorm to a height of 321 feet. Binnean Crom, a pro- 
jecting shelf of rock over the edge of a precipice, is said to 
have been formerly used as a gallows for criminals. There 
is a hole in the shelf through which one end of the rope was 
passed. Ruins of old buildings are to be seen on the hill. 

Underneath, on the rocky, sandy hillocks that fringe the 
shores of Poll Gorm, the Blue (and white) Spring Squill, 
the succulent-leaved Rockfoil, and the tidy Whitlow Grass 
grow in profusion. 1 Between Loch Colla and the sea there 
are stretches of marshy and boggy ground overgrown with 
characteristic peat-bog vegetation Mud-sedge, Horse-tail, 
Bog-cotton, Club-rush, Spike-rush, Sun-dew, Bog Asphodel, 

1 Plants of salt-marsh Glasswort, Milkwort, Sea Aster, and others 
are abundant along the margin of the strand. 



38 COLONSAY 

and many others equally common but bearing less familiar 
names. 

Dun Eibhinn, situated about a mile west of the harbour, 
is one of the most impressive of the many forts that once 
crowned the summits of the hills throughout the island. It 
is circular in shape, and close on 100 feet in diameter. The 
position was practically inaccessible except on the side of 
the entrance to the fort. The hill, like a number more of 
those that had been utilised for defensive purposes, is green 
and strewn with the stones which had once formed the 
fortifications. The last of the M'Phees of Colonsay is said 
to have lived in the fort. Dunan Leathann is near Cnoc-an- 
Ardrigh, on the right-hand side of the road that leads up to 
Milbuie from Scalasaig. The stones were many years ago 
rolled down the slopes and used for building the dry-stone 
dyke on the east side of the road. The hearthstone (leac- 
an-teinntean) discovered in it was so large as to cause those 
who saw it to wonder how it could have been carried up the 
hill. A short distance from the hotel, in Buaile Riabhach, 
a Druidical circle is to be seen. On Beinn-nan-Gudairean, 
to the south of Loch Fada, heather ale used, it is said, 
to be made. A large granite boulder, which was probably 
left there during the glacier period, lies near the top of 
the hill. 

About a mile north of the harbour, at Riskbuie, on the east 
coast, some stones mark the site of the Caibeal the Chapel 
of Riskbuie. A curious carved figure, now fixed up at 
Tobar Oran, was part of a stone cross formerly standing on 
the east side of the chapel. Another carved figure that 
rtjioiced in the local sobriquet of Dealbh-na-leisg (Image of 
Sloti"K) is believed to have been built into one of the adjoin- 
ing dweilling-houses. 

In addition to those noted, other antiquarian remains 
ruins, standings stones, cairns, burial-places, knocking-stanes, 
etc. are to be sen in various parts of the island. 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 39 

Rare and Migrating Birds. Birds rarely seen in Britain 
sometimes visit these islands, or are driven to them by 
stormy weather. One of these rare visitors was picked up 
alive at the roadside between Kiloran and Kilchattan on 
1st January 1897. It was sent to Edinburgh, and identified 
by Mr W. Eagle Clarke, M.B.O.U., keeper of the Natural 
History Department, Royal Scottish Museum, as the Frigate 
Petrel. The bird is now on view in the Museum, and is one 
of the only two specimens yet found in European waters. 
The other one was washed ashore dead on Walney Island, 
Morecambe Bay, in November 1890. Prior to that date it 
was not seen north of the Canary Isles. Common in the 
Southern Hemisphere, the species was found breeding in 
great numbers on the islands off S.W. Australia by Gould's 
collector, Gilbert. 

Certain birds, on the other hand, that used to frequent the 
island are now rarely or never seen. The Chough (Cnamh- 
ach) used to nest in various places, but it has not been much 
in evidence for a number of years. From Sguid Pioghaid we 
might infer that the Magpie (Pioghaid) was once a native. 

Visitors to the island or its shores that have been casually 
noticed include the Fieldfare (Liath-Truisg), Redwing, 
Shoveller, Tufted Duck, Sand Grouse (seen one season), 
Dotterel, Sanderling, Turnstone, Greenshank, Dunlin, and 
"American Cuckoo." 

In addition to those already mentioned, the author has 
been able, with the kind assistance of Professor Graham 
Kerr, of Glasgow University, to bring together the local 
Gaelic and English (or Latin) names of various birds, fishes, 
shellfish, etc., which may be inserted here. 

BIRDS. 

Bal-ar-Bbdhan. Black Cormorant. 
Cathag. Jackdaw. Feannag Idheach. 
Clachran Coille. Stone-chat. 



40 COLONSAY 

Cearc Fhraoich. Grouse. 

Cearc Thomain. Partridge. 

Coileach Dubh.Klzck Cock ; Black Grouse (male bird). 

Coileach Fraoich ) M Cock Red Grouge ( ]e 

Coileach Ruadh ) 

Eun-a- Ghiuirinn. Puffin. 

Eun-a-Phiocaich. Black Guillemot in immature plumage. 

Eun-Beag-a-Stoirm. Stormy Petrel. 

Eun-Mor. Gannet ; Solan Goose. Amsan. 

Faoileann Mhor Ghlas. Applied probably to large species 

of Gull in immature plumage. 
Geadh od. Brent Goose. 

Gearra Chrotach. Whimbrel. Oranna Chrotach. 
lolaire. Sea Eagle. 

Lacha Mhor. Eider Duck. Known in neighbouring 
islands as Lacha Ckolasach (Colonsay Duck). 

Learg Uisge. The name given to the Black or Common 
Cormorant, when seen in winter fishing on fresh- 
water lochs or streams (see p. 33). 

Liath Chearc. Grey Hen Black Grouse (female bird). 

Loirean (Gulamag). Sandpiper. 

Loirean Tragbadh. Ring Plover and allied species. 

Meana' Ghurag. Snipe. Also Gudabochd, Naosg. 

Seobhag Bheag Ghlas. Merlin. 

Sgarbh. Shag or Green Cormorant. 

FISHES. 

Bacach-gearr. 1 Turbot (?). 
Bodach Ruadh. Codling. 

Bradan. Salmon. Liathag = youug Salmon or Grilse. 
Bradan Leathan. 1 Halibut (?). 
Breac. Fresh- water Trout. 
Breac Donuis. Shanny. 

1 The author, not having obtained specimens of these, is unable to 
identify them with certainty. 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 41 

Cam-a-Reasain. 1 Hag-fish (?). The Gaelic name is also 

applied to Fish-lice. 

CarbJianach. 1 Silver Smelt (?); Silver Haddock (?). 
Carnag. A fish found at ebb-tide. 
Carrachan. Sea-scorpion, one of the Bullheads. 
Cloimheag. Butter-fish. 
Cnamhairneich. 1 (?). 
Creagag. Ball an Wrasse. 
Grog Dhubh. 1 Species of Bullhead (?). 
Crudan Dearg. Gurnard (red). 
Crudan Glas. Gurnard (grey). 
Donnag. Rockling (several kinds). 
Eas/jann. Eel. 
Easgann Mara. Conger. 
Fionnag. Whiting. 
Garbhag. Flounder. 
Gealag. Sea-trout. 
Gibearneach. Cuttle-fish. 
Gobach Odhar. A large kind of Ray or Skate. 
Gobag. Dog-fish. 
Greusaiche. Father-lasher (?), a species of Bullhead or 

Gurnard. 

lasg-Mear. Grey Mullet. 
Langa. Ling. 

Leabag. Flounder. Garbhag (local). 
Leabag Bhuinn. Sole. 

Leabag Mhor. Diamond Plaice. Leabag (local). 
Liu. Lythe ; Pollack. 
Mac-lamhaich. Devil-fish ; Octopus. 
Morair. Haddock. Adag. 

Murlach. King-fish (local) ; Lesser Spotted Dog-fish. 
Nathair Thraghadh. 1 Pipe-fish (?) ; sometimes applied to 

Rag-worm. 

1 The author, not having obtained specimens of these, is unable to 
identify them with certainty. 



42 COLONSAY 

Ordag-a-Mhuilleir. Gemmeous Dragonet, one of the 
Gobies. 

Piocach. Saithe; Coal-fish. In its young state it is 
known as Gudainn (Cuddy) ; in the May following, 
Geiteanach. Piocach is applied to it in the second 
year, and Piocach-mbr after. Ucsa is the mature fish. 

Rionnach. Mackerel. 

Rionnach-an-Eicli. Horse Mackerel. 

Sgadan. Herring. 

Sgat.'R&j; Skate. 

Siolag. Launce; Sand-eel (local). 

Sporran Feannaig. Mermaid's Purse : the egg of the 
Dog-fish or a species of Skate. 

Suit Oir. 1 Poor Cod (?). 

Trosg. Cod. 

SHELL-FISH, ETC. 

Bairneacli. Limpe t. 
Breallascan. Gaper Shell. 
Ciochan-nam-Ban-Marbh. Sea Anemone. 
Claba Dubha. Cyprina Islandica. 
Cluasag Baintighearna. (Artemis exoleta.) 
Conachag. Buckie ; Whelk. 
Conan Mara. Sea Urchin. 
Cruban. Partan ; Edible Crab. 
Deargann Traghadh. Sand-hopper ; Sand-flea. 
Deiseag. Velvet Swimming Crab. 
Eisir. Oyster. 

Faochag. Periwinkle ; Whelk (local). 
Feasgan. Mussel. 
Feasgan-mor. Horse Mussel. 

Figheadair Fairge. Spider Crab (?) with long' limbs. 
7 . Cockle. 



1 The author, not having obtained specimens of these, is unable to 
identify them with certainty. 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 4 

Gille-geal. White Whelk ; Dog-winkle. 

Giomach. Lobster. 

Giomach Dearg. Spiny Lobster. 

Giomach Tuathalach. l (1). 

Giuirinn. Barn acle . 

Gorra- Crag. S tar-fish. 

Lug a. Lug or Lob- worm. 

Maighdeag. Cowrie Shell. 

Muisgeann. Razor-fish ; Spout-fish. 

Parian. Green Shore Crab. 

Parian Tuathalach. Scorpion Spider Crab. 

Sgeith Rbin. Jelly-fish. 

Slige Cas Capuill. Sometimes applied to the flat shell 

of the Clam. 

Slige Chreachain. Scallop Shell ; Clam. 
Sop-gun-IarraidTi. The spawn of the Whelk or Buckie. 



SEAWEEDS 2 

Barr Dearg. Tangle tops. 

Barr Leathachan. Laminaria saccharina. Sea-belt. 

Cailionnagach. Plocamium coccineum. 

Carrachdag ; Dubh-Shlat. Laminaria digitaia, var. 

stenophylla. 
Duileasg. Dulse. 
Feamainn. Seaweed ; Sea-ware. 

FeamainnBhuiceanach. Fucus platycarpus (F. ceranoides). 
Feamainn Bliuidhe. Fucus nodosus. Knobbed Seaweed. 

This was the kind formerly used (locally) for making 

kelp. It was cut every third year. 
Feamainn Bhuilgeanach. Bladder Wrack (Propach, C.). 

1 The author, not having obtained specimens of these, is unable to 
identify them with certainty. 

2 For kind assistance in the identification of the Seaweeds, the 
writer's thanks are due to Miss Zamorska, Technical College, Glasgow. 



44 COLONSAY 

Feamainn Chireagach. Channelled Wrack. 

Feamainn Dhubh. Fucus serratus. Notched Wrack. 

Gille-ma-Lionn. Sea Laces. 

Gruag-na-Maighdean-Mhara. Desmarestia aculeata. 

Llobhagach. Applied to Confervse such as Enteromorpha 
intestinalis, etc. 

Mathair-an-Duilisg. Carrageen ; Irish Moss. 

Muraille. Badderlocks ; Hen ware ; Murlins. The mid- 
rib and the spore- producing part of it (Sgeachagan) 
are edible. 

Muraille-mbr. Himanthcdia lorea (female plant). 

Rbmhagacli. Himanthalia lorea (male plant). 

Slabhachdan. Sloke. 

Stafa. Laminaria digitata. Tangle. 

Trailleach. A kind of seaweed considered to be of little 
value as manure for land, as it dried up and took a 
long time to decay. 



CHAPTER II 



THE occurrence in the Western Islands of Scotland of 
certain plants Rock Samphire, Sea-Kale, etc. confined 
elsewhere in Europe to countries lying farther south, points 
to more equable conditions of climate than have been 
generally supposed to prevail in these northern latitudes. 
The Rock Samphire was found in Colonsay in 1906, and two 
years later on the Mangustra cliffs, a little north of Eilean 
Molach, on the west coast of Lewis, in lat. 58 5' N. On 
the authority of Mr Bennett, no station for this plant, out- 
side Britain, is known in Europe north of lat. 51. The Sea- 
Kale occurs in Islay, and there is an old record of the finding 
of it in the Outer Hebrides " head of Lochmaddy, North 
Uist, on sand, 1848. D. C. Burlingham." 

From the returns of the meteorological stations (as they 
are printed in the Journals of the Meteorological Society), 
we find that the Western Islands of Scotland possess a 
climate which, in mildness and uniformity of temperature, 
is quite exceptional, and Avithout a parallel in the same 
latitude. During the months of December and January 
the mean temperature of those islands lying south of Harris 
and Skye 41 to 44 F. is reached or exceeded elsewhere 
in Britain only in the Isle of Man and Anglesea, and in 
the western and south-western extremities of England and 
"Wales. The only places in Scotland with a mean tempera- 
45 



46 



COLONSAY 



ture of not less than 42 F. during January are the southern 
islands of the Outer Hebrides North Uist, Benbecula, South 
Uist, and Barra, with their islets, and Tiree in the Inner 
Hebrides. Thus we find tender exotics, unable to survive the 
keener winters of the neighbourhood of London, thriving 
in the Western Islands, much farther north. 

The influences at work in modifying the cold of winter 
are equally well marked in tempering the heat of summer. 
During the warmest months June, July, and August 
the only districts in the kingdom that have a mean tem- 
perature as low as, or lower than, that of the Isles 53 to 
57 F. are the seaboards of Argyll and Western Inverness, 
a narrow strip along the north-east of Scotland to Kinnaird 
Head, and the counties lying north of the Moray Firth. As 
an agreeable change from the warmer and more enervating 
regions of the south, the cool, bracing climate of the Islands 
is yearly becoming more appreciated by an increasing number 
of tourists, who travel westwards during the warmest of the 
months. 

The mildness of the Hebridean climate is emphasised by 
taking a wider view of the subject, and comparing the 
climate of the country as a whole with that of other 
countries in the same latitude. The following table, repro- 
duced from Hann's Climatology, shows the 

MEAN TEMPERATURES ALONG LATITUDE 52 N. FROM 
WEST TO EAST 



Station. 


Longitude. 


January. 


July. 


Difference. 


Valencia, S.W. Ireland . 


10" 25' W. 


42 "3 F. 


59 '2 F. 


16'9 F. 


Oxford . . . . 


1 16' W. 


38'5 


61 0< 2 


22 7 


Posen .... 


17 5'E. 


27 "I 


64'9 


37'8 


Kursk .... 


36 8'E. 


15'l 


67'6 


52" -5 


Barnaul and Semipala- 










tinsk. 


8030'E. 1-0 '4 


71'2 


71'6 



CLIMATE 47 

Formerly the mildness of our winters was generally 
attributed to the influence of the Gulf Stream, which was 
supposed to flow across the Atlantic in a never-ending stream 
of warmer waters to our shores. This long-established 
theory has of late years lost its weight with many investi- 
gators. It is found that the Gulf Stream has almost ceased 
to exist a little to the east of the Banks of Newfoundland ; 
and the most recent authorities attribute the favourable 
temperature conditions of the North Atlantic directly to 
the influence of the prevailing south-westerly winds, and 
indirectly to a surface drift of warmer waters which these 
winds drive before them. The prevailing winds on the 
American side of the Atlantic, on the other hand, are from 
the north-east, bringing to lower latitudes the icy conditions 
of the Arctic Circle. The prevalence of our balmy south- 
westerly winds is due to the existence of a permanent area 
of high pressure near the Azores, and a permanent area 
of low pressure near Iceland. 1 

Although no record of the climate of Colonsay is available, 
an approximate idea of its character may be formed from 
the returns of surrounding meteorological stations (v. p. 48). 
The island's vegetation is also a good indication of the 
nature of its climate, and if we had no other means of 
information much could still be learned, with regard to _ the 
general meteorological conditions prevailing, from a careful 
survey of the island's flora. Moss- and lichen-coated trees 
indicate a moisture-laden atmosphere; spongy and mossy 
pastures, and an abundance of rushes, sedges, and other 
plants of wet situations point to an unstinted and a well- 
distributed rainfall. Trees and plantations leaning east- 

1 " Address on the Climate of the British Isles," by Andrew Watt, 
M.A., F.R.S.E., Secretary of the Scottish Meteorological Society 
(Scottish Geographical Magazine, April 1908). Much of the informa- 
tion herein contained has been gleaned from Mr "Watt's interesting 
paper. 



48 



COLONSAY 



TABLE SHOWING THE MEAN MONTHLY AND ANNUAL TEMPERATURES 
OF THREE INSULAR STATIONS SURROUNDING COLONSAY: those 
for the first and second being calculated on a mean of 40 years 
January 1856 to December 1895 and for the third on a mean of 
10 years 1897 to 1906 inclusive. 





J 


1 g 


. 


> 














Station. 


1 


JlH 


anuai 


1 









SH 
-, 


1 


A 

a 
a 

1-5 




S 


3 


1-5 


* 














Rudha Vaal, 


feet. 


miles. 


















Islay . 


147 


8S 


40-9 


40 -S 


40 


Q 


4 


vo 


48'6 


54'2 


Du Hirteach 






















Lighthouse 


145 


15 WNW 


42-0 


41-4 


41 




4 


i-O 


48-3 


52-9 


Lochbuie, 






















Mull . 


20 


20 NE 


431 


39-0 


41 





4 


1-6 


49-3 


55'4 
























Station. 


a 
.2 

3 

c 


lilt 


13 


i 


! 


1 




1 


1 



Year. 




3 


a 5 " 




<1 


02 


c 


5 





1 






feet. 




















Rudha Vaal, 




miles. 




e 














Tslay. . 
Du Hirteach 


147 


8S 


55-6 


56-0 


54-0 


4^ 


9 


44- 


427 


47-9 


Lighthouse 


145 


15 WNW 


55-2 


557 


54-4 


4< 


)! 


451 


44-0 


48-0 


Lochbuie, 




















- 


Mull. 


20 


20 NE 


57-0 


56-4 


54-5 


4{ 


J-4 


44'f 


41-5 


47-9 



ward testify to the prevalence and force of the westerly 
winds. Plants of foreign origin, which are found growing 
extensively out of doors elsewhere only in the climatically 
favoured counties of Cornwall and Devonshire, indicate the 
mildness of the island's winter climate. In favourable 
seasons, the peach and the fig ripen their fruit in good 
situations on walls in the open. The heat of summer is 
not, however, sufficient, as a rule, to bring wheat to perfec- 



CLIMATE 49 

tion ; and owing to the prevalence of sunless days in autumn 
the ripening process of the young wood of fruit-trees and 
other plants is often but imperfectly done. 

Temperature. According to Dr Buchan's maps of the 
temperature of the British Isles, the mean annual temperature 
of the county of Argyll is 48 -5 F. ; the average variation 
being 39-5-42* F. in January to 56-57'5 F. in July. 

In mid-winter (January) the only parts of Britain that have 
a mean temperature of 41 F. and over are situated west of a 
line drawn from Loch Roag in Lewis southward through Skye, 
Ardnamurchan, and the Isles of Mull and Islay. Colonsay 
lies west of this line, with, if it be produced farther south, 
the Isle of Man and Anglesea, the western seaboards of Wales 
and the extreme south-western counties of England. Along 
the East Coast, on the other hand, the isotherms of 38 and 
39 are dominant. In mid-summer, again, we find that, owing 
to the tempering influence of the Atlantic, the temperature 
on the West Coast is generally lower than it is on the East. 

Elevation and Temperature. For every 300 feet ascent 
that we make the thermometer drops 1 F. To get the 
same decrease of temperature at sea-level we have to travel 
more than a degree of latitude due north. Owing to this 
natural decrease of temperature from south to north, we find 
that the limit at which cultivation can be carried on gradually 
descends from an altitude of 2000 feet in the south of Eng- 
land to sea-level in the Shetland Isles. The bracken is said 
to determine the line of cultivation in Britain, but on the 
West Coast it is not uncommonly found growing at elevations 
at which few crops could be grown with profit. In a low- 
lying island like Colonsay, the difference in temperature 
between sea-level and the highest point is so small (less than 
2 F.) as to be barely noticeable, and hardly sufficient to affect 
the distribution of plants. On the mainland, however, and 
wherever the land attains to a considerable altitude, we find, 

4 



50 



COLONSAY 



as we ascend, an appreciable reduction of temperature, marked 
in the loftier of the islands by the occurrence of certain species 
of plants that are rarely, or never, found growing at low levels. 

Rainfall. According to Dr Hugh Eobert Mill, Director 
of the "British Rainfall," the yearly rainfall of Colonsay 
may be taken as varying from 40 to 50 inches, distributed 
throughout the months of the year, on an average, as 
follows : January 5 inches, February 4 inches, March 

3 inches, April 2 inches, May 2 inches, June 3 inches, July 

4 inches, August 4 inches, September 5 inches, October 

5 inches, November 5 inches, December 5 inches. 

MEAN MONTHLY AND ANNUAL RAINFALL OF THREE INSULAR 
STATIONS SURROUNDING COLONSAY : calculated on a mean of 
15 years 1876 to 1890 for Gruinart and Fladda, and on a mean 
of 9 years 1866 to 1874 for Hynish, Tiree. 





a 

c 


S o % 


. 

















Station. 


1 
J2 


in 


I 


1 


1 






4 


1 


| 




feet 


miles 


















Gruinart, Islay 


214 


10 S 


4-88 


3-55 


3-1 


1 


2 


07 


2-09 


2-86 


Fladda . 


12 


20 NE 


6'66 


4-28 


4'] 





2 


35 


2-50 


374 


Hynish Farm, 
Tiree . 


50 


34 NW 


5-27 


3-53 






2 


68 


2-26 


2-19 





























lg 




1 


& 


! 




S 


fe 




Station. 


1 


IIU 
.22 Q 


"3 

i-s 


I 


1 

02 


! 

I 


! 

i 


a 

S 




1 


Year. 




feet 


miles 


















Gruinart, Islay 


214 


10 S 


3-07 


3-80 


4-33 


4' 


25 


4'9( 


5-41 


44-40 


Fladda . 


12 


20 NE 


4-19 


4-36 


5-14 


5- 


48 


6-2' 


5-82 


54-89 


Hynish Farm, 
Tiree . 


50 


34 NW 


3-18 


2-73 


4-18 


4' 


32 




S 3-47 


40-52 



CLIMATE 51 

The height and configuration of the land have a powerful 
influence on the rainfall. Where high hills intercept 
moisture-laden winds from the sea, the fall is much greater 
than it is in low-lying districts. Warm air holds more 
vapour in suspension than cold air ; and as the moisture- 
laden winds that blow in from the sea rise over the hills 
they quickly cool and precipitate part of their moisture in 
the form of rain or fog. At the low-lying lands of the 
Rhinns of Islay the average fall is probably under 40 inches ; 
in the more hilly district round M'Arthur's Head in 
the same island it rises to about 60 inches (37 years' 
average, 1862-98). In Tiree, where much of the land 
is scarcely higher than sea-level, the annual fall is little 
more than 40 inches; at Lochbuie, which lies under 
the high mountains of Mull, it is 90 inches. At 
Stornoway the annual fall is about 48 inches (1856- 
98), at Portree 88 inches, and at Dunollie and Oban about 
60 inches. 

A comparison of the returns from the East Coast with 
those from the West shows that the rainfall on the West 
Coast is much greater than it is on the East, on no part of 
which does it reach 40 inches, while it is less than 30 on 
the north-east coast of Caithness, the low-lying lands to the 
south-east of the Moray Firth, along the East Coast to Burnt- 
island, and on the low grounds of Mid and East Lothian. 
Over a large part of the south-east of England, from the 
Humber to the estuary of the Thames, the average rainfall 
varies from about 22 to 25 inches. The average number of 
days on which rain falls annually on the West Coast is about 
200, and on the East Coast 150. Great variations, however, 
occur in the annual rainfall, and a short series of observa- 
tions, if taken as indicating the average rainfall of a particular 
district, might prove very misleading. Even a decade is not 
a long enough period to get a true mean. The seventies 
were a wet decade, which, if taken alone, would lead us to 



52 COLONSAY 

overestimate the rainfall of many localities ; the eighties, a 
dry decade that would cause us to underestimate it. 

Winds. In the more exposed of the Western Isles the 
prevalence of strong winds has a most detrimental effect 
on the growth of many plants, particularly those that are 
not native but have been introduced to the islands. During 
the early part of the growing season the tender leaves and 
shoots of trees in exposed positions become prematurely 
battered and brown, and are rendered unfit for carrying on 
the complicated processes that are so vital to the well- 
being of the plant. Not infrequently the young leaves are 
torn off the trees by the force of the wind before they are 
fully developed. Owing to the preponderance of westerly 
winds, trees in exposed positions acquire a characteristic 
one-sided shape, the greater part of their development being 
in the easterly direction. Autumn gales frequently damage 
the fruit crop by stripping the fruit off the trees. Often 
when a gale or stormy weather is approaching from the west 
a rising swell on the sea gives premonitory warning of its 
advance several days beforehand, even though the air around 
may be comparatively still. 

Directions from which the wind blew at Du Hirteach 
Lighthouse (15 miles W.N.W. of Colonsay) during 1898 : 
K, 44 days; N.E., 19 days; E., 28 days; S.E., 37 days; 
S., 58 days ; S.W., 69 days ; W., 59 days ; N.W., 49 days ; 
calm or variable, 2 days. 

Sunshine. The percentage of sunshine on the West Coast 
is greater than might be expected, taking into consideration 
the heavy rainfall of the West Coast when compared with 
that of the East. In 1906 bright sunshine at Oban was 
28 per cent (average rainfall 60 inches), and in Edinburgh 
31| per cent (rainfall 26 inches). The average sunshine for 
Stornoway for 25 years is 29 per cent. In spring, when 



CLIMATE 53 

east winds are common, the West Coast is frequently much 
sunnier than the East. Locally, the sunniest and driest 
weather is experienced in the months of April, May, and 
June, crops sometimes suffering from drought during that 
period. 

In the daily sunshine returns for May and June 1909, 
published from health and holiday resorts all over the 
country, Oban, for a period, remained at the top of the list. 
In addition to this remarkable duration of sunshine, the 
climate of the district is characterised by other notable 
features. Analysis has shown that, for purity, its atmo- 
sphere is unexcelled in Europe ; and while all along the West 
Coast the rainfall is considerable, the humidity is less than 
that of Brighton and other health resorts in the south of 
England. The dryness of the atmosphere in Colonsay may 
be gathered from the rapidity with which the soil and the 
roads dry even after heavy rains. 

Temperature of the Sea. The mean annual temperature 
of the sea on the West Coast of Scotland is 49'l F., ranging 
(at Oban) from 43 '3 F. in March (the coldest period) to 
55 '7 F. in August. In shallow bays, at full tide on a sunny 
day, the temperature is much higher, and in Colonsay the 
sea is much warmer on the southern than it is on its deeper 
northern shores. On the East Coast of Scotland the mean 
annual temperature of the sea is 1 to 2 F. less than that 
of the West, ranging (at Dunbar) from 40'3 F. in March to 
56*4 in August. The temperatures of the sea and the air 
are about equal on the East Coast ; on the West Coast 
the temperature of the sea is 2 to 3 F. in excess of that of 
the air. 



CHAPTER III 

GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 

VIEWED across the intervening channel f rom Colonsay, the land- 
scape of Mull presents to us certain unfamiliar features which 
find no counterpart in Colonsay or in any of the neighbouring 
islands within view. The terraced outline of the majestic 
Ben Mor is rounded and full, but, even where dissected into 
summits and slopes, this Tertiary volcanic mass differs funda- 
mentally in appearance from the hills of the southern islands, 
which are composed of very ancient schistose rocks. 

In these two islands, Colonsay and Mull, we have types 
sufficiently illustrative of the two main formations schistose 
and gneissose on the one hand, and basaltic on the other 
into which the Western Isles of Scotland may be grouped. 
Colonsay, Gigha, Islay, Jura, and neighbouring islets are, as 
might be expected from the trend of the great Caledonian 
rent, closely associated in structure with the mainland of 
Argyll. It is not certain, however, that the rocks of 
Colonsay are actually represented among the schists of the 
Argyllshire mainland, and it is interesting to note that Dr 
Peach places them in the great Torridonian system, named 
after Loch Torridon in Ross-shire. The rocks of Coll, Tiree, 
lona, and the Outer Hebrides are more like the north of 
Scotland gneisses. Skye, Canna, Eigg, Mull, and some 
smaller islets comprise those of basaltic structure. 

While broadly placing them in a few groups, minor 
54 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 55 

differences enter into the formation of individual islands 
which impart to each its distinctive characteristics in 
landscape and scenery; the composition of the flora also 
varies to some extent. Few of the islands of the Inner 
Hebrides are, in detai], identical in structure ; but the Outer 
Hebrides present us with more of a sameness in formation, 
their entire length, a stretch of 130 miles, being mainly 
composed of Old or Lewisian gneiss, the most ancient rock 
in Britain. Coll, Tiree, and the greater part of lona are 
similarly formed. In some of the Outer Hebrides, where 
the vegetation is too scanty to obscure its naked surface, this 
rock imparts a barren and desolate aspect to the landscape. 
It attains its greatest elevation in the island of Harris, where 
it rises to a height of 2662 feet. 

The basaltic islands, from Skye southward to Mull, are 
of much more recent origin, and consist of consolidated lava- 
flows erupted during the Tertiary period. Ulster, Mull, 
Rum, Skye, St Kilda, the Faroes, and Iceland are believed 
to have been the principal centres of volcanic activity, from 
which, it is claimed by some, cones arose to a height of 
15,000 feet, ejecting discharges which overran an area of 
40,000 square miles. Others hold that the lavas issued 
more often from fissures than from definite craters, and 
built up undulating plateaux rather than cones. The 
numerous north-west basaltic "dykes" of the "Western 
Highlands furnish ample evidence of the existence of 
volcanic fissures of this period, although it remains an open 
question whether these were the chief sources of the lava 
streams. There is no lack of evidence to show that these 
islands were once united in one great plateau. 1 

The northern and larger portion of the Isle of Skye is 

mainly composed of Tertiary volcanic rocks. The Cullins 

originated from bosses of gabbro which pierced through 

underlying basalt plateaux; and the Red Hills between 

1 See Appendix. 



56 COLONSAY 

Sligachan and Broadford have been similarly formed of 
granophyre and allied rocks striking examples of the peculiar 
contour assumed by the particular varieties of rock of which 
they are composed. There are large areas of Torridonian 
sandstone, much like that of Colonsay, in the south of Skye ; 
and the neighbouring isles of Soay, Scalpay, and part of 
Eaasay are mainly formed of it. 

Torridonian sandstone is the principal rock in the 
northern half of Eum. The higher mountains of the 
southern portion of the island are composed of gabbro. 
Quartz-porphyry and allied rocks enter into the formation of 
the western side ; while gneissose rocks, recently shown by 
Mr Barker to be of Tertiary age, are much in evidence in 
the south-east. The isles of Canna, Muck, and Eigg mainly 
consist of basaltic lavas. 

Mull, like the northern part of Skye, is mostly Tertiary 
volcanic rock. Deep layers of lava flows appear to cover 
remains of the Mesozoic period. The mountains north of 
Lochbuie are composed of gabbro ; while Ben Mor, the highest 
mountain in Mull, is formed of bedded lavas. Granite 
appears over a large area of the Eoss of Mull. It is quarried, 
and has been largely employed in structures requiring great 
strength. Du Hirteach and Skerryvore lighthouses, Black- 
friars Bridge, Holborn Viaduct, Thames Embankment, and 
the Prince Consort Memorial, Hyde Park, are well-known 
structures for which this stone has been used. 

The landscape of the basaltic differs greatly from that of 
the gneissose and schistose islands. The regular terraced 
formation and beautiful green-verdured slopes, such as are 
to be seen in Mull and the north of Skye, pleasingly 
contrast with the irregular ruggedness of the Outer and 
South Inner Hebrides. As the decay of the rocks furnishes 
a rich loam which supports a luxuriant growth of grass, the 
basalt districts are distinguished by their greenness even 
up to the tops of the hills. 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 57 

The South Inner Hebrides consist, for the most part, of 
a series of complicated and highly metamorphosed rocks, 
known for the present as Dalriadian, from the ancient Celtic 
kingdom of Dalriada. The islands form, as it were, the 
south-western fringe of the zone of rocks belonging to this 
group, which traverses the Central Highlands of Scotland. 
Gigha, the most southern of the islands, is, like the adjacent 
portion of Kintyre, mainly composed of quartzite and mica- 
schist. The western part of Islay consists mostly of grits 
and dark slates of the Torridonian system, with Lewisian 
gneisses forming the Khinns. The central parts are mostly 
slate, the north and east quartzite-schist. Broad belts of 
limestone run between Portaskaig and the head of 
Lochindaal. Portaskaig is well known to geologists also for 
its conglomerates containing granite boulders. Jura and 
Scarba are principally formed of quartzite-schist. The Paps 
of Jura and the adjacent hills of Islay are among the finest 
and most characteristic examples of quartzite rocks to be 
seen in the Highlands. Luing and Seil are composed of 
graphitic mica-schist and black slate, the latter being 
worked ; Lismore and the Garvelloch Isles consist of lime- 
stone, associated in the latter with Portaskaig conglomerate ; 
Kerrera is composed of andesite (porphyrite), etc. 

The islands of Colonsay and Oransay were described by 
M'Culloch as "extremely uninteresting in a geological view," 
the predominant rock being micaceous schist ; but subsequent 
investigations have discovered that there are other and 
interesting varieties of rock entering into the structure of 
these islands. Quite recent researches, by Messrs Wright 
and Bailey of the Geological Survey, have brought to light 
certain facts which may have an important bearing, not only 
on the orogenic history of Colonsay, but also on that of the 
Highlands in general. 

Geology, to the lay mind, is a somewhat abstruse subject, 



58 COLONSAY 

and it is not proposed here to enter into its discussion 
further than to note some of its relations to the landscape 
and flora of Colonsay. The difficulties encountered by any 
other than a geologist in tracing certain rocks through the 
island, owing to the superficial resemblance the different 
varieties bear to one another and their lack of distinctive 
features, are greatly increased by the many intermediate forms 
which they assume. Irregularities in topography and in the 
outcropping of the rocks also occur, which are sufficiently 
great to perplex the novice in his pursuit of practical 
geology in the field, and to prevent him, if left to his own 
resources, from ever discovering the key to the stratigraphical 
problem of the islands. A coloured geological map, kindly 
lent by Messrs Wright and Bailey, prepared after the recent- 
survey of the island by the Geological Department, enabled 
the writer to follow up the principal rocks throughout the 
island, with a view to ascertaining the influence (if any) 
exerted by the underlying strata on the surface vegetation, 
referred to more in detail elsewhere. 

Colonsay and Oransay are, as already stated, mainly 
composed of sedimentary rock of Lower Torridonian age. 
They consist of " alternating series of grits, flags, and mud- 
stones, with a well-marked bed of sandy limestone near the 
top." l The strike is approximately north-east and south-west, 
and the prevalent dip towards the east. "The Colonsay 
limestone, which, with the beds above and below it, 
constitutes an easily recognisable horizon, occurs on the 
eastern coast of the island, dipping out to sea at a low angle." 
An almost continuous succession from higher to lower beds 
is passed over as one proceeds westwards or southwards from 
the limestone, " and on finally reaching the extreme outlying 
parts of Oransay and Ardskenish there is still no indication 



F.G.S. (Q 
p. 297). 



The Two Earth-Movements of Colonsay," by W. B. Wright, B. A. , 
. (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, vol. Ixiv. No. 254 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 59 

of any base to this enormously thick series of sediments." 
Taking the harbour, therefore, as the most accessible though 
perhaps not the most illustrative starting-point, and following 
the road westwards past Machrins beyond the golf-links to 
Dun Ghallain, some 3 miles distant, we may conveniently 
take note of the principal series of strata of which the 
island is composed as they occur on the way. 

In the immediate neighbourhood of Scalasaig there is a 
mass of granitic rock quite different in structure and origin 
from the surrounding sedimentary strata. On both sides of 
the road, between the harbour and the hotel, it is seen 
protruding through green patches of verdure in confused 
heaps of angular, grey masses. Further notice of this rock is 
deferred to a later paragraph dealing with igneous rocks, to 
which class it properly belongs. 

The bed of limestone previously referred to skirts the 
coast in a narrow strip from Balaromin-dubh until it passes 
out to sea at Rudha-an-Dobhrain north of Scalasaig. It is 
therefore to be seen both north and south of the harbour, 
but close to the road it is covered by the granite. A good 
exposure of it occurs at the monument. Dark phyllites, 
which overlie the limestone, appear at Rudha-dubh and on 
the east of Balaromin-dubh, between the outcrop of the lime- 
stone and the shore. 

Kiloran flags, the strata underlying the limestone, form 
most of the hilly land, north and south, from Dun Tealtaig 
to Balaromin-dubh. The flanks of the Beannan above the 
hotel, and the ridges eastward to Carn-mor, show much bare 
rock through a scanty covering of heather and other dark 
heathy vegetation often seen on this formation. The 
western declivities of Cnoc-na-Faire, on which the monu- 
ment stands, and the hills of Balaromin show less naked 
rock. Associated with the limestone it also encircles Kiloran 
Bay, rising into Carnan Eoin, the highest hill. Beinn-a- 
Sgoltaire, Beinn-nan-Gudairean, and Cnoc-an-t-Samhlaidh are 



62 COLONSAY 

South of the road, beyond the boggy ground of Rioma-mhor, 
alternate beds of mudstones and grits run their length 
through Garvard to the strand, each kind of rock carrying 
with it its peculiar characteristics of contour, which are well 
exposed on both sides of the track from Garvard House 
to Bealach-an-Aircleich. The mudstones rise up in low 
weathered escarpments on the east side of the path, the grits 
presenting their rounded forms on the west. Mudstones 
reappear in Oransay, rising there into the highest hill, 
Beinn Orasa. The stone has been much used for building 
the field dykes about Machrins. 

Cutting across the golf-links to the headland of Dun 
Ghallain, we come to the last of the rock series to be 
considered the Dun Ghallain green-banded epidotic grits 
which, except for the mudstones and sandstones, are . the 
lowest rocks of the Colonsay series. Near the head of Port 
Lobh the overlying white felspathic grits are readily 
distinguished from the Dun Ghallain grits by their different 
structure. The white grits are not as clearly stratified as 
the green-banded grits. Dun Ghallain grits curve round 
the south-west of the island from Turnicil to the head of 
Traigh-nam-Barc, rising there into Cam Spiris, and appearing 
again in the Cuirn-mhor of lochdar-na-Garbhaird and on the 
Oransay side of the strand. 

In the north-eastern extremity of the island the relations 
are more complex. A traverse made from the outcrop of 
the limestone at Scalasaig to Kiloran Bay passes " first over 
successively lower beds dipping south-eastwards, and then 
this dip is reversed and the same series is repeated in 
ascending order until the Kiloran Bay limestone is once more 
reached. The anticline thus crossed has a north-easterly 
trend, and brings to the surface, along its axis, the rocks of 
the Kiloran and Milbuie groups which underlie the limestone. 
From the manner in which the limestone circles round 
Kiloran Bay, it is clear that the latter here occupies the 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 63 

Centre of a synclinal basin. Finally, the northern end 
of the island has an anticlinal structure; and a mass of 
gneiss, presumably of Lewisian age, occupies the centre of 
the fold," e.g. to the north of Balanahard Bay and at 
Sgeir Nic Fhionnlaidh, etc., "which has a north-easterly 
trend." * 

Igneous Rocks. Scalasaig granite, already referred to, 
is the largest mass of igneous rock in the island. It is a 
diorite, and is described by Professor Geikie as a "coarsely 
crystalline rock of a very hard, tough, and durable character. 
It forms a handsomely marked rock the pale and dark- 
coloured minerals being in about equal proportions and 
might be advantageously employed as an ornamental 
building -stone. For structures requiring great strength 
hardly a better stone could be desired, as its crushing 
power must be very considerable." It was locally used in 
the construction of Scalasaig pier. Syenite and kentallenite, 
other granitic rocks, appear in Balanahard the former 
above Slochd-a-Chroinn, and the latter in the vicinity of 
Cnoc Ormadail. Kentallenite is a particularly interesting 
rock, taking its name from Kentallen, where it has been 
wrought for years as " the black granite of Ballachulish." 
There are four smaller plutonic masses two in the 
northern part of Balanahard, one in Lamalum, and one in 
Aoineadh-nam-Muc. Lamprophyre dykes of widely different 
ages are numerous in the north of the island, while basalt 
dykes (Saor-an-Dao) of Tertiary age are to be met with in 
the south. 

Glaciation. Viewed some distance off, the hills of the 
island present certain flowing and undulating features which 
geologists inform us are characteristic results of glacial 

1 The Two Earth- Movements of Colonsay, by W. B. Wright, B.A., 
F.G.S. 



64 COLONSAY 

action. In glacial times, so we are told, the whole of the 
country, like the north of Greenland at the present time, 
was overflowed with ice, which ground and smoothed all 
the rough surfaces. But the softer rocks, readily affected 
by the weather, have in the lapse of intervening ages lost 
much of the rounded outline acquired during the glacial 
period. Nevertheless, a careful examination will discover 
well - smoothed and well - striated surfaces. These striae, 
which are very well seen on the rocks rising from the 
strand, were caused by the rubbing of stones as they were 
pushed along the surface by moving glaciers. They agree 
in the general direction in which they run east to west 
and this shows that the ice, as might be expected, flowed 
from the mainland. Here and there, in hollows and on 
the hill-sides, boulders carried by the ice, differing in 
structure from the surrounding rocks, are met with. 
Messrs Wright and Bailey have identified boulders of 
granite from Glen Fyne, porphyries from Loch Fyne, 
pebbly sandstones and red conglomerates from an unknown 
source ; also schists, such as those of Jura and Crinan, and 
other kinds of rocks not entering into the formation of 
Colonsay. These " erratics," which were carried along by 
the ice, point to a prolonged movement from the easterly 
direction. 

Boulder clay or till is met with in hollows in various 
localities. It is usually a reddish coloured, gritty clay, quite 
unstratified, and abundantly charged with angular and sub- 
angular stones and boulders, not a few of which show 
finely striated surfaces. Many of the stones are of local 
origin, while others come from a distance. The distribution 
of the boulder clay confirms the supposition regarding the 
direction from which the ice came. It is generally found 
in situations sheltered from the full brunt of the ice as it 
flowed from the mainland. Ant-Allt-ruadh (the Red Burn) 
has probably derived its name from the discoloi'ation of its 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 65 

waters, in time of flood, by this deposit through which it 
grooves its channel. 

Superficial Deposits. The principal of these are: (1) 
Raised Beach Deposits, (2) Boulder Clay, (3) Peat, 
(4) Alluvium, and (5) Blown Sands. The most fertile and 
easily worked soils in the island originated from raised 
beach deposits laid down at the time when the sea over- 
flowed the land to various levels at and below the 100-feet 
contour. Though the soils are usually of a light stony 
nature, they yield good crops. The arable land of 
Balanahard, Port - an - Tigh - mhoir, East Kiloran, Lower 
Kilchattan, Machrina, Ardskenish, Garvard, and some other 
places, as well as Oransay, are of this character. Boulder 
clay is expensive to work, but with good drainage and 
tillage yields good crops. The principal areas of it are West 
Kiloran, Upper Kilchattan, Laon Airidh, West Scalasaig, 
and Balaromin-dubh. Much of the low-lying land, mostly 
meadow, such as Kiloran meadows and the low ground 
bordering Loch Fada Blar-an-Deabhaidh, Leana-ghlas, etc. 
is composed of peat. Unless well looked after in the 
matter of drainage and top-dressing, grass in these meadows 
is apt to die out and be replaced by less nutritious 
plants, such as the Jointed Rush (Frafann), sedges, mosses, 
and others of a semi-aquatic nature. The principal areas 
of alluvium to be met with are the low-lying parts of Fang 
in Kiloran, Leana-na-Cachaleith in Kilchattan, and Moine 
Thomach in Scalasaig. Tracts of blown sand, irregular and 
billowy in outline, are to be seen in the north and south 
ends of the island. 

Over most of the hilly land there is a layer of peat, of 
some depth in the hollows, becoming thin towards the tops 
of the hills, and frequently allowing bare rock to be exposed 
on the summits. That the peat layer is gradually increasing 
in depth may be observed in the peat-cutting areas, where 

5 



66 COLONSAY 

trenches that are made in cutting peat for fuel are seen, 
in the course of years, to be filling up. When cutting is 
done, the top spit with the covering vegetation is removed 
and laid aside ; after the available layers of peat have 
been removed, it is set back in the bottom of the trench. 
Although the growing process of the peat is noticeable in 
moist places, it is not so apparent on the dry hill-tops. 

Besides those already enumerated, many intermediate 
grades of soil are to be met with throughout the island 
dark, hazel and yellow loams, soils containing a large propor- 
tion of humus, and others of a sandy nature, with possibly 
small areas of calcareous soils in Uragaig and some other 
places. There is no available record of the soils having 
been analysed. One of the most fertile loams in the island 
has been formed by the decay of the "Scalasaig granite." 
" Much of the fertility of the districts bordering on the sea 
is derived from shelly sand which the Atlantic supplies 
more or less abundantly to all the islands of the Inner and 
Outer Hebrides. This sand supports a beautifully green turf, 
which in summer time is gay with wild flowers, affording 
colour effects for which the landscape painter may search 
the pasture-lands of the mainland in vain. The greater 
part of Oransay is of this character." 1 

Landscape and scenery are largely dependent on geological 
structure. Hard rocks resist disintegration and form hills, 
while the softer and more destructible materials crumble 
away into hollows and valleys. Every prattling stream that 
finds its way to the sea assists in the process of landscape 
sculpture. The running water carves out the hollows and 
the valleys by cutting and grooving the channels of the 
streams deeper and ever deeper, carrying away the loosened 

1 "Notes on the Geology of Colonsay and Oransay," by James Geikie, 
LL.D., F.R.S., F.R.S.E., etc., of H.M. Geological Survey (Tramactions 
of the Geological Society of Glasgow, vol. vi. part ii., 1878-79, 
1879-80). 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATION 67 

material in its downward course. Without considering its 
rocky aspect, which possibly strikes the traveller from the 
south as nothing short of remarkable, the predominating 
note in the island's landscape is the flowing and undulating 
outline acquired during the glacial period. It is true, 
however, that the softer rocks are yielding to the 
disintegrating influence of the weather, and that the 
characteristic results of the ice are being slowly but surely 
effaced. 

Rocks and Flora. Owing to the identical structure of 
Coll, Tiree, and the Outer Hebrides, we would expect to find 
their floras very much alike in composition. Such, in fact, 
is the case ; but while Mr M 'Vicar, in his Notes on the 
Flora of Western Inverness, classes Tiree with the Outer 
Hebrides, he points out that the flora of Coll has many 
features in common with that of the schistose islands. In 
the actual records of plants there is a greater resemblance 
between the floras of the schistose and gneissose islands than 
between either of them and those of the basaltic formations. 
It should be noted, however, that the soil in many of the 
most prolific localities in the former has not been derived 
from the rocks of which the islands are composed, but has 
been deposited during the raised-beach periods. It is 
probably of these raised-beach deposits that much of the 
low-lying and most fertile land of the islands Coll, Tiree, 
Barra, etc. is composed. 

A larger number of plants are found in the South Inner 
Hebrides than in any of the other groups. The many other 
kinds of rocks, besides the schists, entering into the struc- 
ture of the islands may help to enrich their flora. Certain 
calcicole plants are known to occur on the limestone in 
Islay, and even in Colonsay, where the area occupied by this 
rock is restricted to very narrow limits. The flora of 
Lismcre is characterised by the common occurrence of 



68 COLONSAY 

certain species Wall Rue and Hartstongue Ferns, Rock 
Rose, etc. which show a preference for lime. 

Plants are found on the basaltic formation which have 
not been recorded from the South Inner Hebrides. Some 
species, again, are common to both groups of islands that are 
wanting in the Outer Hebrides ; while a still fewer number 
are found in the Outer Hebrides and on the basaltic islands 
that are absent from the South Inner Hebrides. 



CHAPTER IV 

WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 

Natural Woods. 1 There are two natural woods Coille-mhor 
and Coille-bheag on the eastern slopes of the northern half 
of the island, and there is reason to believe that formerly 
they extended over a much larger area of the island than 
they now cover. The woods principally consist of birch of 
the Tomentosa section. Varieties of Betula alba were dis- 
covered, but not the type; investigations in this direction, 
however, were not searching. There is a good proportion of 
oak (one specimen being identified as Quercus pedunculata 
and another as Q. sessiliflora) in Coille-mhor ; and of Aspen 
(Populus tremula) in Coille-bheag, where some trees 30 to 35 
feet high are to be seen. Hazel, Rowan, Willow, HaAvthorn, 
and Holly also enter into the composition of the woods. A 
few good-sized Ash-trees are to be seen in Glaic-an-Uinnsinn, 
but it is doubtful if they are truly indigenous. Near the 
beginning of last century a path from Colonsay House was 
made through Coille-mhor to a summer-house (an Tigh 
C6intich) at Cul-Salach, and it is possible that the Ash- 
trees were then planted. 

Although many of the old Birch-trees are dying out, the 
woods are being rejuvenated by young plantations of Birch 

1 This paper on " Jsatural Woods and Plantations" was read 
before the Edinburgh Botanical Society at their meeting on 8th 
April 1909. 

69 



70 COLONSAY 

and Aspen, which are naturally springing up and contending 
for supremacy with an annual luxuriant growth of bracken. 
The Woodbine twines over the trees, and festoons along the 
edges of the numerous rocky gullies that cut up these slopes ; 
and the Ivy has climbed up and formed pretty evergreens of 
the more stunted of the forest trees. The Prickly Toothed 
Buckler Fern grows in profusion, and the little Filmy Fern 
is also to be seen under mossy banks. White felspathic 
grits underlie Coille-bheag, and grey phyllites is the 
principal rock in the vicinity of Coille-mhor, the better 
condition of the rabbits in the latter being, no doubt, due to 
the more grassy herbage of the phyllites on which they feed. 

Estate Plantations. The earliest planted trees now to 
be seen in the island are a few old specimens of Ash and 
Elm, survivors of a semicircular line of trees which marked 
the boundary of the original mansion-house garden. These, 
together with a clump on the southern slope of Beinn-a- 
Sgoltaire, are believed to have been planted more than a 
century and a half ago possibly soon after the first part 
of the mansion-house had been built, in 1722. In his Tour 
(1772), Pennant remarks on the vigorous growth of the trees 
around Colonsay House. Other trees within the policies, now 
grown to a considerable size, were planted about a century 
ago. The first extensive planting of trees began about .eighty 
to ninety years ago, when Cnoc Calanda, Pairc Dharaich, 
Caolachadh, Fail-na-Muc, and Glaic-a-Chuill were, in the 
course of years, successively planted. A number of smaller 
plantations, including that at the Manse and Allt-Euadh in 
Scalasaig, were planted by Lord Colonsay about fifty years ago. 

Such was their tardiness in making headway when plant- 
ing in the island first began, that it was considered amply 
satisfactory if the trees grew sufficiently to form good cover. 
For the first ten years or so they made little progress, and 
many places had to be planted over and over again. Not 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 71 

until the trees had grown sufficiently to give shelter to one 
another was the annual growth at all apparent. Protection 
from animals and shelter from winds were provided at first 
by dry-stone dykes 5 feet high, extensively built for the 
purpose. Alder and Sea-Buckthorn were planted along the 
edges most exposed to the prevailing winds. For wet 
situations Alder and various species of Poplar were used. 
Poplars did not last well, and they were also liable to be 
blown over. Native trees Birch, Oak, Rowan, etc. have 
sprung up in hilly ground where planted trees did not grow. 
The most commonly planted of deciduous trees are Ash, 
Elm, Beech, Sycamore, and Alder, mixed with a lesser 
number of Lime, Horse-Chestnut, Turkey Oak, White Beam, 
White Willow, etc. The Ash, though one of the fastest 
growing and most useful of the trees, is liable to decay. 
The Beech grows well in dry situations, and has not yet 
shown any signs of unhealthiness. While most of the trees 
Ash, Oak, Conifers, etc. lose their lower branches in dense 
shade, those of the Beech have, in many cases, retained their 
vitality arid still produce leaves. This is also the case with 
the Lime, Chestnut, and perhaps a few other kinds. Of 
coniferous trees the Larch, Scots Pine, Silver Fir, and 
Norwegian Spruce have thriven best. The Larch has pro- 
duced the most valuable timber, but the Silver Firs are the 
handsomest trees. A few other species Cluster, Mountain, 
and Corsican Pines are also planted. Owing to its tendency 
to fall over at an early age, the Cluster Pine is often seen 
with the lower portion of the stem prostrate. Coniferous 
trees, as a rule, do not take kindly to full exposure to strong 
winds. Cupressus macrocarpa has not been planted as a 
forest tree, but it appears suitable for the climate. Rhodo- 
dendrons, which were first planted for cover where the woods 
were getting thin about thirty years ago, are now thoroughly 
at home, and every year hundreds of seedlings are spon- 
taneously springing up. 



72 



COLONSAY 



The average annual rate of growth of all the plantations 
from the time of planting has not exceeded 6 inches. Trees 
of Cupressus macrocarpa and Acer pseudoplatanus in good 
soil and in an exceptionally well - sheltered situation at 
Kiloran grew at the rate of 1 foot 10 inches per annum for 
twenty-five years ; but that is quite an exceptionally fast rate 
of growth for this island. 

MEASUREMENTS OF SOME OF THE LARGEST TREES IN THE ISLAND. 



Kind of Tree. 


Age. 


Height. 


Girth of Stem 
at 5 ft. from 
the Ground. 






years. 


ft. in. 


ft. in. 




Ash 


90-100 


83 


5 7 




., 




70 


9 2 




Elm 




78 


7 6 




Beech . 




74 


5 10J 




Chestnut 




69 


4 11 




>f 




60 


7 3 




Sycamore 
Lime 




71 6 

74 


7 5 
6 4) 




Alder . 




68 


5 8 




Larch . 


80-90 


71 6 


3 2 




)i 




70 


4 4 




Scots Pine 




73 


4 




Cluster ,, 




62 6 


5 3 








56 


8 3 




Norway Spruce 




58 


3 8 




Silver Fir 




67 


6 7 




Picea Webbiana 




68 


5 2 




Douglas Fir . 




47 


2 11J 




Spreading Elm 


150 


50 


9 


Spread of branches 










90ft. 


Cupressus 


54 


69 


11 10 


Very short bole ; 


TfldCTOCdTpd 








girth taken at 2 ft. 










from the ground. 










This tree was grown 










from seed sent by 
Colonel (afterwards 










General) Mitchell 










from India. 



The records from Skerryvore Lighthouse show that these 
islands are more subject to stormy weather than any other 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 73 

part of the British coast, and the evil effect on the develop- 
ment of trees is manifested by the extremely slow annual 
rate of growth. The island of Tiree, the land lying nearest 
to Skerry vore, is destitute of trees. In Colonsay the planta- 
tion of Glaic-a-Chuill, which extends well up to the top of 
Beinn-a-Sgoltaire, provides a striking example of the retard- 
ing effects of exposure to winds on the growth of some kinds 
of trees. The plantation is more than sixty years old, and 
even in the sheltered hollow at the base of the hill, where 
the soil is also much better, the trees do not exceed 60 feet 
in height an annual growth rate of something less than a 
foot while at higher elevations the trees make little or no 
progress. The following are measurements of four pigmy 
trees growing near the top of the hill (elevation about 350 
feet). They are not taller than the heather among which 
they grow, but they are still green and living : Larch (a), 
height 1 foot 11 inches, girth of stem 2 inches; Larch (b), 
height 2 feet 2 inches, girth 5| inches, spread of branches 
2 feet 9 inches ; Scots Pine, height 1 foot 9 inches, girth 1^ 
inches ; Spruce, height 1 foot 2 inches. In the shelter of 
the dry-stone dyke close at hand, Spruce and Larch have 
grown to the height of the dyke but no higher. 

The early decay of such trees as the Ash and Elm may 
sometimes be due to the nature of the ground, as the soil in 
many places is too shallow to produce heavy timber or to 
sustain the trees in a healthy, growing condition for long. 
Often when they are blown over by strong winds the roots 
lift up all the soil along with them and leave the bare rock 
exposed. As the result of a moist climate, and one that 
is detrimental to the health of the trees, we generally find 
the stems and branches with a luxuriant growth of moss, 
lichens, etc. Trees with a hard, smooth bark, the Beech in 
particular, and those that shed their bark, as the Birch, Scots 
Pine, etc., as well as young trees that are growing rapidly, 
are sometimes not so much infested with this form of vegeta- 



74 COLONSAY 

tion; but exceptions are not infrequent in every case. 
Parmelia perlata, Nyl., is the commonest of the lichens. 
Usnea barbata, Fr., gives the trees a peculiarly hoary aspect. 
It is sometimes seen growing on the south-west but not on 
the north-west side of the trunks. Sticta pulmonaria, Ach. 
(Tree Lungwort) is common on the Ash, Oak, Sycamore, etc. 
Pannaria plumbea, Lightf., and species of Pertusaria, etc., 
are less frequently seen. The following are among the 
commonest of the mosses found growing on the stems and 
branches : Eurhynchium myosuroides, Schpr. (on the Birch), 
Ulota phyllantha, Brid. (Ash), Hypnum cupressiforme, var. 
resupinatum, Schpr. (White Willow), Hypnum cupressiforme, 
var. filiforme, Brid. (Larch), Metzgeria furcata, Eaddi, and 
Brachythecium rutabulum, Bruch and Schpr. 

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. The following list may not 
be without interest as being among those plants that thrive 
under the influence of the sea air. It should be remarked, 
however, that all those noted are growing in sheltered situa- 
tions in Colonsay House grounds near the centre of the island. 

Evergreens. Rhododendrons (R. ponticuni) thrive in 
various kinds of soils and situations, and in early summer 
make a pretty display with a profusion of their purple-violet 
flowers. The first plants, which were introduced about sixty 
years ago from Ardlussa in Jura, have developed into large 
specimens 20 feet high and 40 feet through. Seedlings from 
the woods were planted by their Majesties King Edward VII. 
and Queen Alexandra in commemoration of their visit to the 
island on 29th August 1902. The Holly, though growing 
naturally in exposed situations, produces berries in any 
quantity only in sheltered places about Kiloran woods. The 
Common Laurel (Prunus lauro-cerasus) is one of the most 
valuable evergreens, readily breaking into growth after it is 
cut back. The Portugal Laurel (P. lusitanicus}, though 
beautiful in the young state, has not lasted so well as the 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 75 

Common Laurel. The Sweet Bay or Bay Laurel (Laurus 
nobilis), from which the laurel wreaths were made by the 
ancients, also succeeds well. Escallonia macrantha, intro- 
duced by Messrs Veitch's collector William Lobb from Chili 
in 1847, has proved a most desirable acquisition to the local 
list of evergreens, growing into good-sized bushes and 
forming large expansive hedges. It combines glossy foliage 
with a profusion, in early spring, of rose-carmine flowers, 
and a dense habit of growth. Kegarded on the mainland as 
a tender shrub (and here, too, plants have been cut down 
in severe winters), it is found growing in quantity only in 
the south-western counties of England, where the flowers are 
sold to visitors at watering-places. Propagation is readily 
effected by layers. Aucuba japonica (the best evergreen for 
smoky towns) in its variegated form, Laurustinus (Viburnum 
Tinus), the Holm or Evergreen Oak (Quercus Ilex), and 
Mahonia (Berberis Aquifolium) suit the climate. Kinds of 
Euonymus with variegated leaves make pretty objects in 
sheltered situations. Cotoneasters do well in exposed 
positions. Veronica speci'osa, an attractive evergreen from 
Van Diemen's Land, bearing numerous spikes of mauve- 
coloured flowers in the depth of winter, and V. salicifolia, 
now springing up in places spontaneously from seed, are other 
desirable though old-fashioned subjects. Aralia (Fatsia) 
japonica has proved hardy in the shrubbery, and its large, 
glossy leaves make it a valuable evergreen shrub. In 1908 
one specimen bloomed profusely, and remained in flower from 
the end of autumn till the new year. Desfontainea spinosa y 
another of W. Lobb's introductions from Chili (1850), 
Chamcerops Fortunei, a Chinese Palm, and a species of 
Yucca which flowered freely in 1907, and is now 12 feet 
in height with a stem 1| foot in girth (3 feet from the 
ground), have been growing out of doors for years. After 
flowering, the head of the Yucca divided into three shoots. 
Deciduous. The most showy of those introduced include 



76 COLONSAY 

Lilac, Laburnum, Mock Orange, Weigela, shrubby Spiraeas, 
and Deutzias. The Snowberry spreads rapidly in sheltered 
places and is suitable for shady situations, and the Flowering 
Currant (Ribes sanguineum) has been found growing spon- 
taneously in the woods. Fuchsia Riccartoni grows into large 
shrubs, but it has been cut down by frost in severe winters. 
Hydrangeas are a feature, a row on the east side of a Haw- 
thorn hedge near the mansion-house producing in an average 
season hundreds of huge corymbs of blossom in white, pink, 
and blue shades. The Lemon - scented Verbena (Lippia 
citriodora) developed stems 3| inches in diameter and 11 
inches in girth. These measurements are of one of a few 
stems from the same plant, a seventeen years' growth, killed 
<lown to the ground during the severe winter 1894-5. 

Conifers look well in the young state, but they do not last. 
As they increase in height and their heads become exposed 
to the winds they gradually succumb. For ornamental 
purposes, Cupressus Laicsoniana, raised from seed sent from 
Vancouver about twenty-eight years ago, has proved the 
most valuable of the conifers yet introduced. C. macrocarpa, 
from the same source, is developing rapidly into large trees. 
Araucaria imbricata (Monkey Puzzle), Cedrus Deodar a 
(Deodor or Indian Cedar), Pinus excelsa (Bhotan Pine), 
Picea Pindrow, P. excelsa (Common Spruce), and Juniperus 
.recurva are among those that have been planted, with more 
or less satisfactory results during the earlier stages of their 
.growth. 

Lochs. Besides the two principal lochs described below, 
there are others in the island of smaller size, e.g. Loch Colla 
(7 acres), Dubh-loch, Loch-na-Sguid, Lochan-a-Bhraghad, 
Loch-a-Eaonabuilg, Fionn Loch, Lochan Breac, etc. Most 
of the lochs have considerable areas of marshy land along 
their margins. A few years ago, Trout from Loch Fada 
were placed in Loch-na-Sguid by a visitor staying at the 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 77 

hotel, and these appear to have multiplied. With the excep- 
tion perhaps of Eels, the others named are destitute of fish. 

Loch Fada, the largest sheet of fresh water in the island, 
and cutting through about half its breadth almost due east and 
west, is 14- miles in length, averaging less than ^ mile in 
width. It is about 124 feet above sea-level, and divided 
naturally into three divisions, each beaiing a local name 
Locha-na-Pairce Duibh (east loch), Locha Meadhoin or Locha 
Gortain Artair (middle loch), and Locha 'n lar (west loch). 
The public way is carried over between the east and 
middle divisions at "an Deabhadh." Although the road 
was formed there nearly fifty years ago, and much material 
was carted in at the time and since, to give it a firm 
bottom, it is still sinking. The out-going stream, which finds 
its exit into the sea at Kiloran Bay, is from the north side of 
the east loch. The water is of a more or less brown, peaty 
nature, and well stocked with Trout. There are considerable 
stretches of flat, marshy land on the north side, while the 
southern margin along the base of the hills is frequently 
rocky. The deepest spot found (about 25 feet) is near Rudha 
Choilich in the west division : few places, however, exceed 
10 feet in depth. Along the shallow margins of both sides 
of the middle loch the decaying stems and roots of numerous 
trees are still to be seen. They are locally regarded as species 
of Bog Oak, but Mr S. Grieve records in addition (see Proc. 
Soc. Ant. Scot, 1882-3, p. 360) the finding of immense 
stumps of Goat Willow (Salix caprcea, L.) along the shores 
of the loch. Nuts, presumably acorus, were commonly 
found by persons cutting peat in the neighbourhood. 

The three commonest and most conspicuous plants of the 
lochs are the White Water Lily, Common Reed, and Bottle 
Sedge, forming, in places, three more or less well-marked 
zones of vegetation. The Water Lily, during the flowering 
season in early summer, with its fresh green setting of reeds, 
makes a pretty display. Scirpus lacustris is mostly found 



78 COLONSAY 

on the rocky southern side, while Cladium Mariscus is more 
abundant at the east end. Litorella uniflora, Juncus bulbosus 
(in a variety of shade and form), Myriophyllum alternifolium, 
Potentilla palusiris, Menyanthes trifoliata, besides other 
marsh and aquatic plants, are common along the shallow 
water and marshy ground at the edges. Beyond the reed 
zone the water suddenly deepens, and this on more than one 
occasion has given an unexpected ducking to the unwary 
juvenile hunter after water-fowls' eggs. This part might well 
have formed the banks of the original lake, when the water 
stood much below its present level and the trees whose de- 
caying remains now lie under water reared their leafy heads 
over dry land. 

Callitriche autumnaUs, Potamogeton pusillus, etc., driven 
ashore in windy weather or torn up by water-fowl, indicate 
to some extent the curious and interesting vegetation that 
develops under the placid waters of the deeper part of the 
loch. The plants in the following list were obtained by 
dragging from the loch boats, and identified, along with those 
from Loch Sgoltaire, by Mr Arthur Bennett, F.L.S. During 
dragging operations large masses of Callitriche autumnaUs 
and Potamogeton several feet in length were brought to 
the surface. 

Callitriche autumnaUs. Utricularia neglecta. 

Potamogeton perfoliatus. Naias flexilis. 

pusilhis. Myriophyllum alternifolium. 
, , var. tennis- Sparganium minimum, 

simus ? Juncus supinus, var . fiuitans. 

heterophyllus, Litorella uniflora. ' 

Sturrockii. Charafragilis. 

nitens, , , vulgaris. 

filiformis. , , aspera. 

Elatine hexandra. Nitella opaca. 

Utricularia minor. Ranunculus Drouetii. 

The loch lies in an old valley which, at a remote period, 
had been blocked in on its western end by the throwing up 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 79 

by the sea of the great shingle bar at Druim Clach, 
belonging to the highest of the raised beaches and now 
forming the site of several of the most fertile crofts of 
Kilchattan. It may be taken for granted, however, that 
this did not occur after the submerged trees grew. The 
lake must have been already formed when the trees grew 
along its margin. The cause of the submergence of the trees 
is extremely doubtful. As far as investigations have gone, 
there is no evidence to show that they extend more than 
a few feet below the surface, and it is possible that the 
mere growth of peat at Kiloran might have closed up 
the outlet and so submerged them. It is, however, well 
to remember that a similar submergence of trees has 
been proved in many Norwegian lakes in cases where 
the level of the outlet of the lake cannot have changed, 
and it is supposed that the forests grew at a time when 
the climate was much drier and the level of the lake 
consequently lower. Such may have easily been the case 
with Loch Fada. 

Loch Sgoltaire is a triangular-shaped, islet-studded loch 
about 26 acres in extent and lying at an elevation of 200 
feet. The name is derived from the Gaelic Sgoilte (cleft), 
in reference, doubtless, to the apparent cleavage of the 
hills where the loch is situated. Evidently its origin is 
totally different from that of Loch Fada, and the hollow in 
which its waters now repose may very probably be due to 
the scooping power, during glacial times, of the great ice- 
sheet that passed westwards over Colonsay from the mainland. 
The greatest depth (50-60 feet) is at the narrow apex towards 
the north-east end. The bottom is generally rocky, and the 
depth becomes less as the loch widens out westward. The 
loch has a natural outlet at both ends, the water from the 
east or Bealach-a-Mhuilinn end being formerly utilised for 
driving a muileann-dubh, while the overflow water from the 
west end provides the motive-power for the corn-mill at 



80 COLONSAY 

Kiloran. The water is pure and good, and the loch forms 
the source of water-supply for the mansion-house. It is 
said that the Trout which inhabit it rival in excellence the 
far-famed Loch Leven Trout. 

The hills surrounding the loch dip rather suddenly down 
to the water's edge, except at the west end, where there is 
marshy ground. The margins are usually rocky and stony, 
with, consequently, an absence of vegetation such as is to be 
seen in the neighbourhood of Loch Fada. The following 
plants were obtained by dragging from the boat in the 
beginning of August, Callitriche autumnalis and Potamogeton 
heterophyllus being particularly abundant : 

Potamogeton Sturrockii. Nitella translucens. 

,, perfoliatus. Callitriche autumnalis. 

,, heterophyllus. Myriophyllum spicatum. 

,, gramincefolius. ,, alternifolium. 

Chara fragilis. Litorella uniftora. 

The loch is studded with some small islets Eilean Beag, 
Eilean Dubh nam B6, Eilean Dubh Iain Mhitchel. The 
largest, which is wooded, is surmounted by the ruins of an 
old fort, consisting of an inner and an outer work still in a 
fair state of preservation. Although of some thickness, the 
walls are but flimsily built of thin flaggy stones. The local 
tradition that the fort was built by Sir James M 'Donald, 
after his escape from confinement in Edinburgh Castle, is 
confirmed by Gregory in his History of the Western 
Highlands, page 372, where the following passage occurs : 
"About the 18th of June (1615), Sir James arrived at the 
Isle of Colonsay with several hundred men, and there killed 
a number of cattle for provisions. While here he built a 
fort on a small island in a fresh-water loch." The fort had 
been approached from the northern shore, where the loch is 
not so deep, by a submerged path in an ingenious manner. 
Large slabs of stone were piled at intervals on the top of 
each other in the deeper places ; and the defenders, who- 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 81 

knew the direction of these steps, were able, with the help of 
staves, to cross and recross with safety. 

Surface vegetation, Loch-a-Raonabuilg, 13th August 
1908: 

(1) A band of White Water Lily surrounds a central oval 
space of deep water (probably with submerged plants) about 
acre in area; (2) a zone of Eeeds ; (3) mixed vegetation 
at the edges, including Carex inflata, Potentilla palustris, 
Menyanthes trifoliata, Cladiwn Mariscus, Mentha aquatica, 
Juncus acutiflorus, Agrostis alba, Myric.a Gale, Sphagnum, 
and other mosses. 

Carex lasiocarpa is abundant at the margin of Loch-na- 
Sgiiid. 

Pastures. The bulk of the grassy pastures and the arable 
land lies between sea-level and 250 feet elevation. From 
250 to 350 feet (roughly) there is a good deal of bushy sedge 
and rush-covered ground and areas of heathy moor. Above 
350 feet the hills, with the exception of those of phyllite 
formation, which have grassy patches up to their summits, 
are clothed with heather. Slopes covered with heather 
down to the rocky shores are to be seen on the east side 
of the northern part of the island. 

Three well-marked zones of vegetation may again be 
observed over smaller areas in the hilly pastures : (a) heather- 
covered hill-tops, (&) grassy slopes, and (c) bushy, often 
marshy, hollows overgrown with Juncus acutiflorus, species 
of Carex, Molinia, Agrostis, Erica tetralix, Myrica Gale, 
Salix, etc. More frequently the grassy zone is wanting, 
or is confined to small patches with herbage in varying 
proportions, according as the ground is well drained or 
not, of Festuca ovina, Nardus stricta, Juncus squarrosus, 
Carex linervis, Carex flacca, Molinia, etc. The heather in 
heathy parts is often mixed with Carex binervis, Scirpus 
ccespitosus, Molinia, Luzula, Anthoxanthiim odoratum, etc. ; 



82 COLONSAY 

certain species preponderating to a greater degree in certain 
situations than in others, every hill-side presenting consider- 
able variety in species, and more so in the frequency with 
which the species occur. 

There is reason to believe that grassy pastures, during the 
last half-century, have decreased in area and deteriorated in 
quality as regards the composition of the herbage. What 
within living memory was greensward has now in many 
places a permanent covering of heather, or is, in summer, 
.adorned with fronds of the ubiquitous bracken. The 
heather is slowly but surely spreading over the lower 
hillocks and slopes. Much of the most porous and best- 
drained land, through which its thick rhizomes can easily 
penetrate, is overrun by the bracken. The aesthetic value 
to the landscape of its summer green and its autumn tints 
is more than outweighed by its debilitating effect on the 
attenuated herbage underneath. 

The herbage in the majority of the pastures, whether well 
drained or not, has a foundation, often dense, of moss an 
undesirable product of a too moist climate. A few fields on 
the boulder clay have been noticed where this form of 
vegetation is only present in comparatively small quantities. 
Animals cannot help grazing it along with the other herbage, 
but it is avowedly bad for them and difficult to digest. 
Hypnum squarrosum, Hypnum splendens, Barbula ruralis, 
.are among the common species. 

Influence of Sheep on Pastures. Although it has not been 
directly proved that sheep have actually exterminated a single 
species of plant, there is evidence to show that they have to 
a certain extent upset the balance of nature, and aided in the 
preponderance of certain kinds over others, the coarsest and 
least valuable over the finest and most nutritious. With 
their narrow noses and sharp teeth, sheep nibble the finer 
grasses and herbage close to the ground, and in the perpetual 
struggle for supremacy that is silently but constantly going 



WOODS, LOCHS, AND PASTURES 83 

on in the vegetable world, these are gradually being exter- 
minated and replaced by the stronger herbage. It is a 
matter of common knowledge that the White or Dutch 
Clover is not nearly so abundant as it used to be. The 
Heath Vetch, formerly a well-known plant of the hill-sides, 
is now confined to ledges and other more or less inaccessible 
situations. Even the hardy Hazel, where it used to be 
common is represented by but a few scrubby bushes. It 
may be remarked, however, that although isolated headlands, 
islets, and other places inaccessible to grazing animals were 
examined, no species were found which were not seen in 
other parts of the island. 

Mixed stock graze the rough pastures more economically 
and more evenly than when only one kind of animal is 
allowed to run over them. Cattle do not eat the herbage as 
close as sheep, and they eat more of the rough with the fine. 
Sheep, on the other hand, eat certain plants Buttercup, 
Hardhead, Ragwort, etc. which cattle dislike ; and horses, 
besides showing a partiality to plants which neither cows 
nor sheep eat, graze the rank herbage on which cattle have 
left their manure, and which is passed over by cattle them- 
selves. Goats, again, eat many plants and certain lichens 
(Feusag liath, etc.) which are not touched by other domestic 
animals. 

COMMON PLANTS EATEN BY CERTAIN ANIMALS ONLY 
(From Withering's English Botany) 

Spearwort (Glas-leun). Horses eat it ; cows, sheep, goats, 
and swine refuse it. 

Corn Spurry (Carran). Horses, sheep, goats, and swine 
eat it ; cows refuse it. 

Tormentil (Braonan a' Mhadaidh ruaidh). Cows, sheep, 
and goats eat it ; horses refuse it. 

Silverweed (am Brisgean). Horses, cows, goats, and 
swine eat it ; sheep refuse it. 



84 COLONSAY 

Daisy (Ne6inean). Horses, cows, and sheep refuse it. 
Colt's-foot (Gallan Greanach). Goats and sheep eat it ; 
cows are fond of it : horses refuse it. 

Certain plants, e.g. seashore and bog plants, cornfield 
weeds, etc., are confined more or less to certain situations, 
and need hardly be looked for elsewhere. Some Louse - 
wort, Orchis, Bitter Flax, etc. indicate poor pastures ; others 
and these are important for the agriculturist to know, 
as they can be controlled by drainage the state of the 
ground as regards moisture. In dry situations Leguminosae, 
Rosacese Composite, Ericaceae, Scrophulariacese, Plantaginese, 
Gramineae, Filices, etc., are largely represented; while 
the prevalence of Ranunculacese, Lythraceee, Umbelliferse, 
Polygonacese, Juncaceae, and Cyperacese may point to opposite 
conditions. 

COMMON PLANTS INDICATING 
WELL-DRAINED SITUATIONS WET GROUND 

High Ground. 

Fine-leaved Heath. Cross-leaved Heath. 

Bracken. Sharp-flowered Jointed Rush. 

Fescues. Sedges. 

Wood Rushes. Common, Spike, Club, 

and Bog Rushes. 

Wild Strawberry. Bog Pimpernel. 

Milkwort. Bog Starwort. 

Sweet Vernal Grass. Purple Melic-grass. 

Low Ground. 

Spear Thistle. Marsh Thistle. 

Ragwort. Bog Ragwort. 

Foxglove. Ragged Robin. 

Daisy. Purple Loosestrife. 

Meadow Foxtail. Marsh Foxtail. 

Fine Bent-grass. Marsh Bent-grass. 



WOODS, LOCHS, AXD PASTURES 85 

Cultivated Ground. 

Corn Woundwort. Marsh Woundwort. 

Sow-thistles. Knotweeds. 

Mustards. Blinks. 

Oat-grass. Bent-grass. 

Dead-nettle. Toad-rush. 



THE FLORA 1 

IN addition to a numberless host of spore-bearing plants 
(it is said that there are 40,000 kinds of fungi alone), more 
than 100,000 species of flowering plants, from all parts of the 
world, are now known to science. Investigations into regions 
not previously fully explored are still adding to the number. 

Over 2000 species (besides varieties) of flowering plants 
and vascular cryptogams, grouped into 97 natural orders, 
are enumerated in the latest (tenth) edition of the London 
Catalogue o f British Plants. A careful computation by the 
writer of plant records, furnished by Mr Arthur Bennett, 
F.L.S., has resulted in a total of 900 species of flowering 
plants and vascular cryptogams for the whole of the 
"Western Isles. 

The Colonsay list of plants, including Messrs Grieve, 
Miller, and Somerville's records, now amounts to 580 
species and 70 varieties of flowering plants, ferns, and fern- 
allies. The proportion of varieties to species in the latest 
edition of the London Catalogue is, roughly, 3:5; in the local 
list, 1:8. Without considering a quota of common kinds 
possibly still overlooked, it is very probable that the island, 
as a " field " for the critical botanist, is not yet exhausted. 

Martin, in the account he gives of Colonsay in his 

1 Head (in part) before the Botanical Society of Edinburgh at their 
meeting on 10th June 1909. 



THE FLORA - 87 

description of the Western Isles, 1695, mentions that "the 
middle is rocky and heathy, which in most places is prettily 
mingled with thick evergreens of Erica baccifera, Juniper, 
and Cat's-tail." 

Lightfoot accompanied Pennant to the island in July 1772, 
and remained on it for several days. In his Flora Scotica, 
which appeared five years later, Lightfoot records six plants 
(Carum carui, Convolvulus soldanella, Schlerochloa maritima, 
Bromus arvensis, Carex arenaria, Triticum junceum) from 
Oransay, and four (Orchis pyramidalis, Gymnadenia albida, 
Habenaria viridis, Osmunda regalis)hom Colonsay ; he having, 
no doubt, intentionally omitted all the commoner kinds. 

The first systematic investigation of the flora of Colonsay 
was made by Mr Symington Grieve in 1879-81. The results 
of Mr Grieve's researches are embodied in two interesting 
papers read before the Edinburgh Botanical Society in April 
1880 and in July 1881, and afterwards published in the 
Transactions of the Society, vol. xiv., 1883, pp. 66, 219. 
About 350 species of flowering plants and vascular crypto- 
gams, besides mosses, are included in Mr Grieve's lists. 

During a brief stay in the island from 3rd to 5th August 
1886, Mr W. F. Miller found about 265 species and 
varieties, most of which had been previously noted. There 
were some new records for V.C. 102. A short notice with 
reference to this visit afterwards appeared in the Journal 
of Botany, 1886, p. 308. 

While staying at Machrins House in July and August 
1906, the late Mr Alexander Somerville, B.Sc., F.L.S., took a 
keen interest in the local flora. During a prolonged residence 
in the island the writer had made extensive collections of 
native plants, which were examined by Mr Somerville, and, 
with new records of his own he was able, before his 
departure, to raise the list to about 500 species and 
varieties, including previous collectors' records. The most 
interesting finds of the season were the Eock Samphire and 



88 COLONSAY 

the Marsh Helleborine Orchis, then practically two new 
additions to the flora of the West of Scotland. A paper by 
Mr Somerville on the finding of these plants was afterwards 
read before the Edinburgh Field Naturalists' and Micro- 
scopical Society, and before the Natural History Society of 
Glasgow. His subsequent illness and lamented death 
prevented the completion of his intended paper on additions 
to the flora of Colonsay. The writer records with gratitude 
his indebtedness to the deceased gentleman for much kindly 
assistance in the earlier stages of this work : his enthusiasm 
for botany, latterly his favourite pursuit, was inspiring. 

Local Distribution of Plants. The particular situations to 
which certain plants are confined is not, perhaps, a more 
striking feature in their local distribution than the indis- 
criminate manner in which others seem to be scattered 
throughout the island. Unlike the loftier of the islands, 
the elevation (500 feet) is not sufficiently great to affect 
perceptibly the distribution of plants, the same species 
frequently growing both at sea-level and on the summits 
of the hills. Many plants which are affected by exposure 
trees, etc. are only to be seen in sheltered positions, 
more commonly on the eastern half of the island. Others 
Chickweed,. Cleavers, Sow-thistle, Herb Robert, Dock, 
Silverweed, Stonecrop, etc. are found growing down to 
high-water mark and in various situations inland. Some of 
the commonest sea-rock plants Sea-pink, Sea Plantain, Sea 
Spleenwort, and Sea Campion reappear on rocks near the 
centre of the island. Though many species Willows, Grasses 
(Agrostis alba, etc.), Sedges (Car ex Goodenotvti, etc.), Am- 
phibious Buckwheat, Dock, etc., seem to be equally well 
at home in very marshy and in comparatively dry situations, 
the most important factor locally affecting the distribution 
of plants, nevertheless, is the condition of the ground as 
regards drainage. From the geological formation it is seen 



THE FLORA 89 

that ihe crust of the island is formed of hard rock, imper- 
meable to moisture. It is covered with a shallow layer of 
soil, in many places not more than a few inches in depth. 
The rain that falls, instead of percolating downwards as it 
would do if the understratum were pervious, runs along 
the surface of the rock, or lies in natural basins, forming 
marshy ground. The water from such situations does not 
drain away, but is mainly carried off by evaporation a slow 
process, resulting in much loss of heat to the ground. 

Owing to the proportionately large extent of coast-line in 
comparison with the inland area, seashore plants form, as 
might be expected, an important element of the island 
flora. The northern shore-line, with the exception of 
Kiloran Bay and the vicinity, is almost wholly rocky, with 
characteristic sea-rock plants. Salt-marshes, sandy and shingly 
bays, alternate \vith rocky promontories round the southern 
half of the island. Shore pools are frequent on the western 
shore, and are inhabited by curious plants species of Toly- 
pella, Euppia, Chara, Potamogeton, etc. with a decided 
preference for brackish water. 

Characteristic Plants of the Shore 

Plants of the Sea- rocks. Ligusticum scoticum, Spergu- 
laria rupestris, Crithmum maritimum (rare), Beta maritima 
{rare). Asplenium marinum, Sedum roseurn, Silene maritima, 
and Statice maritima, though abundant on the sea-rocks, are 
occasionally found growing in other situations. 

Plants of the Sandy Shore. Salsola Kali, Atriplex 
laciniata, Cakile maritima, Eryngium maritimum (rare). 

Plants of the Salt-marsh. Salicornia herbacea, Suceda 
maritima, Triglochin maritimum, Juncus Gerardi, Scirpus 
maritimus, Glyceria maritima, Carex vulpina, etc. 

The presence or absence of lime is one of the most 
important particulars in which petrology affects the distribu- 



90 COLONSAY 

tion of plants. Though the outcrop of the limestone rock 
is restricted to such small areas that, as a factor in plant 
distribution, it might be thought hardly worth considering, 
yet it is interesting to note that certain alleged lime-loving 
plants e.g., Carlina vulgaris, Orchis pyramidalis, Avena 
pubescens, Thalictrum minus, Phyllitis Scolopendrum, Anthyl- 
lis . Vulneraria have been found growing in the vicinity. 
The neighbourhood is the principal station for Arabis hirsuta* 
and Sisymbrium Thalianum, a plant showing locally a 
partiality for old lime-built walls, has also been found here. 
Comminuted shells supply to the sandy soil of the districts 
bordering the sea an abundance of lime, and provide a 
suitable growing medium for such calcicole plants as Orchis 
pyramidalis, Gentiana Amarella, and possibly others of a 
lime-loving nature. 

The irregular surface of the island, with its great variety 
of soils, is such as to provide situations, within a small area, 
suitable for many kinds of plants. In the bogs, the con- 
sistency of the ground may vary in the compass of a few 
square yards from a quaking quagmire to firm peat, each 
kind of situation supporting different kinds of plants. 
Plants of the Marshy Area (Balanahard bogs) Potentilla 
palustris, Phragmites communis, Ranunculus Flammula, 
Menyanfhes trifoliata, Lytlirum Salicaria, Juncus acutiflorns, 
Agrostis alba, Carex Goodenowii, etc. Firmer ground 
Eriophorum angustifolium, Erica Tetralix, Molinia varia, 
Narthecium ossifragum, Scabiosa Succisa, Potentilla erecta, 
Carex flacca, etc. 

Plants on Circumscribed Areas growing together 
Shingly Shore (Meall-a-Chuilbh, at high-water mark). 
Cnicus lanceolatus, Sedum anglicum, Potentilla Anserina, 
Carex arenaria, Geranium molle, Rumex crispus, Plantago 
Goronopus, Matricaria inodora, Geranium Robertianum. 
Cliffs (Dreis-an-t-Sealgair, north shore). Ligusticum 



THE FLORA 91 

scoticum, Dactylis, Festuca, Lonicera Periclymenum, Rubus, 
Angelica sylvestris. 

Shore Turf (Creagan). Carex binervis, C.flacca, Plantago 
maritima, Statice maritima, Glaux maritima, Cochlearia, 
Festuca, Lotus corniculatus, Potentilla Anserina. 

Blown Sands (Balanahard Bay). Lotus corniculatus, 
Sedum anglicum, Er odium cicatarium, Veronica Chamcedrys, 
Viola Riviniana, Hieracium Pilosella, Galium verum, 
Thymus Serpyllum. 

Gaelic Names. About 200 of the local Gaelic names 
have been collected, and are here included. Some confusion 
exists as to the species to which certain names apply. In 
such cases the names given by the older persons, who had used 
the plants or known them to have been used for particular 
purposes, are adhered to. It has not been ascertained with 
certainty to what plants certain names (Luibh-an-Fhoclain, 
Lus-na-Miadh, Fionndfhuirneach, etc.) locally refer. 

Uses. In the olden days many of the plants found locally 
were put to medicinal and other uses ; but the generation 
which so used the plants has gone the way of all flesh, and 
the information now to be obtained is consequently of a 
fragmentary nature. Had this work been attempted fifty 
years ago, it would doubtless have been attended with a 
much greater measure of success. Such information as 
could be gleaned from the older inhabitants is noted in 
the following pages. It may be mentioned here that in 
the preparation of ointments, etc., the herbs were pounded 
between stones, as contact with iron or steel was believed 
to exercise a deleterious effect on the properties of the 
plants. 

EXPLANATORY 



With few exceptions, the nomenclature of the tenth edition 
of the London Catalogue of British Plants has been adhered 



90 COLONSAY 

tion of plants. Though the outcrop of the limestone rock 
is restricted to such small areas that, as a factor in plant 
distribution, it might be thought hardly worth considering, 
yet it is interesting to note that certain alleged lime-loving 
plants e.g., Carlina vulgaris, Orchis pyramidalis, Avena 
pubescens, Thalictrum minus, Phyllitis Scolopendrum, Anthyl- 
lis . Vulneraria have been found growing in the vicinity. 
The neighbourhood is the principal station for Arabis hirsuta, 
and Sisymbrium Thalianum, a plant showing locally a 
partiality for old lime-built walls, has also been found here. 
Comminuted shells supply to the sandy soil of the districts 
bordering the sea an abundance of lime, and provide a 
suitable growing medium for such calcicole plants as Orchis 
pyramidalis, Gentiana Amarella, and possibly others of a 
lime-loving nature. 

The irregular surface of the island, with its great variety 
of soils, is such as to provide situations, within a small area, 
suitable for many kinds of plants. In the bogs, the con- 
sistency of the ground may vary in the compass of a few 
square yards from a quaking quagmire to firm peat, each 
kind of situation supporting different kinds of plants. 
Plants of the Marshy Area (Balanahard ~bogs)Potentilla 
palustris, Phragmites communis, Ranunculus Flammula, 
Menyanthes trifoliata, Lytlirum Salicaria, Juncus acutiflorus, 
Agrostis alba, Gar ex Goodenowii, etc. Firmer ground 
Eriophorum angustifolium, Erica Tetralix, Molinia varia, 
Narthecium ossifragum, Scabiosa Succisa, Potentilla erecta, 
Carexflacca, etc. 

Plants on Circumscribed Areas growing together 
Shingly Shore (Meall-a-Chuilbh, at high-water mark). 
Cnicus lanceolatus, Sedum anglicum, Potentilla Anserina r 
Carex arenaria, Geranium molle, Rumex crispus, Plantago 
Coronopus, Matricaria inodora, Geranium Robertianum. 
Cliffs (Dreis-an-t-Sealgair, north shore). Ligusticum 



THE FLORA 91 

scoticum, Dactylis, Festuca, Lonicera Periclymenum, Rubus, 
Angelica sylvestris. 

Shore Turf (Creagan). Carex binervis, C. flacca, Plantago 
maritimci, Statice maritima, Glaux maritima, Cochlearia, 
Festuca, Lotus corniculatus, Potentilla Anserina. 

Blown Sands (Balanahard Bay). Lotus corniculatus, 
Sedum anglicum, Er odium cicatarium, Veronica Chamcedrys, 
Viola Riviniana, Hieracium Pilosella, Galium verum, 
Thymus Serpyllum. 

Gaelic Names. About 200 of the local Gaelic names 
have been collected, and are here included. Some confusion 
exists as to the species to which certain names apply. In 
such cases the names given by the older persons, who had used 
the plants or known them to have been used for particular 
purposes, are adhered to. It has not been ascertained with 
certainty to what plants certain names (Luibh-an-Fhoclain, 
Lus-na-Miadh, Fionndfhuirneach, etc.) locally refer. 

Uses. In the olden days many of the plants found locally 
were put to medicinal and other uses ; but the generation 
which so used the plants has gone the way of all flesh, and 
the information now to be obtained is consequently of a 
fragmentary nature. Had this work been attempted fifty 
years ago, it would doubtless have been attended with a 
much greater measure of success. Such information as 
could be gleaned from the older inhabitants is noted in 
the following pages. It may be mentioned here that in 
the preparation of ointments, etc., the herbs were pounded 
between stones, as contact with iron or steel was believed 
to exercise a deleterious effect on the properties of the 
plants. 

EXPLANATORY NOTE 

With few exceptions, the nomenclature of the tenth edition 
of the London Catalogue of British Plants has been adhered 



92 COLONSAY 

to. Realising the importance of having a clear distinction 
between local and general information, care has been taken 
to precede the date of finding the plant only with local 
matter ; what follows is information collected from various 
sources, and not referring particularly to the locality. That in 
connection with orders and genera is of a general character. 

The name of the month refers to the time when the 
plant was found by the writer in flower. 

Gaelic names in general use but not known to be used 
locally are enclosed within brackets. 

Names, uses, etc., borrowed from Cameron's Gaelic Names 
of Plants are marked C. ; those from Withering's English 
Botany are marked W. ; and names from Hogan's Irish and 
Scottish Gaelic Names of Herbs, Plants, Trees, etc., are 
marked I. 

Contractions : 

Ann. = Annual, a plant of one year's duration, e.g. Ground- 
sel, duckweed, Oats, etc. 

Bi. = Biennial, a plant of two years' duration, e.g. Burdock, 
Marsh Thistle, Turnip, etc. 

Per. = Perennial, a plant of more than two years' duration, 
e.g. Daisy, Bracken, Potato, Willow, etc. 

Plants are variable, and, according to their surroundings, 
some may be annuals while others of the same species are 
biennials or even perennials. 



The vegetable kingdom is divided into two main groups : 

(1) Phanerogams, or flowering plants. 

(2) Cryptogams, or flowerless plants. 

Cryptogams, which comprise the lower forms of plant life, 
do not bear manifest flowers nor form seed. They repro- 
duce themselves by spores, hence they are termed spore 
plants. Ferns (Froineach) ; Horse-tail (Clo' uisge C.); 



THE FLORA 93 

Mosses (C6inteach) ; Liver-worts (Ainean-uisge) ; Lichens, 
e.g. Ash-coloured Dog-lichen (Cluas-liath an Fhraoich) ; Tree 
Lungwort (Crotal Coille) ; Pannelia perlata, Njl. (Crotal) ; 
Usnea barbata, Fr. (Feusag-liath) ; Xanthoria parietina, Fr. 
(Rusg buidhe nan Creag), etc. ; Fungi, including Mushrooms 
(Bolgag); Moulds (Cloimh liath) ; Mil-dew (Mil-cheo); 
Algae, such as Seaweed (Feamainn) and fresh-water Confervas 
(Liobhagach-uisge), are all familiar examples of cryptogamic 
plants. The fungi include a multitude of microscopical 
kinds (microbes), many being beneficial, while others (disease 
germs) are hurtful. 

Phanerogams bear flowers with stamens and pistils, and 
usually a perianth consisting of a calyx and corolla. They 
produce seeds containing an embryo, and are therefore known 
as seed-plants. Phanerogams embrace the great majority of 
the best-known plants and the trees. They are divided into 
two main divisions : (a) Angiosperms, comprising practically 
all the flowering plants ; (b) Gymnosperms, including the 
conifers (Pine, Juniper, etc.). 

Div. I. ANGIOSPERMS 

Flowering plants with ovules contained in closed ovaries. 
They are subdivided into two great classes Dicotyledons 
and Monocotyledons. 

Class I. DICOTYLEDONS 

Dicotyledons include fully three-fourths of our flowering 
plants, and are easily distinguished from Monocotyledons 
by their net-veined leaves, and the parts of their flowers 
being usually in fours or fives. Their stems have a pith in 
the middle of fibrous or woody tissue, with a separable bark 
on the outside. Increase in growth takes place by annual 
additions underneath the bark, seen in the cross-section of 
a tree by the appearance of concentric circles, or rings, each 



94 COLONSAY 

one marking a year's growth. By counting these circles the 
age of the tree can be ascertained, and they even indicate 
the nature of the seasons, whether favourable for growth 
or not, through which the tree lived. The leaves of 
Monocotyledons are parallel-veined, and the parts of their 
flowers arranged in threes; in the stem there is neither a 
pith in the centre nor a separable bark outside, and they 
show no annual rings. The embryo has only one seed-leaf ; 
in Dicotyledons there are two a fundamental distinction. 
Dicotyledons are further divided into sub-classes, which is 
beyond the scope of this work to discuss. 

RANUNCULACEJE (the Ranunculus family) 

With the exception of the Traveller's Joy, all the 
British species of the order are herbs. They usually 
have an acrid or, in some cases, a very poisonous juice, 
as in the Monkshood (Fuath Mhadaidh, C.), the roots 
of which have been mistaken for Horse-radish with fatal 
results. The Hellebore (Elebor, C.) is said to have been 
used by the ancient Britons for poisoning their arrows. 
In early summer, such plants of the family as Pseony 
(Lus a' Phione, C.), Columbine (Lus a' Chalmain), and 
Larkspur (Sala Fuiseoige, I.) add much to the beauty of 
gardens. In the depth of winter, the chaste white blossoms 
of the Christmas Rose unfold. The Wood Anemone (Nead 
Coille, I.) is recorded from neighbouring islands. 

Thalictrum, L. 

Perennials, easily recognised by their elegant, maidenhair- 
fern-like foliage. 

T. dunense, Dum. Meadow Rue. Balaromin-mor, shore 
rocks. August. 

T. minus, a collinum (Wallr.). Lesser Meadow Rue. 



THE FLORA 95 

Ru-beag, C. Kocky banks in Ardskenish Glen. Said to 
have been locally used for rheumatism ; it is therefore sure 
to have borne a local name. August. 

T. majus, Crantz. Greater Meadow Rue. Kiloran Bay. 
August. One specimen from Kiloran Bay was described 
by Rev. E. F. Linton as haviiig " broad ovate fruits, near 
T. Kochii." August. 

Ranunculus, L. 

Herbs, partial to moist situations, sometimes entirely 
aquatic. The white Bachelor's Buttons is a double- flowered 
form of It. aconitifolius, a continental species. 

R. Drouetii, F. Schultz. Water Crowfoot. Lion na 
h-Aibhne, C. Loch Fada. Per., July. 

R. Baudotii c. marinus (Arrh. and Fr.). Recorded by 
Mr Somerville. 

R. hederaceus, L. Ivy Crowfoot. Peabar Uisge. Ditches 
and muddy places. Pounded between stones, it was used as 
one of the principal ingredients in poultices for king's-evil. 
Per., May. 

R. sceleratus, L. Celery-leaved Crowfoot. Torachas 
Biadhain, C. Port-mor and near Sguid-a-Leanna. Ann., 
August. The whole plant is very corrosive, and beggars 
use it to ulcerate their feet, which they expose in that state 
to excite compassion. W. 

R. Flammula, L. Lesser Spearwort. Glas-leun. Abun- 
dant in marshy situations. Locally used as a substitute for 
rennet in cheese-making. Per., July. 

R. acris, L. Meadow Crowfoot; Buttercup. Cearban 
Fe6ir. Moist meadows. Leaves, pounded, formed an im- 
portant ingredient in extracting-plasters. Per., June. 

R. repens, L. Creeping Crowfoot. Buidheag, C. Sandy 
ground, Buaile-na-Craoibhe. Per., July. 

R. repens, var. glabratus, Lej. and Court. Kiloran. 



96 COLONSAY 

R. bulbosus, L. Bulbous Crowfoot. Fuile Thalmhuinn, 
C. Garvard, Machrins links, Kiloran Bay, etc. Per., June. 

R. bulbosus, L., var. parvulus. Mossy sand dunes, Kiloran 
Bay. June. 

R. Ficaria, L. Lesser Celandine ; Pilewort. (Searraiche.) 
Grain-aigein, C. One of the earliest spring flowers to 
appear, it brightens the landscape with its glossy yellow 
flowers while many other plants are still dormant. It 
is abundant in situations that, later on, are overgrown 
with bracken. The cylindrical tubers of the roots are, in 
winter, scraped up and eaten by pheasants. Per., May. Its 
roots are still used as a cure for piles, corns, etc. C. They 
were compared to haemorrhoids, and generally used as a 
cure for that malady. 

Caltha, L. 

C. palustris, L. Marsh Marigold. (Lus Buidhe Beall- 
tainn.) Common in wet situations. Per., April. 

Trollius, L. 

T. europxus, L. Globeflower. Leolaicheann (1), C. 
Eecorded by Mr Miller. 

Aquilegia, L. 

A., var. Columbine. (Lus a' Chalmain.) Kiloran woods, 
on the ledge of a low precipice. Per., June. 

BBRBBRIDACE.E (the Barberry family) 

A small order, mostly herbs and shrubs. Evergreen 
species (Mahonia) are ornamental and hardy, thriving 
locally. 

Berberis, L. 

B. vulgaris, L. Barberry. (Gearr - Dhearc. Preas 
Deilgneach.) Introduced, and now growing naturally in a 



THE FLORA 97 

few places in Kiloran. The .roots were sometimes boiled 
and drunk for jaundice. June. A yellow dye is obtained 
from the root. The berries are acid and astringent, and 
sometimes preserved. 

NYMPH.EACE, (the Water Lily family) 

Aquatic plants of great beauty. Victoria regia, the 
Queen of Water Lilies, from the Amazon regions, produces 
leaves measuring 12 feet across. The Sacred Bean of the 
Egyptians (Nelumbium speciosum) is closely allied. 

Castalia, Salisb. 

C. alba, Wood. White Water Lily. Euaimleadh. 
Common in the lochs. A black dye, for dyeing wool and 
yarn, is obtained from the large roots, which are cut up and 
boiled. June. 

PAPAVERACB.E (the Poppy family) 

Annuals, abounding in milky juice and remarkable for 
their narcotic properties. Some kinds, such as the Shirley 
Poppies, produce flowers of exquisite beauty. 

Papaver, L. 

P. somniferum, L. Opium Poppy. (Codalan ; Lus a' 
Chadail.) North side of Port-mor. August. The opium of 
commerce is the dried juice of this species, obtained by 
incising the poppy-heads before they are ripe. Asia Minor, 
Egypt, Persia, and India yield the principal supply of the 
drug. 

P. dubium, L. Smooth - headed Poppy. Bollasgan. 
Cultivated fields. June. 

P. Argemone, L. Pale or Prickly-headed Poppy, 
Recorded by Mr Grieve. 



98 COLONSAY 

FUMARIACE^E (the Fumitory family) 

Delicate herbs ; Dielytra spectabilis from China is one 
of the best-known garden representatives of the order, 
thriving locally. 

Fumaria, L. 

F. Bastardi, Bor. Garden weed, Kiloran. Confirmed by 
Mr H. W. Pugsley. Ann., October. 

F. officinalis, L. Fumitory. Lus Deathach Thalmhuinn, 
C. Common in dry fields. Ann., July. 

CRUCIFER^E (the Crucifer family) 

Plants of the order are easily recognised by their 
cruciform-shaped flowers, the four petals forming a Maltese 
cross. None are poisonous ; many, such as the Watercress, 
have pungent juices ; while others possess antiscorbutic 
properties. Under cultivation their juices become milder, 
and the various organs, as in the Cabbage (Cal), Turnip 
(Xeup), Cauliflower (Cal Gruidhean, C.), Radish (Raidis), 
etc., tend to become succulent. Oil of rape, gold of pleasure 
oil, etc., are obtained from the seed. Woad (Buidhe 
Mor, I.) dyes blue, and was used by the ancient Britons for 
staining their skin. Stock, Wallflower (Lus-leth-an-t-Samh- 
raidh), Alyssum, Candytuft, Rocket, Honesty, etc., are 
popular garden ornaments. 

Radicula, Hill 

R. Nasturtium - aquaticum, Rendle and Britten. 
Common Watercress. Biolair. Abundant in running water. 
Used as salad; it was also prepared like cabbage boiled,' 
pounded, and seasoned and used in broth (brot biolarach). 
Per., July. 



THE FLORA 99 

Earbarea, Br. 

B. vulgaris, Ait. Yellow Rocket. Roadside, Kiloran, and 
manse garden - wall ; rare. Bi., June. In Sweden the 
leaves are used in salads early in spring and late in autumn ; 
also boiled as kale. W. 

B. verna, Aschers. American Cress. Garden wall. 
Cultivated in gardens as a salad. Bi., June. 

Arabia, L. 

A. hirsuta, Scop. Hairy Rockcress. New Cave. Bi., 
June. 

Cardamine, L. 

C. pratensis, L. Lady's Smock ; Cuckoo-flower. Lus- 
an-Fhogair (1) Flur na Cubhaig, C. Common at the sides 
of ditches. Known by the younger people as Peabar-uisge. 
Per., May. 

C. hirsuta, L. Hairy Bittercress. Roadsides, Kiloran. 
Ann., May, 

C. flexuosa, With. Kiloran woods; local. Bi. or Per., 
June. 

Drala, L. 

D. incana, L. Twisted-podded Whitlow-grass. Recorded 
by Mr Grieve. 

Erophila, DC. 

E. verna, E. Meyer. Whitlow-grass. Biolradh Gruagain (?), 
I. A tiny plant, one of the earliest to flower in spring. 
Common on sandy ground near the shore. Ann., April. 

E. prcecox, DC. East side of Traigh-nam-Barc. A small 
specimen found on the rocky hillocks at Cr6isebrig, 
Balanahard, resembled, in Mr Bennett's opinion, the sub- 
species E. inflata, Wats. May. 



100 COLONSAY 

Cochlearia, L. 

A few species, including the Horse-radish (Racadal) so 
much cultivated in gardens as a condiment. 

G. officinalis, L. Scurvy-grass. Am Maraiche. Biolair 
Creige, W. Dun Ghallain rocks. Bi. or Per., June. Well 
known for its antiscorbutic properties. 

C. danica, L. Recorded by Mr Miller. Ann. or Bi. 

C. grcenlandica, L. Biolair Tragha, I. Common on the 
shore turf. July. 

Sisymbrium, L. 

S. Thalianum, Gay. A few localities, on old walls and 
in the vicinity of the limestone rock. (Arabis Thaliana, 
A. B.). Ann., May. 

officinale, Scop. Hedge Mustard. Fineul Mhuire, I. 
Recorded by Messrs Miller and Somerville. Ann. or Bi. 

Camelina, Crantz 

C. saliva, Crantz, b fcetida (Fr.). Fetid Gold of Pleasure. 
Rare. 

Brassica, L. 

Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale (Cal Broilein), 
Kohlrabi, etc., originated from B. oleracea, a British native, 
on record from May. 

B. Napns, L. Rape, or Cole-seed. Meacan Raibhe, I. 
Cultivated field. Ann. or Bi., July. Grown in this country 
as green fodder, and on the Continent for the seed, from 
which the oil of rape is expressed. 

B. Rapa, L. Common Turnip. Neup. Vacant ground. 
Ann. or Bi., June. The culture of turnip (improved 
kinds) as a field crop is believed to have been introduced by 
Sir Richard Weston, on his return to England from Flanders 
in 1645. 



THE FLORA 101 

B. nigra, Koch. Black Mustard. Cornfield. Ann., June. 
The mustard of commerce is usually prepared from the seeds 
of this variety and of B. alba. The former is chiefly 
cultivated in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, and the latter in 
Essex and Cambridgeshire. 

B. arvensis, 0. Kuntze. Charlock ; Wild Mustard. 
Sgeallan. A too common cornfield weed. In the young 
state it was prepared and eaten like cabbage. Ann., 
August. 

B. Erucastrum, Vill. Vacant ground. Introduced with 
feeding stuffs. August. 

Capsella, Medic. 

C. Bursa-pastoris, Medic. Shepherd's Purse. Luibh-a- 
Sporain. Sporan Buachaille, W. Well-known garden weed. 
Ann., May. The young radical leaves were brought to 
market to Philadelphia and sold for greens in the spring of 
the year. (Barton.) W. 

Lepidium, L. 

L. ruderale, L. Narrow-leaved Cress. Vacant ground, 
Kiloran. Ann., August. 

L. sativwn, L. Garden Cress. Biolair Frangach, I. 
Rubbish-heap, Kiloran. Ann., June. A supposed native 
of Persia, and cultivated in this country since the middle of 
the sixteenth century. 

Thlaspi, L. 

T. arvense, L. Field Pennycress. Praiseach Feidh, C. 
Vacant ground, Kiloran. Ann., July. 

CaJtile, Mill 

C. maritima, Scop. Sea Rocket. Fearsaideag, C. 
Kiloran Bay sands. Ann., August. 



102 COLONSAY 

Raphanus, L. 
Garden kinds of Radish are varieties of R. sativus, L. 

R. Raphanistrum, L. Wild Radish ; Jointed or White 
Charlock. Meacan Ruadh, C. Cultivated field, Kiloran. 
Ann., July. 

VioLACsa; (the Violet family) 

Without considering the many beautiful pansies now in 
cultivation, the Sweet Violet alone would raise this order in 
the estimation of all lovers of flowers. 

Viola, L. 

V. palustris, L. Marsh Violet. Badan Measgan (?), I. 
Marshy ground. Per., June. 

V. odorata, L. Sweet Violet. (Fail-Chuach.) Intro- 
duced. Per., May. Its roots are said to be purgative. 

V. Riviniana, Reichb. Dog Violet. Sail - Chuach. 
Dail Chuach, C. Known by the younger people as Broga 
Cuthaig, a name applied by older persons to the Harebell. 
Per., May. Beneficial in skin-diseases. 

V. Rivinana x sylvestris. East of Bruach-mhor. 

V. tricolor, L. Pansy Violet ; Heartsease. Sp6g-na- 
Cuthaig, C. Abundant in sandy fields. Ann., July. The 
numerous forms of pansies now in cultivation have been 
obtained by selection from this species, and by hybridising it 
with V. grandiflora, V. altaica, etc. Goirmin Searradh, I. 

V. arvensis, Murr. Field Pansy. Cultivated fields. 
Ann., July. 

V. Curtisii, Forster. Sandy hollow east of Traigh-nam- 
Barc. Per., August. 

V. Curtisii, Forster, /. mackaii. Blown sands, Port 
Easdail. 

V. lutea, Huds. Yellow Mountain Violet. Recorded by 
Mr Grieve. Per. 



THE FLORA 303 

POLYGALACEJ: (the Milkwort family) 
A small order with bitter and astringent qualities, and a 
milky juice in the root. The American Snake Root is used 
for chronic bronchitis and asthma, and was a reputed antidote 
against the poison of snakes. 

Poly gala, Linn. 

P. vulgaris, L. Common Milkwort. Lus - a' - Bhainne. 
Recorded by Mr Miller. Per. 

P. serpyllacea, Weihe. Siabunn-nam-Ban-Slth. Com- 
mon on dry heaths and pastures. When rubbed between 
the hands a lather is formed, hence the local name. Per. 
June. 

CAROPHYLLACE.E (the Pink family) 

The British species of the order are numerous, and easily 
recognised by their general habit, swollen nodes, and opposite 
leaves. They are generally found in dry situations. Many, 
as the Soapwort (Lus-an-t-Siabuinn), are pervaded by a 
saponaceous principle, but they are usually devoid of active 
properties. The various species of Dianthus Carnations, 
Pinks, Sweet- William, etc. alone would raise this family 
to a position of no mean ornamental value. 

Silene, L. 

Certain species of this numerous genus are known as 
Catchflies, from the fact that they are coated with sticky 
hairs to which small kinds of flies and other insects adhere. 

S. maritima, With. Sea Campion. Sea-rocks, northern 
shore. Although one of the showiest of our earliest summer 
flowers, no local name has been discovered for it. Per., June. 

S. noctiflora, L. Night-flowering Catchfly. A cornfield 
weed. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

S. dichotoma. Vacant ground, Kiloran. An alien that 



104 COLONSAY 

is becoming naturalised in many parts of the country. 
August. 

Lychnis, L. 

L, alba, Mill. White Lychnis. Roadside, Scalasaig. Bi. 
or Per., July. 

L. dioica, L. Red Campion. Lus-a-R6s. Cirean Coi- 
leach, I. Shady roadsides. Per., July. 

L. Flos-cuculi, L. Ragged Robin. Caorag-Leana, C. 
Frequently adorning wet meadows. Per., June. 

L. Githago, Scop. Corn Cockle. lothros, C. A corn- 
field weed of sandy places. Ann., July. 

Cerastium, L. 

One of the best-known garden representatives of the genus 
is C. tomentosum (Snow-in-Summer), much used for edgings 
and carpet-bedding. 

C. tetrandrum, Curt. Common, and, near the shore, often 
with grains of sand adhering to the stems and leaves. Ann., 
July. 

G. viscosum, L. Broad-leaved Mouse-ear. Garden weed. 
Ann., June. 

C. vulgatum, L. Mouse-ear Chickweed. Cluas Luchag. 
Frequent in dry situations. Per., June. 

Stellaria, L. 

Usually found growing, locally, in moister places than the 
members of the preceding group. 

S. media, Vill. Common Chickweed. Fliodh. One of 
the commonest weeds. Ann., July. It follows the British 
settler to all parts of the globe. 

S. Holostea, L. Greater Stitchwort. Tuirseach, C. 
Glasaird, rare. Per., June. 

S. uliginosa, Murr. Bog Starwort. Ditches and wet 
places. Ann. or per., June. 



THE FLORA 105 

Arena Ha, L. 

A. serpyllifolia, L. Thyme-leaved Sandwort. Not un- 
common on sandy ground near the sea. Ann., August. 

A. peploides, L. Sea-Purslane. Kiloran Bay sands. 
Per., June. 

A. peploides, var. oblongifolia. Sands, Port-an-Tigh-mhoir. 
June. 

Sagina, L. 

Small, tufted, inconspicuous herbs. 

S. maritima, Don. Sea Pearhvort. Port-mor, south side. 
Ann., September. 

S. apetala, Ard. Lawns and pastures. Ann., June. 

S. procumbens, L. Procumbent Pearlwort. As this species 
is said to have been one of the plants that were formerly 
fixed over doors for good luck, it probably had a local name. 
Per., July. 

S. procumbens, L., sub. sp. confertior, Norman. Scalasaig, 
shore. 

S. subulata, Presl. Top of Carnan Eoin. Per., July. 

S. nodosa, Fenzl. Knotted Spurry. Moist situations, 
Kiloran. Per., August. 

Spergula, L. 

S. arvensis, L. Corn Spurry. Carran. (Cluain Lin.) 
Common weed of cultivated fields. Ann., July. It was 
formerly grown as a forage plant, the knowledge of its culture 
having been brought from Holland about 1740. Experience 
shows it to be very nutritious to cattle that eat it ; poultry 
are fond of the seed ; and the inhabitants of Finland and 
Norway make bread of it when their crops of corn fail. W. 

Spergularia, Presl. 

S. rubra, Pers. Common Sand-Spurry. Sandy ground, 
Cul-Salach and Poll Gorm. Pure white flowers. Ann. or 
Bi., July. 



106 COLONSAY 

S. salina, Presl. Recorded by Messrs Miller and Somer- 
ville. 

S. salina, c. neglecta (Syme). Shore rocks, Port-mor. 
Ann. or Bi., June. 

S. marginata, Kittel. Salt-marsh, Port-an-Obain, Scala- 
saig. Per., August. 

S. rupestris, Lebel, Rocks, Lamalum. Per., June. 

PORTULACE.E (the Purslane family) 

More or less succulent herbs. Purslane (Purpaidh), from 
South America, is grown for salads. 

Montia, L. 

M. fontana, L. Blinks; Water Chickweed. Shady 
woods and moist places. Ann. or Bi., May. 

M. fontana, a minor, All. Ditch, Port Sgibinis. 

ELATINACEJE (the Elatine family) 
A small order of one European genus. 

Elatine, L. 

E. hexandra, DC. Water Pepper. West Loch Fada. 
Ann., July. 

HYPBRICACE.E (the Hypericum family) 

Confined in Britain to the following genus herbaceous 
and shrubby perennials with opposite undivided leaves, often 
dotted with minute oil-glands. H. calycinum (Kose of 
Sharon, Aaron's Beard), from South-East Europe, is often 
planted in gardens, being useful for shady situations. 

Hypericum, L. 

H. androscemum, L. Sweet Amber ; Tutsan. Caora- 
caothaich. The globular, shining fruit was credited, if eaten, 
with inducing madness ; hence the local name. July. 



THE FLORA 107 

H. perforatum, L. St John's Wort. Eala Bhuidhe, W. 
Recorded by Mr Grieve. Used in medicine. Badge of 
Clan M'Kinnon. 

H. quadrangulum, L. Square-stalked St John's Wort. 
Beachnuadh Firionn, C. Frequent by ditch -sides. 
August. 

H. humiftisum, L. Trailing St John's Wort. Upper side 
of Buaile Sheagail. August. 

H. pulchrum, L. Small, upright St John's Wort. Luibh 
Chaluim Chille. Common on dry, heather-clad hills. The 
local name is now frequently, but incorrectly, given to the 
Bog Asphodel. July. 

H. elodes, L. Marsh St John's Wort. Abundant in 
peat-bogs. August. 



MALVACEAE (the Mallow family) 

Though only sparingly represented in Britain, this is an 
important tropical order, many of the species furnishing 
useful fibre from the inner layers of the bark. There is a 
remarkable absence of noxious qualities. The order includes 
some wonderful tropical species. Cotton (Cotan) is obtained 
from the hair-like appendages that clothe the seeds of 
various species of Gossypium. Hollyhock (R6s Mall) and 
Mai ope are handsome for the flower-garden. The Tree 
Mallow, a British species, grows in exposed situations near 
the sea. 

Malva, L. 

M. moschata, L. Musk Mallow. One plant in pasture, 
Druim-an-Deabhaidh, where it is known to have been grow- 
ing for many years. Per., July. 

M. sylvestris, L. Common Mallow. Ucas Fiadhain, C. 
Recorded from Oransay by Mr Grieve, and the only species 
in this list not known to occur also in Colonsay. 



108 COLONSAY 



(the Lime family) 
A large tropical order, yielding valuable fibre. " Jute " is 
obtained from Indian species, and is largely used in the manu- 
facture of carpets and other fabrics. The wood of the lime 
is easily worked, and the best in this country for carving. 

Tilia, L. 

T. vulgaris, Hayne. Lime-tree; Linden. (Crann Teile.) 
Introduced. June. The inner bark furnishes " Russia 
matting." 

LINAGES (the Flax family) 

A small order of herbs and shrubs characterised by the 
tough fibre of the inner bark. 

Radiola, Hill. 

R. linoides, Roth. Allseed. Bare and stony sides of 
paths. A minute annual ; July. 

Linum, L. 

A large genus, some species annuals and perennials 
-with showy but short-lived flowers, in various colours. 

L. catharticum, L. Purging Flax. Caolach Miosa. Lion- 
nam-Ban-Sith. Common in barren heaths and pastures. 
Locally used for its cathartic properties. Ann., August. 

L. usitatissimum, L. Common Flax ; Linseed. Lion. 
At one time largely cultivated for its fibre ; used locally in 
the manufacture of linen. Ann., June. The seed is valu- 
able for the oil it contains, and is largely used medicinally 
and for feeding stock. 

GERANIACE^E (the Geranium family) 
Particularly numerous in South-West Africa, they are 
chiefly remarkable for the beauty of their flowers. Some 



THE FLORA 109 

are characterised by astringent and aromatic properties. 
Most of the garden Pelargoniums (Geraniums) in existence 
to-day have sprung from a few insignificant - flowered 
South African species introduced to this country about two 
hundred years ago. K"o other class of plants has more 
richly rewarded the labours of the hybridist and plant- 
breeder. The varieties thus raised are numberless, and 
unsurpassed as greenhouse and window plants. 

Geranium, L. 

G. sanguineum, L. Bloody Crane's-bill. Creachlach 
Dearg, C. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

G. sylvaticum, L. Wood Geranium. Recorded by 
Mr Grieve. 

G. pratense, L. Wood, Cnoc-na-Pairce, Scalasaig, Per., 
July. 

G. molle, L. Dove's-foot; Crane's-bill. Uncultivated 
hillocks, Learga-bheag ; rather common. Ann. or Bi., 
May. 

G. dissectum, L. Cut-leaved Crane's-bill. Sandy ground 
near the shore ; not uncommon. Ann. or Bi., June. 

G. columbinum, L. Recorded by Mr Miller. 

G. Eobertianum, L. Herb Robert. Luibh-na-Maclan. 
On shingly shores and various other situations. Ann. or 
Bi., June. This species and G. sanguineum were held in 
great repute by Highlanders on account of their astringent 
and vulnerary properties, C. 

Erodium, L'Herit 

E. cicutarium, L'Herit. Stork's - bill. An Rudh. 
Common in dry, sandy situations near the shore. A 
pretty reddish brown (magenta) but fading dye is 
said to be obtained from the tap-root. Ann. or Bi.,. 

August. 



110 COLONSAY 

Oxalis, L. 

0. Acetosella, L. Wood- sorrel. Biadh-ur-Eunachan. 
One of the principal ingredients of herb plasters for king's- 
evil. Per., May. Oxalic acid is prepared from this species. 



(the Holly family) 
A small order, represented in Britain by a single species. 

Ilex, L. 

/. Aquifolium, L. Holly. Cuilionn. Common in the 
natural woods, and growing out of clefts of rocks. Saplings 
much prized for walking-sticks. Trees in exposed situations 
rarely produce berries. June. Bird-lime is the juice of the 
holly-bark extracted by boiling, mixed with a third part 
of nut-oil. Badge of the Clan M'Millan. 

AcERACE.fi (the Maple tribe) 

A tribe of Sapindacese, limited in Britain to the follow- 
ing genus. The Norway and some Canadian Maples are 
commonly planted as ornamental trees. Acer saccharinum 
is the famous Sugar Maple of Canada and the United States. 
Sugar is made from the sweet sap, which is obtained 
when it rises in spring. The Horse-chestnut (Geanm-Chn6 
Fhiadhaich, C.) belongs to an allied tribe. 

Acer, L. 

A. Pseudo-platanus, L. Scots Plane; Sycamore. Sica- 
nior. Plintrinn, W. Introduced. Numerous seedlings are 
springing up spontaneously in the woods. A tree that lasts 
well locally. The wood is light, and easily worked. May. 

LEGUMINOSJI: (the Leguminous family) 
Next to Compositse this is the largest natural order of 
fftwering-plants, comprising nearly 7000 species. British 



THE FLORA 111 

species are easily recognised by their characteristic "pea- 
flowers " ; the fruit is commonly a pod, more or less resemb- 
ling that of the pea or bean. The properties of the order 
are most varied ; some, as Peas (Peasair), Beans (Ponair), 
Lentils (Grain-Fheileog, I.), etc., being valuable food-plants, 
others (Liquorice = Maide-milis) are medicinal, not a few 
being poisonous. Other species furnish valuable wood, 
fibres, dyes (Indigo = Guirmein), gums, resins, oils, tan, etc. 
Clover, Vetch, Lucerne, Sainfoin (Coirm Coilig, I.) are 
cultivated as forage plants. The little swellings commonly 
seen on the roots of leguminous plants are inhabited by 
" bacteroids " which have the power of drawing on the free 
nitrogen of the air and passing it on to the plant, with the 
result that the ground is often richer in nitrogen after a 
leguminous crop than it was before. In the tropics, the 
order is represented by gorgeous flowering trees, which, after 
the flowering period, produce pods several feet in length. 
Crab's-eyes, Circassian Beads, and other tropical seeds are 
pretty, and strung by the natives into necklaces and various 
ornaments. Laburnums (Bealaidh Frangach, I.) and some 
species of Broom and Genista thrive near the sea and are 
highly ornamental. Lupins (Searbhan Faolchon, I.) are 
among the handsomest of early summer-flowering herbaceous 
plants. 

Ulex, L. 

U. europceus, L. Whin, Furze, or Gorse. Conasg ; 
Beala'ach. Abundant in places. A green dye is obtained 
from the bark. The young growths are eaten by cattle, 
and during the flowering period the plant is reputed to give 
a rich yellow colour to butter. March. Sometimes sown as 
a forage plant on the mainland (at the rate of 20 to 30 Ibs. 
per acre). It was cultivated for this purpose in England as 
early as 1725, and a century previous to that in Wales. 
The tops are crushed before giving them to cattle. 



112 COLONSAY 

Cytisus, L. 

C. scoparius, Link. Broom. Bealaidh. Eecorded by Mr 
Miller. Within living memory two plants existed : one on 
an uncultivated hillock in Caolachadh, and one in Glaic-a- 
Chuill. Like the whin, it yields a green dye. 

Ononis, L. 

0. repens, L. Best or Wrest Harrow. Sreang Bogha, C. 
Sandy ground, Kiloran Bay. Per., August. The rootstock 
creeps underground, and is sufficiently tough to obstruct 
agricultural implements during tilling operations ; hence the 
common English name. 

Medicago, L. 

A genus of useful forage plants. Purple Medick or 
Lucerne is suitable for sowing in light, sandy soils, its roots 
penetrating the subsoil sometimes to the depth of 10 to 12 
feet. It is not so much cultivated in Scotland. 

M. sp. Specimens found at the edge of a field in 
Machrins did not arrive at sufficient maturity to be certain 
whether they were M. sylvestris, Fr., or M. falcata, L. 
August. 

M. lupulina, L. Black Medick ; Nonsuch. Common in 
the vicinity of cultivated fields. Ann. or Bi., June. 
Although the produce is bulky, cattle are not very fond of 
it, and only eat it with seeming relish when mixed up with 
more nutritious and esteemed food. 

Trifolium, L. 

T. pratense, L. Red or Purple Clover. Seamrag Dhearg. 
Sugag, C. In Kilchattan, where it used to thrive most 
luxuriantly as a forage crop and give several cuttings in 
the season, it will now hardly grow, the ground probably 
having become what is termed "clover sick." Bi. or Per., 



THE FLORA 113 

July. Its culture was introduced to England from Flanders 
by Sir Richard Weston in 1645, but it was not cultivated 
in Scotland till 1720-30. 

T. medium, L. Zigzag or Meadow Clover. Interstices 
in rocks, Baile-Mhaide. Per., July. 

T. hybridum, L. Alsike Clover. Garden weed. Kiloran. 
Per., August. It is one of the best of perennial clovers, 
and it has been found to thrive in soils which are termed 
by farmers " clover sick." 

T. repens, L. White or Dutch Clover. Seamrag Gheal. 
Common. The finding of the four-leaved Clover (Seamrag- 
nam-Buadh) was regarded as a sign of good luck. Per., June. 
It is now used as the national emblem of Ireland, although 
believed to be a plant of comparatively recent introduction 
to that country. Oxalis acetosella, the Common Wood Sorrel, 
is said to have been the original " shamrock." , " An indis- 
pensable ingredient of pastures, but where it is too prevalent 
it has a tendency to scour the cattle which graze on it." 

T. procumbens, L. Hop Trefoil. Pasture, Kiloran. 
Ann., July. 

T. dubium, Sibth. Small Yellow Trefoil. Seangan, C. 
Uncultivated hillocks, Lower Kilchattan. Ann., June. 

Anthyllis, L. 

A. Vulneraria, L. Kidney Vetch; Lady's - fingers. 
Meoir Mhuire; Cas-an-Uain, C. Common on dry, unculti- 
vated hillocks and rocky places. Per., July. It was 
celebrated from early times as a plant that was efficacious 
in the cure of wounds. 

Lotus, L. 

L. corniculatus, L. Bird's-foot Trefoil. Blathan-buidhe- 
nam-B6. Abundant in dry situations. It is said to impart 
a good yellow colour to butter. Per., July. It is eaten 

8 



114 COLONSAY 

with avidity by cattle, and owing to the depth to which it 
sends its roots into the ground it remains green when other 
plants are burnt up by drought. 

L. uliginosus, Schkuhr. A much larger plant in all its 
parts than the preceding, and common in moist situations. 
Per., August. 

Astragalus, L. 

A. danicus, Retz. Recorded by Mr Grieve. Per. 

Vicia, L. 

V. hirsuta, Gray. Hairy Tare. Peasair Luchag. Lower 
Kilchattan ; locally regarded as indicating poor soils. Ann., 
July. 

V. Cracca, L. Tufted Vetch. Caornan. Hedges, and 
borders of fields. Per., July. 

V. sepium, L. Bush Vetch. Peasair-nan-Each. Road- 
sides ; frequent. Per., June. 

V. sativa, L. Common Vetch. Peasair Capuill. Corn- 
fields. Ann., August. 

V. angustifolia, L. Narrow-leaved Vetch. Recorded by 
Mr Somerville. Ann. 

V. lathyroides, L. Spring Vetch. Only seen on Cnoc 
Eibriginn. Ann., May. 

Lathyrm, L. 

L. pratensis, L. Meadow Pea. Peasair Bhuidhe, C. 
Common in moist places. Per., July. 

L. sylvestris, L. Everlasting Pea. Recorded by Mr 
Orieve. Per. 

L. montanus, Bernh. Heath Vetch; Heath Pea. 
Corra-Meille. The tuberous roots were dug up and eaten 
raw, or tied in bundles and hung up to the kitchen 
roof to dry, and afterwards roasted. Used for flavouring 



THE FLORA 115 

whisky. The wooden trowel for digging up the roots was 
called "pleadhag." A plant with stringy roots, occasionally 
dug up by mistake, was known as Corra-Meille Capuill. 
Per., July. 

ROSACES (the Rose family). 

The order includes the best of our hardy fruits Apple 
<Ubhal), Pear (Peur), Plum (Plumbas), Peach (Pietseog, I.), 
Cherry (Sirist), Strawberry, and Raspberry. Other species 
Spiraeas, Roses, etc. are characterised by the beauty and 
the fragrance of their blossom. The seeds of the drupaceous 
fruits Plum yield the highly poisonous prussic acid. 

Prunus, L. 

The only British genus Avith a stone fruit, including the 
Bullace (Bulastair, C.), Damson (Daimsin, C.), Gean (Geanais, 
C.), Wild Cherry (Craobh Shirist), and Bird Cherry (Craobh 
Fhiodag, C.). P. persica, a supposed native of Persia or 
China, is the parent of the many delicious varieties of Peach 
and Nectarine (Neochdair, C.) now to be obtained. Other 
fruit belonging to this genus are the Apricot (Pruine 
Airmeineach, I.), from Central Asia; Prunes (Plumbais 
Seargtha, I.), the fruit of a species of plum dried in heated 
ovens, largely in France; Sweet Almonds (Cno-Almoin), 
the kernels of the fruit, from North Africa and South 
Europe. Almond oil is expressed from Bitter Almonds. 
The Common Laurel (P. lauro-cerasus) and the Portugal 
Laurel (P. lusitanicus) are among our most useful ever- 
greens. 

P. spinosa, L. Blackthorn ; Sloe. Sgitheach Dubh ; 
Draighionn-Dubh. Near sandy shores it forms low, almost 
unimpenetrable thickets. Sloes (Airneag) are now rarely 
produced. April. In Ireland, one of the favourite woods 
for the " shillelah." 



116 COLONSAY 

Spiraea, L. 

S. Ulmaria, L. Meadow-sweet ; Queen of the Meadows. 
Luibh-a-Chneas. (Lus - Cneas - Chuchulainn). Banks of 
ditches and moist meadows. Used in dyeing. Per., July. 

Rubus, L. 

A large genus, comprising in Britain some two hundred 
kinds of brambles alone. The Cloudberry (Oidhreag), a 
miniature bramble without prickles, occurs on the Scottish 
mountains. The following were identified by the Rev. W. 
Moyle Rogers, F.L.S. They were collected from the east 
and north-east half of the island when it was well on in 
September, rather too late in the season for easy identification. 

R. idceus, Linn. Raspberry. Suth-Craobh. Now well 
established in Kiloran woods. July. 

(?) R. Rogersii, Linton. Specimens not sufficiently good 
to be named with certainty. 

R. plicatus, Wh. and N. -Moist, peaty ground. Ceann 
Locha. 

R. rhamnifolius, Wh. and N. Rocky ground near the 
shore, Slochd-na-Sgarbh. 

R. dumnoniensis, Bab. Rocky ground, Slochd-nam-Bodach. 
Mr M' Vicar found this one of the commonest Brambles in 
Mull, Lismore, and various places on the mainland. 

R. pulcherrimus, Neum. Bramble ; Blackberry. Dreas- 
na-Smeur ; Smeuran. One of the commonest kinds in 
the island. An orange dye was obtained from the roots. 
The leaves were applied to burns. Fruit much esteemed in 
jam and jelly making. 

R. Selmeri, Lindeb. Fairly common about Kiloran. 

R. pubescens, Weihe. Clais-na-Faochag ; rather com- 
mon. "A very luxuriant form, nearer to my variety 
subinermis, Rogers, than to the type " (Rev. W. M. R.). 

R. pubescens-subinermis, f. "I am greatly interested 



THE FLORA 117 

in the pubescens-subinermis form, as it is not only the 
only example that I have seen from Scotland, but it also is 
not strictly identical with either our type or variety." 
Hillocks, Scalasaig meadows, on the " Scalasaig granite." 

R. macrophyllus, Wh. and N., b Sclilechtendalii (Weihe). 
Open situation, Kiloran woods. ^ 

R. dumetorum, Wh. and N. One of the commonest road- 
side brambles. Eev. W. Moyle Rogers wrote with regard 
to a number of specimens submitted : " All, or nearly all, 
one and the same form apparently, but hardly agreeing 
well with any of our named varieties." 

R. corylifolius, Sm. Recorded by Mr Miller. 

R. ccesius, Linn. Dewberry. Preas-nan-gorm-Dhearc, C. 
Growing in a heap of stones, seaside, Slochd-dubh-Mhic-a-Phi. 

R. saxatilis L. Stone Bramble. (Caora-bada-Miann.) 
Recorded by Mr Somerville. 

Geum, L. 

G. urbanum, L. Common Avens ; Herb Bennet. (Machall 
Coille.) Northern slopes of Beinn-nan-Giidairean. Per., 
August At one time used in medicine. 

G. rivale, L. Water Avens. (Machall Uisge.) Damp 
gullies below Uragaig. Per., July. The root-stocks of all 
these are powerfully astringent, and also yield a yellow 
dye. C. 

Fragaria, L. 

F. vesca, L. Wild Strawberry. Suth-Lair. Abundant 
on dry slopes on the eastern half of the island. The fruits 
are gathered by children. Per., May. 

Potentilta, L. 

P. norvegica, L. Vacant ground, Kiloran, Ann., 
August. An alien, now spreading in the country. 

P. sterilis, Garcke. Barren Strawberry. Ledges of rocks, 
Tigh Iain Daraich. Per., May. 



118 COLONSAY 

P. erecta, Hampe. Tormentil. Braonan a' Mhadadh 
ruaidh. Abundant in heaths and moors. The. roots were 
boiled and strained, and the juice given, in milk, to calves as 
an astringent. It was also given to human beings. Per., 
July. Boots dye red. W. It is generally used for tanning 
their nets by fishermen in the Western Isles, who call it 
" Cairt-Lair." C. 

P. reptans, L. Creeping Cinquefoil. (A' Choig-bhileach.) 
Edge of pool, Cul-Salach ; rare. Per., August. 

P. Anserina, L. Silver weed. Brisgean. Barr Bhrisgean, 
C. Growing at the seaside down to high-water mark. The 
roots were gathered and eaten raw and also boiled like 
potatoes. The local value, in former times, attached to this 
as an article of food may be realised from the fact that it was 
termed "an seachdamh aran " (the seventh bread). Per., July. 

P. palustris, Scop. Marsh Cinquefoil. C6ig-bhileach 
Uisge ; Cno Leana, C. Abundant in marshes. Per., June. 

Alchemilla, L. 

A. arvensis, Scop. Parsley Piert. Spionan Mhuire, I. 
Common in dry situations. Ann., July. It was formerly 
eaten raw or pickled. W. 

A. vulgaris, L., b alpestris, Pohl. Lady's Mantle. Dearna 
Cridhe. Copan an Driuchd, C. Pastures. Per., July. 
Owing to its astringent properties it is said to be fatal 
to cows if they eat it in large quantities. W. A decoction 
from the plant was believed to have the effect of restoring 
faded beauty, and an application of the dew from the 
leaves was credited with similarly happy results. 

Rosa, L. 

It is but fitting that the hybridiser should not have spared 
his best efforts in procuring adequate representatives of this, 
the queen of flowers, and the emblem of the " predominant 
partner " in the Empire. From a comparatively small number 



THE FLORA 119 

of species the 3000 or so of varieties now in cultivation 
have been produced. These are, for convenience, grouped 
into many classes Tea Scented, Hybrid Teas, Hybrid 
Perpetuals, Climbing, Eamblers, Chinese, Ayrshire, etc. 
They are of all sizes, from the miniature fairy roses, less 
than 1 foot in height, to strong climbers which send out 
shoots 12 feet long, and more, each season. There are 
singles and doubles in almost every conceivable shade of 
colour. Otto or attar of roses the finest perfume prepared 
is obtained, by distillation, from the petals of various 
sweet-scented kinds. As a political emblem e.g. the Red 
Rose of the House of Lancaster, the White Rose of the 
House of York, etc. the Rose is historical. The best of our 
garden varieties are budded on to the Briar or some other 
hardy kinds. The following, collected in the north-eastern 
end of the island (in September mostly), were kindly named 
by Mr W. Barclay, Perth. 

JR. spinosissima, L. Burnet or Scottish Rose. Dreas-nam- 
Mucag. Dry slopes and banks. A fine brown dye (with 
copperas) is obtained from the plant. June. The Scottish 
Roses have originated from this species. 

R. spinosissima, f. Sheltered situation, Glasaird. 
Specimens of this, which were at first thought to be the 
var. Ripartii, Desegl, have been described by Mr Barclay as 
"a variation which differs from the type in having glandular 
peduncles, teeth of the leaves irregular, many simple teeth, 
but with a good many having a toothlet attached, which 
sometimes bears a gland. I do not think it has been 
specially named. Var. Ripartii has composite glandular teeth, 
and besides has the midrib and veins of the underside of 
the leaves more or less glandular, which is not the case with 
the specimens submitted." June. 

R. tomentosa, Sm. Rudha-na-Coille-bige ; not uncommon. 
"The tomentosa forms do not differ very much from each 



120 COLONSAY 

other; they seem to belong to the same group of varia- 
tions." 

R. Eglanteria, Huds. Sweet Briar. Dreas Chubhraidh. 
Kiloran woods. September. This species is frequently 
planted for the fragrance of its leaves. 

R. Eglanteria, b comosa (Rip.). Caolachadh wood. 

R. canina, L., a lutetiana (Le'man). Dog-rose. Earra- 
Dhreas. Port-a-Bhuailtein ; common. Mucag-fhailm = hip 
of rose. September. The leaves of every species of Rose, but 
especially of this, are recommended as a substitute for tea, 
when dried and infused in boiling water. W. 

R. canina, L., g dumalis (Bechst.). Rocky ground, Claise- 
na-Faochag. 

R. glauca, Vill. Caolachadh wood. Mr Barclay remarks 
of the somewhat scanty material submitted for examination : 
" Seems to be a glauca form, but not well characterised. No. 2 
apparently the same, but even more distant from the type." 

R. coriifolia, Fr., var. Wood, Ceann Locha. " The rose 
you send is a var. of R. coriifolia, Fr., with very glaucous, 
hairy leaflets, composite glandular toothing, somewhat 
glandular on the midrib, and with a gland here and there on 
the secondary veins ; peduncles and backs of the sepals 
glandular, and with broadly oval or somewhat obovate fruits, 
also more or less glandular. It does not really correspond 
with any named variety known to me, but may be considered 
as somewhat intermediate between Watsoni (Baker) and 
JSakeri (Desegl) " (W. B.). 

Pyrus, L. 

Shrubs and trees with showy flowers. From the Crab 
Apple (Craobh Ubhal Fhiadhain) the innumerable varieties 
now in cultivation have sprung. The best kinds in this 
country are grafted on to the Crab or Paradise stocks the 
former for large, the latter for dwarf trees. For general 
cultivation the Apple is the most profitable of all our fruits. 



THE FLORA 121 

The varieties which have sprung from the Wild Pear (Craobh 
Pheur Fhiadhain) are hardly leas numerous than in the 
case of the Apple. The Quince (Cuinnse), Medlar (Meidil), 
Service (Che6rais, C.), etc., bear edible fruit. 

P. Aria, Ehrh. Introduced. Kiloran woods. May. 

P. Aucuparia, Ehrh. Kowan ; Mountain Ash. Caora- 
daorthainn ; Caorthann. One of our prettiest native trees, 
adorned in early summer with cymes of white blossom and 
later with clusters of scarlet fruit. June. Any part of 
the tree was regarded in some parts of the Highlands as a 
sovereign charm against enchantment and witchcraft. C. 

P. Mains, L. Apple-tree. Craobh Ubhal. One tree 
growing naturally among whin bushes near Bealach-a- 
Mhadaidh. June. 

Cratcegus L. 

C. Oxyacantha, L. Hawthorn ; May. Draighionn (geal). 
Often seen in the vicinity of ruins. Used for hedges. 
Sgeachag = Haw (fruit). May. Cultivated forms, in various 
shades from white to scarlet, are numerous. 

SAXIFRAGACE^E (the Saxifrage family) 

Exotic genera include shrubs and trees, of which 
Hydrangea, Escallonia, Deutzia, Mock Orange, are familiar 
garden examples, thriving locally. 

Saxifraga, L. 

The varieties are numerous, and useful for rockeries, also 
suitable for shady situations. " Highland " species are to be 
found on the higher mountains of the northern isles. 

S. umbrosa, L. London Pride. (Cal Phkruig.) Intro- 
duced. Per., June. A Continental plant which, by long 
cultivation, has become established in this country. 



122 COLONSAY 

S. tridactylites, L. Rue-leaved Saxifrage ; Rock-foil. 
Rocky hills at Poll Gorm and Cr6isebrig near the shore. 
One of the tiniest of local plants. Ann. or Bi., May. 

S. hypnoides, L. Mossy Saxifrage. Locality uncertain, 
Per. 

Chrysosplenium, L. 

G. oppositifolium, L. Golden Saxifrage. (Lus-nan-Laogh.) 
Gloiris, I. In early summer it carpets the woods, in moist,, 
shaded situations, with its golden blossom. Per., May. 

Parnassia, L. 

P. palustris, L. Grass of Parnassus. Fionnan Geal ; 
Fionnsgoth, C. Moist ground near the seashore in Garvard, 
the Glen, etc. Per., July. 

Ribes, L. 

R. Grossularia, L. The Gooseberry. Groiseid. Kiloran 
woods, to which the seeds were carried from neighbouring 
gardens by birds. May. 

R. rubrum, L. Red Currant. Dearcan Dearg. Kiloran 
plantations. The White Currant (Dearcan Geal) is only 
a form of this species, and red and white fruit are sometimes 
to be seen on the same bush. April. 

R. nigrum, L. Black Currant. Dearcan Dubh. Among 
Whins, Cnoc Reamhar-mor, and plantations, Kiloran. April. 

CRASSULACE^E (the Craesula family) 

Xerophytic plants, with crowded, succulent leaves, often 
growing in rocky or sandy situations. Various kinds of 
Sedum, House Leek (Lus-nan-Cluas, C.), Navelwort (Lam- 
hainn Cat Leacain), etc., are commonly grown in gardens, 
their neat habit and slow growth making them suitable for 
edgings and carpet-bedding designs. 



THE FLORA 123 

Sedum, L. 

S. roseum, Scop. Roseroot. (Lus-nan-Laoch.) Clefts and 
ledges of the sea-rocks of the northern shore. Per., May. The 
root, which furnishes an astringent, has the fragrance of a rose, 
particularly when dried. W. The badge of the Clan Gunn. 

S. anglicum, Huds. Stonecrop. Garbhan Creige. 
Abundant. Pounded together with groundsel, it was used 
to reduce swellings, particularly on horses. Per., July. It 
was formerly eaten as a salad, and considered a delicacy. 
C. Locally also known by the younger people as Biadh 
Seangain ; Biadh-an-t-Sionnaich. 

S. acre, L. Wall Pepper; Biting Stonecrop. Grafan- 
nan-Clach, C. Not uncommon in sandy and rocky situa- 
tions round the shores. Per., June. 

DROSERACE.E (the Sundew family) 
A small order, confined in Britain to the following genus. 

Drosera, L. 

Insectivorous plants (perennials) obtaining their nitrogen 
from the bodies of insects which they assimilate. The 
upper surface of the leaves is clothed with curious viscid 
hairs, each terminated by a small gland. These glands 
secrete a sticky fluid, to which small insects that are 
attracted to the plants adhere. The irritation set up by 
their struggles to free themselves causes the leaves to close 
up, effectively imprisoning their tiny victims. After they 
are assimilated, the leaves, often encumbered with skeletons 
of those already digested, open out to entrap more insects. 

D. rotundifolia, L. Sundew. Lus-na-Fearnaich. Abun- 
dant in peat-bogs. July. The whole plant is acrid, and suffi- 
ciently caustic to erode the skin ; but some ladies mix the 



124 COLONSAY 

juice with milk so as to make it an innocent and safe 
application to remove freckles and sunburns. W. 

D. anglica, Huds. Long-leaved sundew. Bogs near 
Loch Colla; rare. July. 

D. longifolia, L. Marshy ground, Bioma-mhor, 
Machrins. August. 

HALORAGACE.E (The Mare's-tail family) 

Principally aquatic herbs. Hippuris vulgaris (Mare's-tail) 
has been recorded from Tiree and the Outer Hebrides. 

Myriophyllum, L. 

M. spicatum, L. Water Milfoil. East Loch Fada and 
Loch Sgoltaire. Per., August. 

M. alterniflorum, DC. Whorled Milfoil. Snathainn 
Bhathadh, C. A much commoner plant than the preceding ; 
at the edge of the lochs and in burns. Per., July. 

Callitriche, L. 

C. stagnalis, Scop. Water Starwort. Biolair-ioc. Abun- 
dant in shallow waters. Formerly used as an ingredient in 
plasters for promoting suppuration. Per., June. 

C. intermedia, Hoffm. Slow-flowing burn, Kiloran. June. 
(C. hamulata, Kuetz. A. B.) 

G. autumnalis, L. Autumnal Starwort. Common in 
the deeper water of the lochs. July. 

LYTHRACE^; (the Loosestrife family) 

The few British representatives of the order are herbs. 
Some exotic species are valuable for their timber ; others 
furnish fruit, dyes, etc. The pomegranate (Gran-Abhal) is 
mentioned in Deuteronomy as one of the products of 
Palestine. 



THE FLORA 125 

Peplis, L. 

P. Portula, L. Water Purslane. Ditch, roadside between 
Machrins and Scalasaig. Not uncommon. Ann., July. 

Lythrum, L. 

L. Salicaria, L. Purple Loosestrife. Creachdach. Lus- 
na-sith-Chainnt, C. Abundant in wet situations. Per., 
August. 

ONAGRACB^; (the (Enothera family) 

Fuchsias from Chili are familiar garden representatives of 
the order. 

Epilobium, L. 

E. angustifolium, L. French Willow; Eose Bay. 
Seilachan Frangach, C. Introduced, and now spreading in 
sheltered situations in Kiloran. Per., August. 

JE. parviflowm, Schreb. Hoary Willow-herb. Damp 
situation, Balanahard. Per., September. 

E. montanum, L. Broad Willow-herb. An Seilachan, 
C. Crevices in rocks, Balaromin-mor. Per., July. 

E. obscurum, Schreb. Ditch, Kiloran ; common in wet 
situations. Per., July. 

E. palustre, L. Marsh Willow-herb. Marshy places. 
Per., July. 

Circcea, L. 

G. lutetiana, L. Enchanter's Nightshade. Fuinnseach, C. 
Growing among rolled stones, seaside, Uragaig. Local. 
Per., August. 

0. alpina, L. Kecorded by Mr Miller. 

UMBELLIFBR^: (the Umbellate family) 

One of the largest British orders, herbs, generally easily 
recognised by their deeply divided leaves and flowers 



126 COLONSAY 

arranged in umbels. In this great group there are few of 
decorative value, but some Celery (Seilere, I.), Carrot 
(Curran), Parsnip (Curran Geal), Skirrets (Brislean) are 
{or were) valued as esculents, and others Parsley (Fionnas 
Garaidh), Fennel (Lus-an-t-Saoidh), Angelica (Lus-nam 
Buadh), Anise (Anis; Ainis Ciibhraidh, I.), Coriander (Lus- 
a-Choire), Dill (Dile ; Lus Min, I.), Chervil (Costag-a'-Bhaile 
Gheamhraidh), Alexanders (Lus nan Gran Dubh) are 
grown as pot-herbs, and for garnishing, medicine, etc. 
Hemlock, Fool's Parsley, Dropwort, and others have poison- 
ous properties. 

Hydrocotyle, L. 

H. vulgaris, L. Marsh Pennywort. Lus-na-Peighinn. 
Oibheall Uisge, I. Forming part of the bottom herbage 
in wet situations. Per., July. It is said to be injurious 
to sheep, producing white rot. 

Eryngium, L. 

E. maritimum, L. Sea Holly. Cuilionn Traghadh. One 
specimen seen growing at the edge of the blown sands, 
Dunan Easdail. It was gradually eaten up by sheep, and 
did not flower. Per. The roots are sometimes preserved 
in sugar and eaten as a sweetmeat. 

Sanicula, L. 

S. europcea, L. Wood Sanicle. (Bodan Coille.) Abun- 
dant in Kiloran woods, and also seen in Coille Bheag. 
Per., June. In former times it possessed a high reputation 
for healing wounds. 

Conium, L. 

C. maculatum, L. Hemlock. (Minmhear.) A highly 
poisonous biennial. Balaromin-mor and Lower Kilchattan. 
July. Used in medicine as a sedative and antispasmodic. 



THE FLORA 127 

Apium, L. 

Occupants generally of marshy situations. A. graveolens, 
L., is the Wild Celery (Lus na Smalaig, C.), a native of sea- 
coast districts of England and Wales. 

A. nodiflorum, Reichb. fil. Procumbent Marshwort. In 
streams where they enter into the sea at Kiloran Bay and 
Port Sgibinis. Per., July. 

A. inundatum, Reichb. fil. Least Marshwort. Fualactar, 
C. Slow-flowing part of Abhuinn-a-Ghlinne. Per., June. 
(Helosciadium inundatum, A. B.) 

Carum, L. 

(?) C. Carvi, L. Caraway. Carbhaidh. In the neighbour- 
hood of old gardens. The so-called seeds (carpels) were used 
for flavouring oat-cakes. July. 

^Egopodium, L. 

A. Podagraria, L. Gout weed ; Bishopweed. (Lus-an- 
Easbuig.) A troublesome garden weed. Per., July. 

Pimpinella, L. 

A numerous genus, including P. anisum, the fruit (Aniseed) 
of which is aromatic and carminative and largely employed 
in medicine. 

P. Saxifraga, L. Burnet Saxifrage. Roadside, Kiloran ; 
rare. Per., July. 

Conopodium, Koch. 

C. majus, Loret. Earthnut; Pignut. Braonan Coille. 
Abundant in well-drained situations in the north-east of the 
island. The globular root-tuber was dug up and eaten by 
children. Per., June. 



128 COLONSAY 

Myrrhis, Scop. 

M. Odorata, Scop. Sweet Cicely. (Cos Uisge.) Dry 
situations in Kiloran woods and Ardskenish Glen. Per., 
July. 

Anthriscus, Bernh. 

The genus includes A. Cerefoliuin (Chervil), which is 
cultivated as a pot-herb. 

A. sylvestris, Hoffm. Wild Chervil. A weed of waste 
places, recorded by Messrs Grieve and Somerville. Bi. 

Crithmum, L. 

G. maritimum, L. Sea Samphire. Saimbhir, C. Seen in 
one place on the rocky shore. Kecorded by Mr Somerville in 
1906. Per., July. It has recently been discovered in the 
Outer Hebrides. Samphire is much sought after for pickling, 
sometimes at the risk of human life (men being suspended 
from the rocks by ropes), though other plants procured at less 
hazard, as Salicornia and Aster, are frequently substituted. 
W. It is cultivated as a salad and for seasoning. 

(Enanthe, L. 

(E. Lachenalii, C. Gmel. Parsley Dropwort. Edge of 
shore pools south of Port-mor. Per., July. 

(E. crocata, L. Hemlock Water Dropwort. Aiteodha. 
Abundant on the banks of streams and in wet gullies at the 
shore. Used in poultices. The green leaves are often 
eaten with impunity by cattle in the summer time, but the 
roots are poisonous. A number of years since, eight stirks 
died after eating the roots which had been thrown out of a 
ditch when cleaning it in the winter time. Per., July. 

Ligusticum, L. 

L. scoticum, L. Scottish Lovage. (Siunas.) Plentiful in 
the rocks of Meall-a-Chuilbh with a northern exposure. 



THE FLORA 129 

Per., July. The root is reckoned a carminative, and an 
infusion of the leaves in whey is good physic for calves. Ifc 
is, besides, used as a food, eaten raw as a salad or boiled 
as greens. Pennant's Tour, 1772. 

Angelica, L. 

A small genus, including A. A rchangelica (Garden Angelica), 
a native of the Continent, and long cultivated for con- 
fectionery. 

A. sylvestris, L. Wild Angelica. Geobhastan. Woods 
and moist situations. Children make " squirting-guns " out 
of the hollow stems. The flowering umbel was locally 
known as Bollachdan. In the winter time rabbits burrow 
into the ground and eat the root-stock. Per., July. 

Peucedanum, L. 

P. sativum is the common Parsnip (CurranGeal), a native 
of the south of England, and the parent of the present 
cultivated forms. 

(?) P. Ostruthium, Koch. Masterwort. (M6r Fhliodh.) 
Kiloran. Per., July. 

Heradeum, L. 

H. Sphondylium, L. Hogweed ; Cow-parsnip. Giuran. 
Common in well-drained situations, and cut in the green state 
for cattle. Per., July. 

Daucus, L. 

D.Carota,L. Wild Carrot. Curran Talmhainn. Abun- 
dant in rather dry situations. Bi., June. The various forms 
of Garden Carrots (Currain-bhuidhe) have been produced 
from this species. 

ARALIACE^E (the Aralia family) 

A large order of woody-stemmed plants, represented m 
Europe by the following species only. A. japonica from 



130 COLONSAY 

Japan is a desirable addition locally to the list of evergreen 
shrubs. "Kice-paper" is cut out of the pith of Aralia 
(Fatsia) papyrifera, a tree of Formosa. 

Hedera, L. 

H. Helix, L. Ivy. Eidheann ; Duchas. Uillean, C. 
Often growing in exposed situations against perpendicular 
rocks ; hence the saying with the double meaning, " Theid an 
duchas an aghaidh nan creag." The leaves were sown into 
a cap for covering children's heads which were breaking out 
into sores a complaint now practically unknown locally 
among infants. Planted against their walls, it helps to 
dry damp houses. October. Many " gold " and " silver " 
variegated forms are in cultivation. The badge of the 
Gordons. 

CAPRIFOLIACE.E (the Honeysuckle family) 

Mostly shrubs, some of them possessing purgative and 
emetic properties. Laurustinus, a pretty evergreen, and the 
Snowberry, a deciduous North American shrub with large 
white berries, are useful plants for shrubberies. Seedlings of 
the latter were found in crevices on a garden wall. The 
Guelder Kose (Ceiriocan, C.) and the "Wayfaring - tree 
(Craobh Fhiadhain, C.) are British natives. The Banewort 
(Fliodh-a'-Bhalla, C.) was formerly credited with many 
healing qualities. 

Sambucus, L. 

S. nigra, L. Common Elder. Droman. Frequently 
planted as a boundary hedge around cottage gardens. The 
inner bark was largely used along with other herbs in the 
preparation of healing ointments for burns, etc. Boys aspir- 
ing to be pipers made chanters of the young branches, which 
are full of soft pith and easily bored. June. 



THE FLORA 131 

Lonicera, L. 

L. Periclymenum, L. Honeysuckle ; "Woodbine. Caora 
Mhea(ng)lain. Twining round trees, over ledges of rocks, 
etc. Berries were eaten by children. July. 

RUBIACE.E (the Peruvian Bark family) 

A very large and important tropical order, including the 
Coffee plant. Quinine is extracted from the bark of various 
South American species of Cinchona (Peruvian Bark). The 
root of a shrubby Brazilian plant finds its way into com- 
merce under the name of Ipecacuanha. The Dyer's Madder 
(Madar) is largely cultivated for its scarlet dye. Some 
species Gardenia, Ixora, etc., are fragrant and pretty ever- 
green stove-plants. 

Galium, L.. 

G. vei'um, L. Lady's Bedstraw. Ruin ; Euamh, C. Dry 
banks and rocky ledges. Per., August. The roots are said to 
yield a red dye, and the plant to have been used in making 
rennet in some parts of the Highlands. 

G. saxatile, L. Heath Bedstraw. Madar Fraoich, C. 
Abundant in open heaths. Per., June. 

G. palustre, L., c Witheringii (Sm.). Marsh Bedstraw. 
Common in marshes and ditches. Per., July. 

G. uliginosum, L. Recorded by Messrs Grieve and 
Miller. 

G. Aparine, L. Goosegrass ; Cleavers. Seircean Suir'ich ; 
Luibh-na-Cabhrach. Neglected places. Used locally as a 
strainer in the preparation of flummery. Ann., July. The 
branches are used by the Swedes instead of a sieve to strain 
milk ; young geese are very fond of them. W. 

Asperula, L. 

A. odomta, L. Woodruff. Lus-na-Caithimh, C. Noted 
by Mr Somerville, probably an introduced plant. When 



132 COLONSAY 

drying it gives off a sweet scent, and was formerly used for 
imparting an agreeable odour to clean linen. 

Sherardia, L. 

S. arvensis, L. Field Madder. Balla Cnis Chu Chulloin, 
I. Not rare in well-drained situations, Kiloran. Ann. or 
BL, May. 

VALERIANACE.E (the Valerian family) 

Annual herbs and herbaceous perennials, often aromatic or 
strong scented. Spikenard (Spiocnard), long valued in India, 
as a perfume, is an aromatic oil obtained from the root of a 
Himalayan species. The roots of the Great Valerian (An 
Tribhileach) are grown in England for medical use. 

Valeriana, L. 

V. sambucifolia, Mikan. Cat's Valerian ; All-heal. Ard- 
skenish Glen ; local. Per., July. 

Valerianella, Hill 

V. olitoria, Poll. Cornsalad; Lamb's Lettuce. Leitis 
Luain, I. A small annual, common on the sand-dunes. 
May. Cultivated in places as a salad plant. 

DIPSACE^E (the Teasel family) 

Herbs or undershrubs. The dried flower-heads of the 
Fuller's Teasel (Liodan-an-Fhucadair, C.) is used for raising 
nap on cloth. 

Scabiosa, L. 

S. Succisa, L. Blue Scabious ; Devil's-bit. Gille- 
guirmein. Abundant. White forms seen. Per., August. 
The dried leaves are used to dye wool yellow or green. 
(Linn.) The plant furnishes a familiar example of the prse- 
morse or bitten-off root. This gave rise to the superstitious 



THE FLORA 133 

belief that "the divell, for the envie he beareth to mankind, 
bitt it off, because it would otherwise be good for many 
uses." W. 

"Gille-, Gille-guirmein 

Mu'n teid thu mu'n cuairt 

Buailidh mi mo dhorn ort " 

was rhymed (locally) by children as they held the unoffend- 
ing flower in the left hand with the right closed in a 
threatening attitude over it. The stalk was surreptitiously 
twisted beforehand, and held in such a way as to allow the 
flower-head to revolve only at will. 

S. arvensis, L. Field Scabious. Recorded by Messrs 
Grieve & Miller. 



COMPOSITE (the Composite family) 

This is the largest order of flowering plants, comprising 
over 10,000 species. British representatives are easily 
recognised by their inflorescence ; the flowers are collected 
into dense heads surrounded by an involucre, the whole 
resembling a single flower, as the Daisy, Dandelion, etc. 
Bitterness is their prevailing characteristic; some Worm- 
wood (Burmaid), Southernwood (Meath Challtuinn ; 
Surabhan, C.), Camomile (Camabhil) possessing, in 
addition, aromatic secretions. The milky juice of Lettuce 
(Liatus, C.) has narcotic properties. Sunflower seeds yield 
oil. Another species of Sunflower, Jerusalem Artichoke 
(a native of Brazil), furnishes edible tubers. The Globe 
Artichoke (Farusgag) is grown for its succulent, immature 
flower-heads. The blanched stems of Cardoons and the 
roots of Salsafy and Scorzonera are used as vegetables. 
Endive (Eanach Garaidh) is blanched for salad. The roots of 
Chicory (Castearbhain), roasted and ground, are used (a not 
unwholesome addition) to adulterate coffee. To the gardener 
the ornamental species Sunflowers (Grian-bhlath, I.), Chrys- 



134 COLONSAY 

anthemums, Asters, Dahlias, Everlastings, etc. belonging 
to this group are, for decorative purposes, indispensable. 

Eupatorium, L. 

E. cannabinum, L. Hemp Agrimony. Cainb Uisge, C. 
Bank of stream, Ardskenish Glen. Per., September. This 
is the only British representative of a large genus containing 
about 400 species, chiefly American. 

Solidago, L. 

S. Virgaurea, L. Golden Rod. An t-Slat-Oir. Common 
on dry, rocky hills about Uragaig. Per., August. 

Bellis, L. 

B. perennis, L. Common Daisy. Neoinean. Meadows 
and pastures. One of the principal ingredients used in the 
preparation of healing ointments. The leaves, and some- 
times the upper portion of the root-stock, are eaten by rabbits 
in winter time, but all animals avoid it when they can. 
Per. Flowering nearly always. 

Aster, L. 

The species of the genus are numerous in North America, 
some of which Michaelmas Daisies are popular late 
autumn flowering plants. 

A. Tripolium, L. Sea Aster. Eoinean Sailean. Marine 
turf, strand side. Per., September. 

Antennaria, Gaertn. 

A. dioica, Gaertn. Mountain Everlasting. Not un- 
common, usually in dry situations. Per., May. 

G?iaphalium ) L. 

G. uliginosum, L. Marsh Cudweed. Cnamh Lus ; Luibh 
a-Chait, C. Roadsides, Kiloran. Ann., August. 



THE FLORA 135 

Gr. sylvaticum, L. Wood Cudweed. Sandy fields, east 
Kiloran. Per., August. 

Inula, L. 

/. Helenium, L. Elecampane. Aillean. Old disused 
garden, Glasaird. Formerly cultivated for its medicinal 
properties. Per., July. Its root is credited as being tonic, 
diuretic, and diaphoretic. The plant is said to have been 
named by the Eomans after the Fair Helen of Troy. 

Bidens, L. 

B. tripartita, L. Bur-Marigold. Ditches, Kiloran and 
Leana-na-Cachaleith. Ann., September. 

AchiUea, L. 

A. Millefolium, L. Milfoil; Yarrow. Cathair Thalmh- 
ainn. (Lus-Chosgadh-na-Fola.) Abundant in sandy fields 
and pastures. Per., July. It is highly astringent. Re- 
commended for sowing in dry sheep-pastures, but more as a 
condiment than for affording direct nutritive matter. 

A. Ptarmica, L. Sneezewort. Meacan-Ragaim ; Lus-a- 
Chorrain, C. Common in moist situations on the low 
ground. Per., July. 

Anthemis, L. 

The true Camomile (A. nobilis) is cultivated for its flowers, 
long used as a stimulating tonic. 

A. Cotula, L. Stink Mayweed. Fineul Madra, I. Vacant 
ground, Kiloran. Ann., August. This and others of the 
tribe were popular cures for swellings and inflammation. C. 

A. arvensis, L. Camomile. Camabhil. Frequent in the 
vicinity of old habitations. An infusion of the leaves and 
flowers Avas drunk for strengthening the stomach. Also 
boiled in milk for a similar purpose. Used as an ingredient 
in poultices for promoting suppuration. Per., July. 



136 COLONSAY 

Chrysanthemum, L. 

For late autumn flowering and winter decoration the 
numerous forms now in cultivation are unequalled. C. 
sinense, a native of China introduced into this country in 
1764, is the parent of many of our large flowered kinds. 

C. segetum, L. Corn Marigold. Dithean. A showy 
weed of cultivated fields. Ann., July. It was used to 
soothe throbbing pains. 

C. Leucanthemum, L. Ox-eye Daisy. Nedinean Mor. 
Edges of fields, Kiloran. Per., July. This plant was 
esteemed an excellent remedy for king's-evil. C. 

Matricaria, L. 

M. inodora, L. Corn Mayweed. Buidheag-an-Arbhair, C. 
Common in waste places and at the seashore. Ann., July. 

M. inodora, b saUna, Bab. Shingly shore, Creagan ; 
leaves succulent. September. 

M. maritima, L. Sea rocks, Druim - na - Faoileann. 
Locally rare, and on record only from one vice-county. 
September. 

M. Ohamomilla, L. Wild Camomile. Recorded by Mr 
Grieve. 

Tanacetum, L. 

T. vulgare, L. Tansy. Lus - ria - Fraing. Grown in 
cottage gardens for flavouring purposes. Per., September. 

Artemisia, L. 

Aromatic herbs or shrubs. The Common "Wormwood 
(Burmaid) and the Sea Wormwood are British natives with 
aromatic and intensely bitter properties. The Roman 
Wormwood and Tarragon (from Siberia) are grown as pot- 
herbs. All are species of Artemisia. 



THE FLORA 137 

A.vulgaris,'L. Mugwort. LiathLus. On the raised-beach 
deposits. The leaveswere smoked by oldpeople. Per., August. 

Tussilago, L. 

T. Farfara, L. Coltsfoot. Gallan Greanach. An in- 
fusion of the leaves was drunk for whooping-cough. A 
popular remedy for chest troubles. The leaves were smoked 
as a substitute for tobacco. Per., April. 

Petasites, Hill 

P. ovatus, Hill. Butterbur. Gallan Mor. Kilchattan. 
The leaves, which are larger than those of any other British 
plant, were used as sunshades by children when playing. 
Per., April. 

Senecio, L. 

This is the largest genus of the order, occurring in all 
parts of the globe. Some species, of horticultural value, 
have recently been introduced from China. 

& vvlyaris, L. Groundsel. Grunnasg. Common garden 
weed. It was used as an ingredient in the healing ointments. 
Also applied to prevent suppuration. Ann. Nearly always 
in flower. Plants from the blown sands described by Mr 
Bennett as being "near the variety integrifolius, Opiz." 

S. sylvaticus, L. Mountain Groundsel. Recorded by 
Mr Miller. Ann. 

S. Jacobcea, L. Ragwort. Ballan Buidhe. Abundant in 
dry pastures. Ballan Buidhe Boirionn, the first year's growth 
or a barren form of the Ragwort, was commonly used as an 
ingredient in plasters for promoting suppuration. Per., 
September. 

S. aquaticus, Hill. Water Ragwort. Ditches and wet 
situations. Bi., July. 

S. aquaticus, var. pinnatifidus, Gren. and Godr. Wet 
ground, Kiloran. August. 



138 COLONSAY 

S. sarracenicus, L. Broad-leaved Groundsel. Koadside 
near Tigh Samhraidh. It has been growing in the same 
place for a long time, and was probably planted about the 
beginning of last century. Per., August. 

Carlina, L. 

C. vulgaris, L. Common Carline. Fothannan Min, I. 
Near the limestone rock, east side of Kiloran Bay, and a few 
plants on sandy hills, Balanahard. Bi., July. 

Arctium, L. 

A. minus, Bernh. Burdock. Mac-an-Dogha. Waste 
ground. The root was used in extracting-plasters. Bi., July. 

Cnicus, L. 

The Melancholy Thistle (Cluas-an-Fheidh), a species 
without prickles, is found in neighbouring islands. 

C. lanceolatus, Willd. Spear (plume) Thistle. Fothannan 
(Glas). (An Cluaran Deilgneach.) Common in fields in 
rather dry situations. Ann. or Bi., August. 

G. palustris, Willd. Marsh (plume) Thistle. Fothannan 
(Leana). Common in wet situations. The leaves and root- 
stock are eaten in winter by sheep. Bi., July. 

C. arvensis, Hoffrn. Creeping (plume) Thistle. Foth- 
annan Achaidh. A troublesome weed of cultivated fields. 
Per., July. 

Centaurea, L. 

Some species grown in gardens are herbaceous perennials 
with white, yellow, rose, violet, or purple coloured flowers ; 
others, annuals, with blue and white flowers. 

C. nigra, L. Knapweed ; Hardheads. Seamrag-nan- 
Each. Pastures. Per., July. 



THE FLORA 139 

Lapsana, L. 

. Nipplewort. Duilleag Mhaith ; Duilleag 
Mhin, C. One specimen seen beside path in wood. 
Ann., August. 

Crepis, L. 

0. capillaris, Wallr. Smooth Hawk's-beard. Dry fields 
and sandy situations. Ann. or Bi., July. 
C. tectoria. Alien. Turnip-field, Kiloran. 

Hieracium, L. 

A numerous and perplexing genus of perennial herbs. 
The latest (tenth) edition of the London Catalogue of British 
Plants enumerates about 300 species, varieties, and forms. 

H. Pilosella, L. Mouse-ear Hawk weed. Cluas Liath, 
C. Kiloran Bay. June. 

H. anglicum, Fr. Hills above Port-Easdail. August. 

H. euprepes, c divicolum, F. J. Hanb. Ardskenish. 
September. Confirmed by the late Rev. W. R. Linton. 

H, dissimile, Lindeb. Locality uncertain. 

If. vulgatum, Fr. Rocky ledge, northern exposure, 
Uragaig. September. 

H. vulgatum, d subravusculum, W. R. Linton. Rocky 
ledge, Kiloran Bay. September. Confirmed by the late 
Rev. W. R. Linton. 

H, maculatum, Sm. Top of old wall, Kiloran. June. 

H. strictum, Fr. Rocky ledges, Balanahard hills. 
September. Confirmed by the Rev. E. F. Linton. 

H. sabaudum, L., crigens (Jord.). Ledges of rocks, Loch 
Fada side ; northern exposure. September. Confirmed by 
the Rev. W. R. Linton. 

Hypoch&ris, L. 

(?) H. glabra, L. Smooth Cat's-ear. One plant, rocky 
hillock, Bealach-na-h-airde. October. 



140 COLONSAY 

H. radicata, L. Long-rooted Cat's-ear. Abundant in 
pastures and on rocky ledges throughout the island. Per., 
July. 

Leontodon, L. 

L. autumnale, L. Autumnal Hawkbit. Common on 
ledges of rocks and on an old wall in Kiloran. Per., August. 
One of the specimens submitted to him was described by 
Mr Bennett as glabrous, single-bearded ; another as departing 
from the type towards the variety linearifolius, Breb. 

L. autumnale, b. pratense (Koch). Locality uncertain. 
September. Confirmed by Eev. E. F. Linton. Forms 
simplex and glabrata were recognised by Mr Bennett among 
specimens sent. 

Taraxacum, Hall 

T. officinale, Weber. Common Dandelion. Bearnan 
Bride. Abundant. The roots and leaves were boiled and the 
decoction drunk. Per. Flowering for a lengthened period. 
The roots have a bitter taste, and are tonic, aperient, and 
diuretic. Dried, roasted, and ground, they are sometimes 
mixed with coffee or even used as a substitute for it. The 
plant is cultivated and the leaves blanched for salad both in 
England and France. 

T. erythrospermum, Andrz. Not uncommon at Poll Gorm 
and at Cr6isebrig, Balanahard. May. 

T. erythrospermum, b. Icevigatum (DC.). East side of 
Traigh-nam-Barc. May. 

T. palustre, DC. Balanahard hills. July. 

(?) T. spectabile, Dahlst. Poll Gorm. May. Material 
insufficient to be certain. 

Sonchus, L. 

S. oleraceus. L. Common Sow-thistle. Bog-Fhonntan. 
Bainne Muice, I. A garden weed. Ann., July. A very 
favourite food with hares and rabbits. W. 



THE FLORA 141 

S. asper, Hill. Prickly Sow-thistle. Searbhan Muc, I. 
Commoner than the preceding species. A very prickly form 
is met with on the sandy shores. Ann., July. 

S. arvensis, L. Corn Sow-thistle. Bliochd Fochainn, C. 
A conspicuous cornfield weed. Per., September. The flowers 
regularly follow the course of the sun. W. 

CAMPANULACE^; (the Campanula family) 

Principally herbs, including many beautiful garden flower- 
ing plants. 

Lobelia, L. 

The pretty dwarf Lobelias so much used for bedding are 
varieties and hybrids raised from blue and white South African 
species L. erinus, L. bicolor, etc. L. cardinalis from Vir- 
ginia, usually treated as half-hardy, has locally proved hardy. 

L. Dortmanna, L. Water Lobelia. Plur-an-Lochain, C. 
Shallow waters, edge of Loch Fada Per., June. 

Jasione, L. 

/. montana, L. Sheep's-bit. Dubhan-nan-Caora, C. 
Kecorded by Messrs Grieve and Somerville. 

Campanula, L. 

A numerous genus with many garden representatives 
C. medium (Canterbury Bell), C. pyramidalis, C. persicifolia, 
etc. that greatly contribute to the beauty of the greenhouse 
and the herbaceous border. The Garden Rampion (Meacan 
Raibe Fiadhain (?), I.) is cultivated for its fleshy root. 

G. rotundifolia, L. Common Harebell ; Scottish Bluebell. 
Broga-Cuthaig. Am Pluran Cluigeannach, C. Broga- 
Cuthaig is also locally applied to the Pansy and the Dog 
Violet. Common on dry rocky ledges. White forms have 
been seen. Per., August. 



142 COLONSAY 

VACCINIACE^; (the Cranberry family) 
The Cowberry (Dearc-Mhonaidh) and Cranberry (Muileag ; 
Gearr-Dhearc), common in the Highlands, bear edible fruit. 
The Bogberry (Dearc Koide, C. ; Mdineog, I.) is said, when 
eaten, to cause headache. 

Vacdnium, L. 

F. Myrtillus, L. Blaeberry; Whortleberry. Dearca 
Coille. Abundant, Coille-mhor. Berries edible. May. 
The plant (with alum) yields a blue dye. The first tender 
leaves cannot be distinguished from real tea when properly 
gathered and dried. W. Dearcan Fithich, C. 



(the Heath family) 
Shrubs of low growth, often growing on moors and hills 
in peaty soil. The foliage of some species Rhododendrons, 
Azaleas, etc. is poisonous. The briar-root of commerce, 
for making pipes, is the wood of the Tree Heath, a native 
of the south of Europe. This order includes some pretty 
greenhouse and garden shrubs Indian Rhododendrons, 
American Azaleas, etc. The Strawberry Tree (Caithne, C.) 
is confined to Ireland. 

Arctostaphylos, Adans. 

A. Uva-ursi, Spreng. Bearberry. Braoileag. Among 
the heather on dry, rocky hills. May. 

Calluna, Salisb. 

0. vulgaris, Hull. Common Ling or Heather. Fraoch. 
By far the commonest species. Used for making door- 
mats, brooms, ropes for fixing on thatch, etc. A green dye 
(with alum) is obtained from it. Heather ale is said to 
have been formerly made from the green tops. Miona 
(meanbh) Fhraoch = the young growth after the old heather 
is burned. Cattle prefer it to the older growth, and it forms 



THE FLORA 143 

the principal food of grouse. White forms (Fraoch Geal) 
are not uncommon. August. This is the most widely dis- 
tributed of all the heaths. The badge of the Macdonalds. 
Fraoch Badanach (?). Fraoch Gorm, C. 

Erica, L. 

A numerous genus of more than 400 species (mostly from 
South-West Africa), besides innumerable cultivated hybrids 
and varieties. 

E. Tetralix, L. Cross-leaved Heath. Fraoch Gucanach. 
Heaths and wet moors. This, owing to its fine wiry nature, 
is the kind most preferred for brooms, scouring-brushes, etc. 
July. Fraoch-an-Ruinnse, C. 

E. cinerea, L. Scottish Heather ; Bell Heather. Fraoch 
Meangan. White forms of this species and E. Tetralix are 
seen. August. Badge of the Robertsons. Fraoch Seangan. 
Fraoch-a'-Bhadain, C. 

Pyrola, L. 

P. media, Sw. Recorded by Mr Somerville. 

P. minor, L. Common Wintergreen. Near Slochd-an- 
Fhomhair. Per., June. A small colony on an exposed 
headland, Uragaig, did not flower in 1908; the species 
was not determined. P. minor was recorded by Mr. Ewing 
from Jura in 1888. 

PLUMBAGINACE^: (the Plumbago family) 
Principally herbs, with bitter or acrid properties. 

Statice, Linn. 

S. maritima, L. Thrift ; Sea Pink. Ne6inean Cladaich. 
Abundant on the sea rocks and on the shore turf. Per., May. 

PRIMULACEE (the Primrose family) 

"Herbs, excelling in the beauty of their flowers. The 
Auricula (Lus-na-Ban-Righ, C.), Sow-bread (Culurin, C.), 



144 COLONSAY 

Shieldworts, etc., are represented in gardens by many pretty 
varieties. 

Primula, L. 

A genus of plants including lovely alpine species. The 
Cowslip (Muisean) and the Oxlip (Bugha Geal, I.) are 
British natives. Wine is made from the flowers of the 
Cowslip. P. sinensis from China and P. japonica from 
Japan are old greenhouse favourites. 

P. vulgaris, Huds. Primrose. Sobhrachan. Samharcan, 
C. Edges of woods and shady slopes and banks. Used as 
an ingredient in healing ointments. Per., May. 

"Sobhrachan, Samhrachan, Biadh-iir-Eunachan, is maith am biadh 

paisd, e ; 

Grainnseagan 's Dearca Coille, biadh na cloinne san t-samhradh." 

(Children's rhyme ; local.) 

An agreeable wine is prepared from Primroses, not very 
unlike that made from Cowslips, but considered still more 
delicate in flavour. 

Lysimachia, L. 

L. punctata, Linn. Yellow Loosestrife. Introduced, and 
grown in gardens. 

L. nemorum, L. Yellow Pimpernel. (Seamrag Mhuire.) 
Damp situations, Kiloran woods. Per., July. 

Glaux, L. 

Gf. maritima, L. Sea Milkwort ; Black Saltwort. In 
plenty on the shore turf, Traigh-nam-Barc, and wedged 
in between the joints of the phyllites, Port - an - Obain, 
Balanahard. Common seashore plant. Per., June. 

Anagallis, L. 

A. arvensis, L. Scarlet Pimpernel ; Poor Man's Weather- 
glass. (Falcair-Fiadhain.) Cornfields, etc. Ann., July. On 



THE FLORA 145 

the approach of rain the petals close. Farcuire Fuar, I. 
Formerly used medicinally as a purgative. C. This 
species, like the common Chickweed, has accompanied man 
in his migrations over a great part of the globe. 

A. tenella, Murr. Bog Pimpernel. Common on mossy 
banks and in wet situations. Per., July. 

Centunculus, L. 

C. minimus, L. Small Chaffweed ; Bastard Pimpernel. 
Traigh Staosnaig and Balanahard. August. This little 
annual, which has not yet, probably on account of its 
smallness, been recorded from the neighbouring islands, 
has a wide distribution over Europe, Russian Asia, North 
America, and Australia. 

Samolus, L. 

S. Valerandi, L. Brookweed. Edges of stony shallow 
streams, particularly at the shore. Per., July. 

OLEACE.E (the Olive family) 

The order is represented in shrubberies by the Lilac 
(Craobh Liath-ghorm, C.), Jasmine, etc. The Privet (Ras 
Chrann Sior-uaine ; Priobhadh, C.) is much used for hedges, 
and thrives well in towns. The Olive (Crann Oladh), a 
native of Syria and Greece, yields the valuable Olive oil. 
The branch of the Olive signifies peace and plenty. 

Fraxinus, L. 

F. excel&or, L. Ash. Uinnseann. One of the commonest 
planted trees in Kiloran plantations, and growing naturally 
from seed. Some trees are also to be seen in Glaic-an- 
Uinnsinn which are possibly indigenous. Wood used 
locally for tool-handles, swingle-trees, etc. May. Tough 
and elastic, it was formerly selected for spear-handles, as 

10 



146 COLONSAY 

now it is the wood used for the lance-shafts of the British 
-cavalry. The wood of the American Ash (F. americana, L.), 
though largely imported into this country for agricultural 
implements, tool-handles, etc., is inferior to the British Ash. 
The leaves act like Senna. 

ApocYNACEjE (the Periwinkle family) 

A large tropical order ; some species yielding milky, elastic, 
and sometimes very poisonous juices, while others furnish 
edible fruits, oil, medicine, etc. The Silk Eubber Tree of 
Lagos is one of the most important sources of West African 
rubber. The order furnishes some beautiful stove plants 
Allamandas, Dipladenias, etc. The South European Oleander 
is an old greenhouse favourite. 

VincM, L. 

V. minor, L. Lesser Periwinkle. Gille-Fionndruinn. 
Introduced. May. Badge of the M'Lachlans. 

GENTIANACEJE (the Gentian family) 

Herbs, occurring principally in temperate and mountainous 
regions, where some species mark the highest limits of 
vegetation. They are characterised by powerfully bitter 
properties, and are universally used as febrifugal and 
stomachic medicines. Some species (Gentians) are among 
the prettiest of alpine plants. 

Centaurium, Hill 

C. umbellatum, Gilib. Centaury. Deagha Dearg, I. 
Sandy uncultivated hillocks, Druim-buidhe. Bi., July. 

C. umbellatum, b capitatum. Close to the shore, Port- 
&- Bhuailtein. September. 



THE FLORA 147 

Gentiana, L. 

G. Amarella, L. Autumn Gentian. Machrins golf- 
links, and sandy pasture, Balanahard Bay. Ann., August. 

G. campestris, L. Field Gentian. Lus-a-Chrubain. 
Frequent in moist pastures. Ann., August. This plant 
acts as an excellent tonic. It is believed to be a good 
remedy for the disease called "cruban " in cattle. C. 

G. baltica, Murb. Dry, sandy, uncultivated hillocks, 
Ardskenish Glen. August. 

Menyanthes, L. 

J/. trifoliata, L. Buckbean ; Bog Bean. Luibh-nan-tri- 
Beann. Common at the edges of the lochs. An infusion 
of the stem and leaves is a popular remedy for a "weak 
stomach, the stem being also chewed for the same purpose. 
Per., June. 

POLEMONIACE^E (the Polemonium family) 

Principally herbs, including the beautiful perennial 
Phloxes and annual Gilias. 

Polemonium, L 

P. cceruleum, L. Jacob's Ladder; Greek Valerian. 
Introduced, and grown in gardens. 

BORAGINACE.E (the Borage family) 

Herbs, usually with roughly hairy stems and leaves, and 
the flowers in one-sided spikes. Their properties are mucil- 
aginous and cooling, and the roots of some kinds (Alkanet, 
etc.) yield a dye. The mucilage from the root of the 
Comfrey (^Sleacan Dubh ; Lus-nan-Cnamh-briste, C.) was 
formerly considered a good remedy for uniting broken bones. 
The Peruvian Heliotrope has long been grown for its sweet 



148 COLONSAY 

perfume. Species of North American Nemophilas are showy 
dwarf annuals. N. insignis has large, distinct, sky-blue 
flowers. 

Borago, L. 

B. officinalis, L. Borage. (Borraidh.) Introduced. Ann. 
or Bi., July. A native of the east Mediterranean region, it 
has, by long cultivation, become naturalised in various parts 
of England. The flowers are used for garnishing, and the 
young leaves employed in salads and also pickled. A good 
honey-producing plant, it is sometimes sown for bees. 

Anchusa, L. 

A. officinalis, L. Common Alkanet. Recorded by 
Messrs Grieve and Miller. 

Lycopsis, L. 

L. arvensis, L. Small Bugloss. Lus-Teang'-an-Daimh, 
C. A weed of sandy cultivated fields. Ann., July. 

Myosotis, L. 

Early flowering and hardy, some kinds are commonly 
utilised in " spring bedding " arrangements. 

M. ccespitosa, Schultz. Forget-me-not ; Scorpion-grass. 
Cobharach. Cotharach, C. Locally used as an emblem of 
good luck. Per., July. 

M. palustris, Hill. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

M. repens, G. and D. Don. "This is the chief Forget- 
me-not of the island, flowering a little earlier than ccespitosa " 
(Somerville). Per., June. 

M, sylvatica, Hoffm. Neighbourhood of garden, Kiloran. 
Introduced. May. 

M. arvensis, Hill. Cultivated ground, Geadhail-na- 
Ceardach. Ann., June. 

M. collina, Hoffm. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 



THE FLORA 149 

M. versicolor, Sin. Changing Forget-me-not. Un- 
cultivated hillocks ; common. Ann., June. 

M. versicolor, var. laxa, Bosch. Slender form, cultivated 
field, Kiloran. 

CONVOLVULACE.E (the Convolvulus family) 

Herbs, twining or prostrate, often with handsome plaited 
flowers. The most important species of the family is 
Ipomcea Batatas (Sweet Potato). Jalep, the well-known 
purgative, is prepared from the root of a Mexican plant. 
Annual kinds of Convolvulus are showy climbing objects. 
The Seaside Convolvulus occurs in the Outer Hebrides in 
the island of Eriskay, where it is supposed to have been 
planted by Prince Charlie hence known there as Flur-a- 
Phrionnsa (the Prince's flower). 

Calystegia, Br. 

C. sepium, Br. Larger Convolvulus ; Hooded Bindweed. 
Duil Mhial, C. Roadside, Glasaird Per., August. 

Convolvulus, L. 

C. arvensis, L. Small Bindweed. ladh-lus, C. Lower 
Kilchattan. July. 



he Nightshade family) 

A large order of herbs and shrubs, chiefly tropical. Many 
are characterised by dangerous and narcotic properties; 
others, as the Tomato, Egg-plant, Potato (Buntata), etc., 
furnish wholesome fruit or tubers. Tobacco (Tombaca) 
was brought to this country shortly after the middle of the 
sixteenth century. Cayenne Pepper (Peabar Dearg) is the 
powdered seed of species of Capsicum. The root of the 
Mandrake (Mandrag) was credited by the ancients with 
many virtues. British species the Deadly Nightshade 



150 COLONSAY 

(Lus-na-Dibh-M6r, I.), Henbane (Caothach-nan-Cearc), 
Thorn-apple have very poisonous properties. The "Tea 
Plant," a straggling shrub, is recommended for situations 
exposed to the sea-breezes. 

Solanum, L. 

A numerous genus, particularly abundant in South America, 
S. tuberosum (the Potato) is a native of Chili and Peru, 
where it is found growing on sterile mountains and in damp 
forests near the sea. According to some it was introduced 
to this country by Sir Walter Ealeigh (from Virginia, in 
1586) ; in the opinion of others, by Sir Francis Drake. The 
numerous excellent varieties now in cultivation have sprung 
from a few comparatively worthless wild species. At the 
Franco-British Exhibition in London (1908) no less than 
300 selected kinds (named) were exhibited by Messrs Sutton 
& Sons. The same firm showed a number of wild types at 
the R.H.S. Temple ShoAv in May 1907. 

S. Dulcamara, L. Bittersweet. Fuath-gorm, C. Burn- 
side, Kiloran, and gullies, Kiloran Bay. Per., July. The 
berries are bitter and poisonous. The root and stem have 
a bitter taste followed by a degree of sweetness, hence the 
common English name. A decoction of the plant is said to- 
be good for internal injuries. 

SCROPHULARIACEJS (the Scrophularia family) 

One of the most largely represented of British orders, 
remarkable for many beautiful flowering species. They 
are generally acrid or bitter, and sometimes, as in the 
Foxglove, poisonous, representatives of exotic (Calceolaria, 
Pentstemon, Mimulus, etc.) and native genera (Speedwell, 
Toadflax, Mullein, Snapdragon, etc.) are old favourites. 
Some kinds Lousewort, Yellow Rattle, Eyebright, and 
Cow-wheat are semi-parasitical. 



THE FLORA 151 

Verbascum, L. 

V. var. Mullein. Cow's Lungwort. Coinueal Mhuire, C, 
Introduced, and growing naturally from seed, Kiloran. 

Antirrhinum, L. 

A. var. Snapdragon. Sriumh-na-Laogh, C. Top of 
garden wall. Per., July. 

Scrophularia, L. 

S. nodosa, L. Figwort. (Lus-nan-Cnapan ; Farach Dubh.) 
Gully below Tigh Iain Daraich. Per., August. The name 
is derived from scrofula, for which species of the genus 
were considered an excellent remedy. S. nodosa was 
formerly employed in medicine as an emetic and purgative. 

Mimulus, L. 

M. luteus, Willd. Yellow Mimulus. Burnside, Kiloran, 
Per., August. Originally a native of North- West America 
and Chili, it has now become naturalised in many parts of the 
country. 

Digitalis, L. 

D. purpurea, L. Foxglove. Meuran-nan-Daoine-Marbh. 
Abundant in dry situations at the roadside, in the woods, 
and on the hills. Sithean-as-nach-cinn is the name locally 
applied to the first year's growth of this species, one of the 
herbs frequently used in poultices. Damh-donn is believed 
to apply to the same plant. White forms only seen occasion- 
ally. Bi. or Per., July. It contains a powerful poison, used 
in medicine as a diuretic and sedative. 

Veronica, L. 

Beautiful hybrids with white, purple, blue, red, or crimson 
flowers have been obtained from New Zealand shrubby species 
V. speciosa, V. salicifolia (both locally hardy), and others. 



152 COLONSAY 

F. hedercefoUa, L. Ivy-leaved Speedwell. Garden weed, 
Kiloran. Ann., May. 

F. polita, Fr. Old wall, Kiloran. Ann., May. 

V. agrestis, L. Procumbent Speedwell. Common weed 
of cultivated fields on the raised-beach deposits. Ann., May. 

F. Tournefortii, C. Gmel. Garden weed, Benoran. 
Ann., May. 

F. peregrina, L. A few plants on gravel-walk, Kiloran 
garden. Ann., June. "A native of America; now a weed 
in Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Italy. 
In Great Britain it was first observed near Belfast in Ireland " 
(A. B.). 

F. arvensis, L. Wall Veronica. Abundant on old walls, 
in pastures, etc. Ann., July. 

F. arvensis, L., b nana, Poir. Hollow in the blown 
sands, Balanahard Bay. May. 

F. serpyllifolia, L. Smooth-leaved Speedwell. Hills 
above mill ; common. Per., May. 

V. officincdis, L. Common Speedwell. (Lus ere.) Dry 
slopes. Per. The leaves have a slight degree of astrin- 
gency and bitterness. 

F. Chamcedrys, L. Germander Speedwell. Nuallach, I. 
Abundant all over the island. Per., May. 

F. scutellata, L. Marsh Speedwell. Marshy ground, 
Pairc Bhaile Mhaide ; rare. Per., June. 

F. Beccabunga, L. Brooklime. Lochal, C. Biolair Mhuire, 
I. Muddy places in various localities. Per., September. 

Euphrasia, L. 

Herbs, the British species of which are annual, and semi- 
parasitic on the roots of grasses. Their tendency to hybri- 
dise increases the difficulties of correct determination. 
The following were kindly named by the Eev. E. S. 
Marshall, M.A., F.L.S., from dried specimens collected 
in July and August, E. borealis, Towns. , abundant on 



THE FLORA 153 

wet ground in some of the islands, is not included in the 
local list. 

E. Rostkoviana, Hayne. Mr Ewing believed some speci- 
mens submitted to answer the description of this species. 
Mr M'Vicar found it a common plant on the West Coast. 

E. brevipila, Burnat and Gremli. Eyebright. Briollan. 
(Lus-nan-Leac.) Balaromin-dubh. August. One of the 
commonest kinds in pastures. An infusion of this and other 
species was believed to be beneficial as an application to 
sore eyes. 

E. gracilis, Fr. A slender species, found in wet situa- 
tions on hilly ground. 

E. curta, Wettst., b. glabrescens, Wettst. Frequent on 
sandy, hilly ground near the shore. 

Bartsia, L. 

B. Odontites, Huds. Red Bartsia. Moist situations in 
fields and pastures. Ann., July. It is half parasitical on 
the roots of other plants. 

B. Odontites, var. verna. Noted by Mr Somerville. 

B. Odontites, d. litoralis, Reichb. Growing down close to 
the sea rocks, Port Mor. " This var. was found by Mr 
Symers Macvicar at Mingary Bay, Ardnamurchan, Argyll 
shire, in July 1896 and sent to me. Since, it has only 
occurred near Wick in Caithness in 1906. It occurs in 
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc." (A. B.). 

Pedicularis, L. 

P. palustris, L. Marsh Lousewort ; Red Rattle. Lus 
Riabhach ; Modhalan Dearg, C. Marshes, sides of ditches, 
etc. A taller and later flowering plant, it is hardly so 
plentiful as the following species. Bi., July. 

P. sylvatica, L. Lousewort. Lus-na-Meala ; Bainne-b6- 
Gamhnach ; Bainne Crodh Laoigh. Abundant in peaty 
pastures. Bi. or Per., May. In olden times it was believed 



154 COLONSAY 

that the plant caused animals which grazed on it to become 
subject to parasites (hence the common English name), the 
poor condition of the animals being really due to the inferior 
pasturage in which the plant grows. The Gaelic names, on 
the other hand, were derived from the honey secreted in the 
floAvers, which children were in the habit of sucking. 

RJiinanthus, L. 

R. Grista-galli, L. Yellow Rattle. Gleadhran. Abund- 
ant in poor meadows. Ann., June. This plant has short 
fibrous roots which become attached to the living roots of 
grasses and other plants by means of suckers. These abstract 
nourishment from the host plants ; and where it is abundant, 
as at Crosan, the hay crop is invariably light. Modhalan 
Buidhe, C. 

Melampyrum, L. 

M. pratense, L. Cowwheat. Not uncommon in dry 
situations on the hilly ground. Ann., July. 

OROBANCHACE.E (the Broomrape family) 
A small order of parasitical herbs. The Toothwort is a 
parasite often growing in Britain on the roots of the Hazel. 

Orobanche, L. 

0. rubra, Sm. Eed Broomrape. Muchdg, I. Neighbour- 
hood of Kiloran Bay, growing on the roots of the Wild 
Thyme. A brittle plant, it is frequently broken down by 
sheep. Per., June. 

LENTIBULARIACE^E (the Pinguicula family) 
Marsh or aquatic plants with spurred flowers. 

Utricularia, L. 

U. major, Schrnidel. Common Bladderwort. In deep 
water, west Loch Fada. Per., July. 



THE FLORA 155 

U. minor, L. Common in peat-holes on the moors. July. 
U. intermedia, Hayne. Peat-bogs, Kilchattan hills. 

Pinguicula, L. 

P. vulgaris, L. Butterwort. Modalan. (Badan Meas- 
gan.) Frequent on wet banks. This plant, together with 
the Whin and Juniper, was believed to act as a charm against 
witchcraft. Cows that ate it were safe from elfish arrows 
and supernatural ailments that were supposed to make 
much havoc in olden times. It was believed that a healthy, 
nice-looking baby was sometimes coveted and, when the 
opportunity occurred, even carried off by the fairies and a 
languishing, old-fashioned creature left in its place. Some 
women, as the story goes, who were watching a new-born 
infant in a house in Machrins to make sure that the child 
would not be changed, heard two fairies coming to the 
window, and the following conversation take place. "We 
will take it," said one. "We will not, we cannot," said 
the other ; "its mother partook of the butter of the cow that 
ate the Butterwort." Per., June. It is said to possess the 
property of coagulating milk. 

P. lusitanica. L. Pale Butterwort. Not uncommon in 
peat-bogs. Per., August. 

LABIATE (the Labiate family) 

A large order, comprising upwards of 3000 species, wholly 
devoid of hurtful properties. Aromatic oil is secreted in 
the glands of the leaves of many, which render them valu- 
able as stimulants, flavouring herbs, ingredients of perfumes, 
etc. Marjoram (Oragan, C.), Savory (Garbhag Garaidh), 
Hyssop (Isop), Sage (Saitse), etc., are cultivated as pot-herbs. 
In addition to being used for stuffing, Sage was formerly 
in demand as tea. Lavender (Lus-na-Tuise, C.), Eosemary 
(Corr-Lus), etc., are largely used in the preparation of 
perfumes. Lavender is cultivated in Surrey and Lincoln- 



156 COLONSAY 

shire for the flowers from \vhich the oil is distilled. A 
decoction of the leaves of Rosemary is said to relieve head- 
aches, and also to promote the growth of hair and cure 
baldness. The leaves and tops of Horehound (Graf an Ban, 
C.), in addition to possessing tonic and laxative properties, 
have long been a popular remedy for asthma and coughs. 
The beverage Horehound beer is made from it. Salvia 
splendens (brilliant scarlet), S. patens (lovely blue), and many 
other species decorate gardens. 

Mentha, L. 

Various species Pennyroyal (Borragach, L), Peppermint, 
Spearmint, etc. have long been cultivated as carminative 
aromatics. For culinary purposes Spearmint is preferred, 
as in sauces, salads, etc. ; but for medicine Peppermint and 
Pennyroyal are more efficacious. A conserve of the leaves 
is very grateful, and the distilled waters, both simple and 
spirituous, are very agreeable. The virtues of Mint are 
those of warm stomachic and carminative. For winter use 
the herb should be cut in a very dry season, and just when 
they are in flower ; if cut in the wet they will turn black 
and be of little worth. W. 

M, spicata, L. Spearmint. Cartal Garaidh. (Mionnt 
Garaidh.) Site of old garden, Pairc-dhubh. Cultivated in 
gardens. Per., August. 

M. piperita, L. Peppermint. (Mionntuinn.) Burnside, 
Kiloran Bay. Formerly grown in Kiloran garden for the 
distillation of peppermint cordial for medicinal use. Per., 
August. 

M. aquatica, L., a liirsuta (Huds.). Water Mint. Cartal 
Uisge. This kind (irrespective of variety), was collected 
in summer and used for flavouring both in the green state 
and dried. A few sprigs were tied with a piece of thread 
and immersed in the vessel with the food that was cooking 



THE FLORA 157 

until it was sufficiently flavoured. (M. hirsuta, Rev. E. F. 
Linton.) Per., August. 

M. aquatica, L., x arvensis. Moist ground west of pond, 
Iviloran. (M. sativa, Rev. E. F. Linton.) 

M. aquatica, L., x arvensis, b paludosa (Sole). Ditch^ 
Ceann-da-Leana ; September. (M. paludosa, Rev. E. F. 
Lintoii.) 

(?) M. gentilis, L. Vicinity of garden, Kiloran. 
September. 

M. arvensis, L. Corn Mint. (Mionnt-an-Arbhair.) 
Cornfield, Uragaig Bheag. Per., August. 

Lycopus, L. 

L. europceus, L. Gipsywort. Feoran Curraigh, I. In 
moist gullies on the eastern shore, in the neighbourhood of 
Loch Fada, and other places. Per., July. It dyes black. 
The juice gives a permanent colour to linen, wool, and silk, 
which will not wash out. W. 

Thymus, L. 

The common garden Thyme (Tim, L), used in soups and 
for stuffings, etc., is a native of the south of Europe. 

T. serpyllum, L. Wild Thyme. Luibh-na-Machrach. 
(Lus-Mhic-Righ-Bhreatuinn.) Dry and sandy situations, 
especially near the shore. It was much used for making tea. 
Per., August. This plant had the reputation of giving 
courage and strength through its smell. Highlanders take 
an infusion of it to prevent disagreeable dreams. C. The 
dried leaves, used instead of tea, are exceedingly grateful and 
a good stomachic ; the tops dye purple. W. 

Melissa, L. 

M. officinalis, L. Common Balm. Lus-na-Malla, L 
Introduced and formerly used for making tea. Per., July. 



158 COLONSAY 

Scutellaria, L. 

S. galericulata, L. Common Skullcap. Stony shores, 
: Slochd-an-Fhomhair, and eastern side of the island. Per., 
September. 

S. minor, Huds. Lesser Skullcap. Common in moist 
situations in the hilly pastures. September. 

Prunella, L. 

P. vulgaris, L. Self-heal. Ceann-a-Sgadain-Dheirg. 
Ceanabhan Beag, C. Abundant ; white forms not uncommon. 
A popular remedy for chest ailments, it was collected in 
summer, tied in bundles, and hung up to the kitchen roof to 
dry for winter use. The plants were boiled in milk and 
strained before using ; butter was added. Per., August. 

Stavhys, L. 

S. palustris, L. Marsh Woundwort. Brisgean-nan-Cao- 
rach. A troublesome weed found in badly drained places in 
cultivated fields. Sheep are fond of the fleshy rhizomes. 
Per., September. The roots have also been used for the 
table. The plant was formerly held in high repute for 
wound-healing and blood-stopping qualities. 

S. sylvatica, L. Hedge Woundwort. (Lus-nan-Sgor.) A 
coarse, hairy perennial with a fetid scent ; not uncommon on 
banks at the roadside, Kiloran. August. 

S. arvensis, L. Corn Woundwort. A common weed of 
cultivated fields. Ann., August. 

Galeopsis, L. 

G. speciosa, Mill. An Gath Buidhe, C. Cultivated 
fields. Ann., September. 

G. Tetrahit, L. Common Hemp Nettle. Feanndag Nimh- 
neach. An Gath Dubh, C. A common cornfield weed 
Ann., September. 



THE FLORA 159 

Lamium, L. 

L. amplexicaule, L. Henbit. Neannt6g Chaoch, I. Re- 
corded by Mr Somerville. 

L. molucellifolium, Fr. Common garden weed. Ann., 
June. 

L. purpureum, L. Red Dead-nettle. Neanntag Aog. 
A weed of gardens and fields. Ann., June. 

Teucrium, L. 

T. Scorodonia, L. Wood Sage. Saitse Fiadhaich. Abun- 
dant in dry, rocky situations on the east side of the island. 
Per., August. 

Ajuga, L. 

A. reptans, L. Creeping Bugle. Meacan Dubh Fiadh- 
ain, C. Abundant, and thinly carpeting the ground with 
its runners, under the trees in Kiloran woods. Per., May. 
It was formerly used as a vulnerary, and possesses a con- 
siderable degree of astringency. In olden times it was used 
as a specific in gout, jaundice, and other complaints. 

A . pyramidalis, L. Erect Bugle. Rocky crevices, 
Balanahard. The plants were much eaten by sheep or 
rabbits. Bi. or Per., May. 

PLANTAGINACE.E (the Plantain family) 

A small order, occurring in greatest abundance in the 
temperate regions of the Old World. 

Plantago, L. 

P. major, L. Greater Plantain; Way-bread. Cuach 
Pharuig. One of the principal ingredients used locally in 
extracting-plasters. The leaf was sometimes warmed, beaten 
between the palms, and the ribs pulled out to make them 
smooth for applying to boils after they commenced to run. 



160 COLONSAY 

Per., September. The fruiting spikes are gathered in the 
green state and used for feeding caged birds. 

P. lanceolata, L. Ribwort Plantain ; Rib Grass. Slan- 
lus. Abundant in pastures, and one of the most commonly 
used herbs for medicinal purposes. It was pounded inta 
pulp and laid over wounds and used as an ingredient in the 
healing ointments. Bi. or Per., July. It was formerly 
cultivated on the mainland as a forage plant. 

P. maritima, L. Seaside Plantain. Feur Saille. Com- 
mon at the seaside. Cattle are fond of it, and it is believed 
to improve the yield of cream and butter. It was gathered 
for pet rabbits. Per., July. 

P. maritima, var. glabrata. Uragaig shore. September. 

P. coronopus, L. Buckshorn Plantain. Star of the Earth. 
Abundant in dry situations near the shore. Bi., July. It 
was formerly cultivated in this country for the leaves, which 
were used in salads ; it is still grown in France. 

Littorela, Bergius. 

L. uniflora, Aschers. Shore-weed. Abundant along the 
shallow, stony margins of the lochs. Per., July. 

ILLECEBRACE^E (the Illebrecum family). 
Weedy herbs or shrubs abounding in the more sterile 
tracts of temperate regions. 

Sderanthus, L. 

S. annuus, L. Knawel. Cobhair Mhuire, I. A small 
annual of fields and waste places, recorded by Mr Somerville. 

AMARANTHACE,E (the Amaranthus family) 
A large tropical order, several foreign species of which are 
becoming naturalised in this country. Tender varieties 
Love-lies-Bleeding (Lus-a-Ghraidh, C.), Prince's Feather, 
Cockscomb are grown in gardens. 



THE FLORA 161 

Amaranthus, L. 

A. sp. Vacant ground, Kiloran ; introduced with feeding- 
stuffs. Ann., August. 

CHENOPODIACE^; (the Goosefoot family) 

A large order growing in waste places and within the 
influence of a saline atmosphere. Some possess medicinal 
properties, and others Spinach (Spionaiste ; Lus Mine, I.), 
Beet, etc. are cultivated as kitchen garden esculents. Mari- 
time species were formerly valued for the quantity of soda 
contained in their ashes. 

Chenopodium, L. 

A rather large genus of herbs. The farinaceous seeds of C. 
Quinoa are an important article of food to the inhabitants of 
Peru, and it is sometimes cultivated in gardens and the leaves 
used like Spinach. Good King Henry, All-good (Praiseach 
Brathair, C.), was formerly much used as a pot-herb. 

C. album, L. White Goosefoot. Cal Slapach. Waysides. 
The leaves were boiled, pounded, buttered, and eaten like 
Spinach. Ann., August. 

Beta, L. 

B. maritima, L. Common Beet. (Biotais.) A few plants 
on the rocky shore near Carraig Chatan. Per., June. The 
sugar and garden varieties of Beet and the Mangold Wurzel 
are improved forms of the wild species. 

Atriplex, L. 

I A large genus, generally common in maritime regions. A. 

hortensis (Orache), a native of Tartary, is cultivated for its 
leaves. 

A. patula, L. Common Orache. Praiseach Mhin, C. 

11 



162 COLONSAY 

Stony shore, Scalasaig harbour. Ann., August. It is some- 
times gathered as a pot-herb and eaten in lieu of Spinach 
and other greens. W. 

A. patula, b. erecta, Huds. A more erect form than the 
type abundant at Port Mor. 

A. patula, c. angustifolia (Sm.). Recorded by Messrs 
Grieve and Miller. 

A. Babingtonii, Woods. Seashores. Ann., August. 

A. Babingtonii, b. virescens, Lange. Shore, Balaromin- 
dubh. 

A. laciniata, L. Frosted Orache. Kiloran Bay sands ; 
a few plants. Ann., August. 

A. Smithii, Syme. Port Mor shore. September. 

Salicornia, L. 

S. europcea, L. Glasswort. Praiseach-na-Mara, C. Salt- 
marsh, Strand and Port-an-Obain, Scalasaig. Ann., Sep- 
tember. 

Suceda, Forsk. 

S. maritima, Durn., b. procumbens, Syme. Sea-Blite. 
Plentiful north of the harbour. Ann., August. 

Salsola, L. 

S. Kali, L. Prickly Saltwort. Sandy shores. Ann., 
August. 

POLYGONACEJ2 (the Buckwheat family) 

A large order, mostly herbaceous plants, readily known 
by a membraneous sheath round the stem, at the base of the 
leaf-stalk. The foliage of some have an acid juice ; others 
are strongly astringent. The roots are often purgative. 
Many, such as the Knot-grass and Dock, are common and 
troublesome weeds. The best-known plants of the family 
are the garden Rhubarb (Lus-na-Purgaid) and Buckwheat, 
the latter largely cultivated on the Continent and in North 



THE FLOKA 163 

America for its farinaceous seeds, from which an excellent 
"bread is made. Medicinal Rhubarb is obtained from the 
dried roots of various species of Rheum, natives of China 
and Tibet. 

Polygonum, L. 

P. Convolvulus, L. Climbing Buckwheat. Casraiginn. 
A weed of cultivated fields. Ann., July. 

P. Convolvulus, L., b subalatum, V. Hall. Garden weed, 
Kiloran. October. 

P. aviculare, L. Bird's Knotgrass. Gluineach Bheag, 
C. Shingly shores, edges of fields, etc. Grazing animals 
are fond of it. Ann., July. 

P. Raii, Bab. One plant ; locality uncertain. 

P. Hydropiper, L. Water-pepper. Gluineach Theth ; 
Lus-an-Fhogair, C. Ditches and edges of pools. Ann., 
August. The whole plant has an acrid, burning taste ; it 
dyes wool yellow. W. 

P. Persicaria, L. Spotted Knotweed. Gluineach Dhearg. 
A common weed of cultivated fields. Ann., July. Lus 
Chroinn-ceusaidh (the legend being that this plant grew at 
the foot of the Cross, and drops of blood fell on the leaves, 
and so they are spotted to this day). C. 

P. amphibium, L. Amphibious Buckwheat. Gluineach 
Uisge. Abundant in wet situations, and also frequently seen 
in comparatively dry places. Per., August. 

Rumex, L. 

Perennials, with a thick root-stock. Several kinds, as the 
French and the Mountain Sorrel, are grown for their leaves, 
which are used in soups, salads, and sauces. The roots of 
an American species are used for tanning. R. Patientia 
(Patience) was formerly much grown for its leaves. 

R. conglomerates, Murr. Clustered Dock. Moist 
gullies, Kiloran Bay and Ardskenish Glen. August. 



164 COLONSAY 

It. obtmifoUus, L. Broad Dock. Vacant ground, Kiloran, 
August. Fallow deer eat this species with avidity, eating 
it close to the root, so that it is very rare to see a Dock 
growing in a deer park. W. 

R. obtusifolius, sub. sp. R. Friesii, Gren. and Godr. 
Kiloran. September. 

R. crispus, L. Curled Dock. Copag. Common on the 
shore, growing down to the tide-mark. August. 

R. crispus, L., var. littoreus, Hardy. Waste places. 
September. 

R. Acetosa, L. Sorrel. Samh ; Sealbhag. Abundant in 
moist situations. Used locally for taking rust out of linen, 
and employed in the process of dyeing with indigo. July. 
The leaves, which are powerfully acid, are eaten in sauces 
and salads. W. Slochd-na-Sealbhag, Balanahard. 

R. Acetosella, L. Sheep's Sorrel. Ruanaidh, C. Dry 
hillocks. August. 

EL:AGNACE,E (the Oleaster family) 

A small order of trees and shrubs, represented in Britain 
by one species. Buffalo Berries, used for preserves, are 
produced by a spiny North American shrub. 

Hippoplice, L. 

H. Rhamnoides, L. Sea Buckthorn. Planted for screen- 
ing young plantations, and now spreading (by suckers). 

The Common Mistletoe (Druidhlus, I.) is the only British 
representative of the next order, Loranthaceae, a family of 
half-succulent evergreens which are parasitical on trees. 
The Mistletoe grows on the Apple, Thorn, Oak, Lime, etc., 
in the south of England. It was regarded with great 
veneration by the Druids, who believed it would cure all 
manner of diseases. When found growing on the Oak, it 
was, with great ceremony, cut by a Druid clothed in a 



THE FLORA 165 

white robe, with a golden sickle, and a sacrifice of two 
white bulls offered on the spot. 

EUPHORBIACE.E (the Spurge family) 

An important tropical order, most of the species containing 
lactiferous vessels with a milky fluid, often dangerously 
poisonous (Manchineel, etc.), sometimes valuable as rubber. 
The seeds of exotic species contain oil Castor oil, Croton 
oil. Other species are valued for their timber, edible fruits, 
and nuts. A large Brazilian tree yields the Para rubber. 
Tapioca is obtained from the roots of the Bitter Cassava, 
a plant so highly poisonous that animals which drink of 
the water where the roots have been washed and scraped 
often die. The poison (prussic acid) is dispelled by heat. 
In China, candles are made from solid oil contained in the 
seeds of the Tallow tree. The seeds of the Candle-nut tree 
are strung on pieces of bamboo by natives of the South Sea 
Islands and burned like candles. Dwarf forms of the 
Common Box (Bocsa) (which differs from most plants of 
the order in the absence of milky juice) are used for edging 
garden walks. Brilliant flowered and beautifully variegated 
foliaged species (Poinsettias, Crotons) are grown in hot- 
houses. 

Euphorbia, L. 

E, Helioscopia, L. Sun Spurge. Cranntachan-an-Deamh- 
ain. Foinne-lus, C. Cultivated fields. The milky juice was 
applied to warts. Ann., August. 

E. Peplus, L. Petty Spurge. (Lus Leigheis.) Garden 
weed, Kiloran. Ann., September. 

MercuriaUs, L. 

M. perennis, L. Perennial Mercury. (Lus-Ghlinn-Bhraca- 
dail.) Recorded by Messrs Grieve and Miller. It was 
formerly much used for the cure of wounds. C. 



166 COLONSAY 

URTICACE^E (the Nettle family) 

A large order, of warm climates, with leaves often rough 
or stinging, and small unisexual flowers. The family 
includes many interesting species. Edible fruit, fibre 
(hemp, ramie, etc.), and timber are their principal products ; 
some have a milky juice. From time immemorial the Fig- 
tree (Crann Fige) has been esteemed for its fruit. The 
renowned Banyan-tree of India is another species of Ficus. 
In hot countries the Bread-fruit is a staple article of food, 
the Jack-fruit, a near relative, growing to an enormous size. 
While Hemp (Cainb) is cultivated in temperate countries 
for its fibre, it is grown in India for a narcotic resin which 
produces intoxication. In Eastern countries the White 
Mulberry is planted for feeding silkworms, and the Black 
Mulberry (Crann Maol-Dhearc) in Europe for its fruit. The 
juice of the Venezuelan Cow-tree resembles milk, and is 
used as such by the people. Lac, dyes, etc., are obtained 
from other species. The India Kubber is a useful parlour 
plant. 

Ulmus, L. 

U. montana, Stokes. Scots or Wych Elm. Learnhaiu 
Cultivated forms, now springing up spontaneously from 
seed, are among the commonest trees in Kiloran woods. 
The wood lasts well for works in damp situations, and is 
locally used for cart-shafts, oars, etc. April. 

U. campestris, L., b suberosa (Moench). Common Elm. 
Kecorded by Mr Grieve. 

Humulus, L. 

H. Lupulus, L. Common Hop. Lionn Luibh, C. Intro- 
duced. July. Cultivated in Kent for the female flowers. 
They are dried over charcoal fires, and added to beer to give 
it a better flavour and stop its fermentation. 



THE FLORA 167 

Urtica, L. 

U.dioica,L. Common Nettle. Feanndagach; Feanndag. 
The young tops, in spring, are used in kale (brot Feann- 
dagaich). Boiled with oatmeal the liquid was given to cattle 
suffering from " tart." Per., July. 

U. pilulifera, L. Roman Nettle. Recorded by Mr 
Somerville. Ann. 

U. urens, L. Small Nettle. Feanndagach Leamhuinne. 
Garden weed. Ann., August. The leaves are gathered, 
cut to pieces, and used as a stimulant in the food of 
young turkeys. \V. 

MYRICACE.E (the Gale family) 

A small order, some species producing wax from which 
candles are made. The Wax Myrtle is a hardy North 
American evergreen. 

Myrica, L. 

M. Gale, L. Sweet Gale. Bog Myrtle. Roid(eagach). 
Boggy situations. An infusion of the leafy tops was given 
to children as a remedy for " worms." June. It is used for 
numerous purposes by the Highlanders, e.g., as a substitute 
for hops; for tanning; and from its supposed efficacy in 
destroying insects beds were strewn and even made of 
the twigs of the Gale. C. Badge of the Campbells. 

CUPDLIFERJE (the Oak family) 

Trees and shrubs, the inflorescence usually a more or less 
pendulous spike of unisexual flowers, known as a catkin. 
Many species grow into large trees and furnish valuable 
timber; the bark of some is used in tanning and also in 
medicine. Sweet Chestnut (Geanm-Chno), Hazel, etc., 
produce edible nuts, which also yield oil. For grandeur 
and beauty some exotic species are unsurpassed in this 



168 COLONSAY 

country. The London Plane withstands the smoky atmo- 
sphere of London better than any other tree. 

Betula, L. 

A small genus of graceful trees. Various ornamental articles 
are made from the bark of the North American Paper-birch. 
Weeping forms are highly ornamental. The following were 
kindly named by Kev. E. S. Marshall, M.A., F.L.S. 

B. alba, L. Silver Birch. Beithe-geal. Recorded by 
Mr Grieve. Badge of the Clan Buchanan. 

B. alba, L., x tomentosa. Natural wood. May. 

B. tomentosa, Keith and Abel. Common Birch. Beithe. 
This, and its varieties, constitutes the bulk of the natural 
woods. The wood was used of old, as now, for making 
bobbins. Shinties were made from the branches, as the 
wood was free from "deurach." Brooms and withes (gad) 
were made from the fine spray. The bark was used for 
tanning. May. 

B. tomentosa, R. and A., b denudata, E. S. Marshall. 
South-east of Sron Fhionnlaidh. 

B. tomentosa, R. and A., c parvifolia, E. S. M. Dwarf 
trees, heather hills above Coille Bheag. Named by Mr 
Bennett. 

Alnus, Hill. 

A. rotundifolia, Mill. Common Alder. Fearn. Side of 
burn, Kiloran. It was largely employed for planting in 
wet situations in Kiloran woods. The bark and small 
branches, by boiling, gave a black dye which (with copperas) 
was used for dyeing yarn, etc. March. In Ireland the 
wood is used for making clog-soles. The wood has the 
peculiarity of splitting best from the root, hence the saying : 
"Gach fiodh o'n bharr, 's am Fearn o'n bhun." The 
young wood is used for making charcoal for the manufacture 
of gunpowder. 



THE FLORA 169 

Corylus, L. 

C. Avellana, L. Hazel. Calltuinn. Generally used 
for walking-sticks, tool-handles, and in the making of 
agricultural and lobster creels. The nuts are edible ; they 
were collected for burning on Hallowe'en. March. The 
badge of the Colquhouns. 

Quercus, L. 

A numerous genus, of temperate regions. Cork is obtained 
from the bark of the Cork Oak, a native of South-Western 
Europe. The Holm or Evergreen Oak is commonly planted 
as an ornamental tree. 

Q. Robur, L. British Oak. Darach. Common in one 
or other of its forms in the eastern and southern parts of the 
island. In exposed positions it is seen sometimes as a prostrate, 
low shrub growing only to the height of the heather. The 
wood was locally used in house and boat building, and for 
the manufacture of furniture. The bark was employed for 
tanning the red leather that shoes were formerly made of. 
The mucilaginous inner bark (Failm-an-Daraich) was applied 
to wounds on horses. May. Badge of the Camerons. 

(?) Q. Robur, var. sessiliflora. Coille-mhor. Specimens 
were, with some hesitation, named Q. pedunculata by 
several authorities. 

Fagus, L. 

Trees represented in gardens by pendulous forms, and 
others with beautiful bronze-coloured leaves. 

F. sylvatica, L. Beech. (Craobh Faidbhile.) Growing 
spontaneously in dry, rocky situations with a northern 
exposure in Kiloran woods. May. Beech oil is extracted 
from the fruit (beech-mast) in North Germany, and is used 
for food and for burning. The wood is hard, and valuable 
for planes, lasts, etc. 



170 COLONSAY 



Salix, L. 

Trees and shrubs growing in a variety of situations, both in 
low countries and at high alpine stations. The bark possesses 
febrifuge properties. Osiers for basket - making are the 
shoots from pollard stumps of S. viminalis, S. purpurea, 
S. triandra, etc. Willows are adapted for planting in wet 
situations. S. babylonica (Seileach-an-t-Srutha, C.), from 
China, is one of the best known of Weeping Willows. 

S. alba, L. White Willow. Saile6g, I. Introduced. 
Craobh Dhomhnuill Oig (at Seann Mhuileann), felled about 
thirty years ago, was of this species, and one of the largest 
trees in the island. May. The wood is light and tough, 
and used in making cricket-bats, etc. The young wood is 
burned into charcoal for the manufacture of gunpowder. 

S. purpurea, L. Purple Willow. Introduced. May. 

S. viminalis, L. Common Osier. Seileach Uisge. Near 
pond, Kiloran. Used for making baskets. May. 

S. stipularis, Sm. East end of Loch Fada. May. 

S. caprea, L. Common Sallow. Goat Willow. Plantation, 
Allt-ruadh. Introduced. May. The wood and branches 
of the Sallow are particularly useful for making hurdles, 
handles of hatchets, and shoemakers' boards ; its bark is 
bitter and astringent; the Highlanders employ it to tan 
leather, and the handles of various agricultural implements 
are made from the wood. W. 

S. aurita, L. Round-eared Willow. Suileag, C. On 
heather-covered hills, often as a low shrubby plant not 
much taller than the heather. May. 

S. cinerea, L. Grey Sallow. Dubh Sheileach. Common 
in moist situations. Used for making agricultural creels 
and for tanning leather. Early in the season, when the sap 
begins to flow and the bark parts readily from the wood, 
boys make whistles of the smooth branches. May. 



THE FLORA 171 

S. repens, L. Creeping Willow. Seileach Lair. Found 
in a variety of situations at Loch Fada side and on dry 
sandy hills near the shore. April. 

S. repens, L.,/ argentea (Sin.). Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

[S. Smithiana, Willd., and S. Smithiana, W., var. stipularis, 
Ander. Both from Kiloran. May. (A.B.)] 

[S. ambigua.End of May. (A.B.)] 

Populus, L. 

A small genus of fast-growing trees. P. nigra is recom- 
mended for planting on stiff clays or in wet places where 
more valuable trees will not thrive. The Lombardy Poplar 
is remarkable for its slender, erect, lofty form. 

P. alba, L. White Poplar. Craobh Phobuill, C. 
Introduced. 

P. tremula, L. Aspen. A' Chritheach. Commonly met 
with in the eastern half of the island, often as stunted 
specimens growing out of clefts of rocks. March. In 
Coille-Bheag some of the trees in favourable situations 
exceed thirty feet in height. 

"Ma spionas thu a' Chritheach 6g 
Bidh do chridhe air chrith ri d'bheo." 

P. nigra, L. Black Poplar. Cultivated forms of this 
species have been planted in wet situations, and they have 
now attained to a considerable size, but they are liable to 
be blown over. 

EMPETRACE.E (the Empetrum family) 
A small order of alpine, heath-like plants. 

Empetrum, L. 

E. nigrum, L. Crowberry. Grainnseag; Luis na Fionnaig, 
C. On the east side of the island it hangs over the edges of 



172 COLONSAY 

the gullies in the natural woods. The plant was frequently 
applied to festering sores. The berries are said to cause 
headache when eaten in quantity. Grouse are fond of 
them; boiled with alum they produce a dark purple dye. 
C. Badge of the M'Leans. Caor Fionoige, I. 



Class II. MONOCOTYLEDONS 

Monocotyledons comprise about a quarter of our native 
plants grass-like, bulbous, or aquatic herbs. Palmacese is 
one of the most important orders, almost wholly tropical, of 
this class, furnishing food, housing, and utensils to the 
inhabitants of warm climates. Dates, coco-nuts, oil, sugar, 
starch, vegetable ivory, canes, etc., are among the many 
natural products, and mats, brooms, brushes, textile fabrics 
etc., manufactured articles, of this large order which find 
their way into commerce. To another important tropical 
order (Scitaminse) belong the ginger, arrowroot, banana, 
plantain, manilla hemp, etc. Starchy matter from the 
stem of various species of palm is one of the sources of 
sago. 

ORCHIDACEJ; (the Orchid family) 

An interesting order, abundant in moist tropical forests, 
and comprising the loveliest flowering plants. In temperate 
climates they are usually terrestrial, but in the tropics many 
are epiphytes and grow on the stems and branches of trees. 
Vanilla is the dried aromatic fruit of a tall, climbing West 
Indian Orchid. Salep, a nutritious food, is obtained from the 
tubers of various terrestrial kinds. The many beautiful 
species introduced are grown in this country in hothouses 
specially built for their requirements. All the following 
species are perennials. They live from year to year by forming 
each season a new tuber beside the old one, which withers 
after flowering. 



THE FLORA 17a 

Malaocis, Soland 

M. paludosa, Sw. Bog Orchis. A curious little orchis 
found locally in the Sphagnum moss, Rioma-mhor, Machrins. 
August. 

Listera, Br. 

L. cordata, Br. Lesser Twayblade. A slender little plant 
growing out of the moss under the heather, Beinn-nan- 
Gudairean. August. 

L. ovata, Br. Twayblade. DaVDhuilleach ; Da-Bhileach, 
C. Not uncommon in moist meadows. June. 

Helleborine, Hill 

H. longifolia, Rendle and Britten. Marsh Helleborine 
Orchis. Seen in two localities only, moist situations, sandy 
ground. July. 

Orchis, L. 

The various species of this genus are by far the most 
abundant of our local orchises, adorning the landscape in 
early summer with their many-coloured blossoms. 

0. pyramidalis, L. Pyramidal Orchis. Shelly sandy 
situations. Glen and Iviloran Bay. July. 

0. mascula, L. Early Orchis. Moth Urach, C. Ard- 
skenish Glen and ledges of rocks, Druim Buiteachan. May. 
Salep is prepared from the dried root of this species. The 
best time to gather the root is when the seed is ripe and the 
stalk going to fall, for then the new bulb, of which Salep is 
made, has arrived at its full size. They are afterwards 
washed, peeled, baked in an oven, and dried. It affords mild 
and wholesome nutriment superior to rice. W. 

0. incarnata, L. Wet sandy situations. June. 

0. latifolia, L. Marsh Orchis. Loch side, below 
Screadan. July. 



174 COLONSAY 

0. maculata, L. Spotted Orchis. Urach Bhallach, C. 
Common in meadows and pastures. June. 

0. ericetorum, Linton. Morag. One of the commonest 
species. July. 

Habenaria, Willd. 

H. conopsea, Benth. Fragrant Orchis. Lus Taghta, C. 
Ardskenish Glen and Balaromin-mor. July. 

H. albida, Br. One specimen, Balanahard hills. 

H. viridis, Br. Frog Orchis. Sandy ground, Balanahard 
and Kiloran Bay. July. 

H. bifolia, Br. Butterfly Orchis. A sweet-smelling species, 
not uncommon in moist meadows. July. 

H. virescens, Druce. Noted by Mr Somerville in Scalasaig 
meadows, near the Post Office. 

IRIDACB.E (the Iris family) 

Perennial herbs, usually with an enlarged root-stock 
bulbs, corins, or rhizomes, etc., numerously represented in 
dry, sunny countries, as South Africa. The perfume, Essence 
of Violets, is prepared from the roots of a species of Iris. 
The order includes splendid flowering genera Iris, Gladiolus, 
Crocus, etc. 

Iris, L. 

I. Pseud-acorus, L. Yellow Iris; Yellow Flag. Seileastair. 
Abundant in wet situations. A grey dye is extracted, by 
boiling, from the root. Writing-ink was also obtained from 
it (with copperas). In dry situations the roots are some- 
times eaten in winter by rabbits, which burrow after them 
into the ground. Per., June. 

AMARYLLIDACE^; (the Amaryllis family) 

Bulbous herbs, found mostly in hot, sunny countries. The 
"bulbs are stored up with the various forms of plant- food, which 



THE FLORA 175 

enables them to tide over the dry seasons in hot climates 
without injury. Many species, as the Daffodil, Snowdrop 
(Gealag Lair), and Snowflake, have emetic and purgative 
properties. Some are poisonous ; the juice of a South African 
bulb being used by the Hottentots for poisoning their 
arrows. Strong fibre is obtained from species of Agave. 
Amaryllis are showy flowering plants of hothouses, and 
Narcissus, etc., of the flower-garden. 

Narcissus, L. 

N. Pseudo-Narcissus, L. Daffodil; Lent Lily. (Lus-a- 
Chrom-Chinn). Lus-an-Aisige, I. Introduced. Per., April. 

N. major, Curt. Lili Bhuidhe. Introduced about a 
century ago, and spreading along the banks of Kiloran burn. 
The green leaves are minced and, mixed with their corn, 
given to horses for worms. Per., April. 

2V. biftorus, Curt. Primrose Peerless. Introduced, and 
growing in clumps at Tigh Samhraidh. Per., May. 

LILIACE.E (the Lily family) 

In this extensive order there is an interesting gathering 
of plants exhibiting great diversity in habit as well as in 
geographical distribution. Many are perennial herbs with 
a bulbous root-stock; a few (Butcher's-broom) are shrubby, 
and some (Smilax) are climbers, while others (Dracaena, 
Yucca) are more or less of an arborescent character. Many 
possess active, sometimes poisonous, properties. Aloes is the 
inspissated juice of several West Indian and South African 
species of Aloe. The corms of the Meadow Saffron (Cr6ch) 
are used for rheumatism. The products of the order include 
fibre from the New Zealand and African Hemps, Sarsaparilla 
from the roots of Smilax, dragon's-blood from the famous 
Dragon-tree of Teneriffe. Liliums, Hyacinths, Tulips (Tuiliop, 
.), Lily of the Valley (Lili-nan-L6n, C.), are choice flower- 



176 COLONSAY 

ing plants ; and species of Allium, Asparagus (Creamh-mac- 
Fiadh, C.), etc., indispensable kitchen-garden esculents. 

Ruscus, L. 

R. aculeatus, L. Butcher's Broom. Calg-Bhrudhainn, C. 
Introduced, and useful for planting in shaded places under 
trees. In Italy it is made into besoms, with which butchers 
sweep their blocks. W. 

Polygonatum, Hill. 

P. officinale, All. Solomon-seal. A few plants grow 
ing spontaneously in Kiloran woods. Per., June. 

Allium, L. 

Bulbous herbs, possessing the peculiar onion or garlic smell. 
The Onion (Uinnean) is believed to have originated in Africa. 
It was cultivated in ancient times by the Egyptians and 
the Jews. The Leek (Creamh-Garaidh) is now regarded as 
a cultivated variety of the Wild Leek. The Shallot (Sgalaid, 
C.) and the Garlic (Gairgean Gkraidh) are other useful species. 

A. Schoenoprasum, L. Chives. Feuran. Cultivated in 
gardens for the leaves, which are used as a spring seasoning 
for soups, mashed potatoes, etc. 

A. ursinum, L. Kamsons ; Broad-leaved Garlic. Creamh. 
Common in damp situations in Kiloran woods, and in gullies 
along the northern shore. Formerly used for seasoning. It 
is said to impart a disagreeable flavour to the milk of cows 
and to the flesh of rabbits that eat it. Per., June. 

Scilla, L. 

S. verna, Huds. Spring Squill. Lear-Uinnean, C. 
Not rare in sandy, rocky situations at the shore. White 
forms of it were seen at Poll Gorm. Per., May. 

S. non-scripta, Hoffmgg. and Link. Wood Hyacinth ; 



THE FLORA 17T 

English Bluebell. Bogha-Muc. Abundant, Kiloran woods, 
where white forms are not uncommon. Per., May. This 
plant was not liked by the ancients because they believed 
it grew from the blood of Hyakinthos, a youth killed by 
Apollo with a quoit when in one of his mad fits ; hence the 
name. "W. 

Narthecium, Huds. 

N. ossifragum, Huds. Bog Asphodel. (Bliochan.) 
Badly-drained, marshy situations. Per., July. Luibh 
Chalum Chille, by which it is known by some persons locally, 
is more correctly applied to Hypericum pulchrum (Slender 
St John's Wort). 

JUNCACE.E (the Rush family) 

Plants with stiff, grass-like leaves and inconspicuous dry 
flowers, found in all parts of the world. Some species 
furnish material for mats, baskets, etc. They constitute a 
good deal of the rough herbage of the island. All of the 
following but the Toad Rush are perennials. 

Juncus, L. 

The principal genus of the order, usually found growing 
in badly drained and marshy situations. 

J. bufonius, L. Toad Rush. The only British annual 
Rush ; common in muddy places. July. 

J. squarrosus, L. Heath Rush. Tarruing-air-eigin ; 
Tarruing-gun-taing ; Bru-chorpan. Common on moors and 
hill pastures ; usually found growing in drier situations than 
most Rushes. June. 

/. compressus, Jacq. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

J. Gerardi, Lois. Abundant at Port Mor, Strand, etc. 
June. 

J. e/usus, L. Soft Rush. Edge of marshy ground below 
Carnan Eoin. 

J. conglomerate, L. Common Rush. Luachair. 

12 



178 COLONSAY 

Abundant in wet situations on the low ground. The 
characters that are used for distinguishing between this and 
the preceding species are not constant, and the two are 
often found to merge into one another. The pith was 
used for the old-fashioned rush-lights, the oil being obtained 
from the liver of saiths (coal-fish). The pith was collected 
beforehand, and hung up in the houses to dry. July. 

J. bulbosus, L. Along the shallow margins of Loch Fada 
and in other wet situations, often exhibiting considerable 
diversity in form and in shade of colour, from light green to 
dark brown. July. 

J. bulbosus, var. fluitans. Loch Fada, in deeper water 
than the preceding. 

J, subnodulosus, Schrank. Abundant at Aird, Machrins. 
This kind was locally regarded as being superior to the 
commoner kind (J. sylvaticus) for thatching, as it is harder 
and lasts better. August. 

J. articulatus, L. Jointed Rush. Kiloran Bay sands. 

/. sylvaticus, Reich. Sharp-flowered Jointed Rush. 
Frafann. The common species, abundant in meadows and 
wet situations. It is largely used for thatching, as it lasts 
longer than the Common Rush. July. 

Luzula, DC. 

Perennial herbs with flat, grass-like leaves growing in drier 
situations than the Rushes. 

L. pilosa, Willd. Hairy Woodrush. Kiloran woods. 
May. 

L. sylvatica, Gaud. Great Woodrush. Seileastair-nan- 
Gobhar; Aineach. Abundant on rocky ledges and slopes 
with a northern exposure. It is sometimes eaten by rabbits 
in winter. May. 

L. compestris, DC. Field Rush. Common in dry pastures. 



THE FLORA 179 

L. multiflora,T>G. Leana Ghlas ; not uncommon. May. 
L. multiflora, b congesta (Lej.). Goirtean Artair, Leana 
Ghlas. June. 

TTPHACE/E (the Reedmace family) 

The local representatives of the order are aquatic 
perennials with long, linear leaves. The leaves of the Bull- 
rush (Bog-Sheimhin, I.) are used for making chair- bottoms, 
mats, etc. 

Sparganium, L. 

S. erectum, L. Branched Bur-reed. Seasg Righ, C. Ditch, 
roadside between Post Office and Hotel. Common. July. 

S. minimum, Fr. Small Bur-reed. Kiloran burn; 
frequent in pools. July. 

LEMNACEJS (the Duckweed family) 

Floating herbs, consisting of small leaf-like fronds which 
send out delicate root-like fibres into the water beneath. 

Lemna, L. 

L. minor, L. Lesser Duckweed. (Lus-gun-Mhathair-gun- 
Athair.) On still pools south of Port Mor. Per., June. The 
Lemnae generally are considered to possess the property of 
purifying the unwholesome air in marshy places. Ducks 
and geese are fond of all the species. W. 

ALISMACE.E (the Alisma family) 

A small group of marsh or aquatic species. The Flowering 
Rush, Arrowhead, and Water Plantain, British species, are 
suitable for planting at the margins of ornamental waters. 

Alisma, L. 

A. ranunculoides, L. The Lesser Water Plantain. (Corr- 
Chopag.) Frequent in marshy situations. Per., June. 



180 COLONSAY 



(the Naiad family) 

An order of marsh or aquatic plants, some with floating 
leaves, others entirely submerged in deep water, occurring in 
the sea as well as in fresh waters. All the following are 
perennials. 

Triglochin, L. 

T. palustre, L. Arrow-grass. Barr-a-Mhilltich, C. 
Boggy and marshy places. June. Cows are extremely fond 
of it. W. 

T. maritimum, L. Sea Arrow-grass. Not uncommon in 
the salt-marshes. May. 

Potamogeton, L. 

A considerable genus, difficult to determine, and abundantly 
represented throughout the island. The plants in the 
following list were identified by Mr Arthur Bennett, F.L.S. 

P. natans, L. Broad Pondweed. Kiloran burn. Common. 
July. 

P. polygonifolius, Pourr. Oblong Pondweed. Duilleaga- 
baite. The common kind abundant in running and in 
stagnant waters, deep and shallow. The leaves were applied 
to scalding burns for cooling. Also used as an ingredient 
in certain plasters. Duilleaga-baite-firionn were credited 
with greater healing properties than other kinds, but the 
species to which the name applied was not discovered. July. 

P. polygonifolius, var. pseudo-fluitans. Marsh ; head of 
the Glen. 

P. Gessnaceasis, Fischer. Pool of brackish water, Rudha 
Gheadha. This is a hybrid between P. natans, L., and 
P. polygonifoUus, Pourr., and occurs in Ireland (A. B.). 

P. alpinus, Balb. Burn, Geadhail-na-Crithe. June. 

P. heterophyllus, Schreb. Various-leaved Pondweed. 
West Loch Fada and Loch Colla. July. 



THE FLORA 181 

P. heterophyllus, c graminifolius (Fr.). Loch Sgoltaire. 
August. 

P. nitens, Weber. West Loch Fada. July. 

P. perfoliatus, L. West Loch Fada. July. 

P. pusillus, L. Slender Pondweed. West Loch Fada; 
common. July. 

P. pusillus, b tenuissimus, Koch. Middle Loch Fada. (A 
later examination of specimens leads Mr Bennett to hope 
that this may turn out to be P. trichoides, Cham.) 

P. Sturrockii, Ar. Benn. Loch Sgoltaire and Loch Fada. 

P. pedinatus, L. Fennel Pondweed. Pools, western 
shores. August. 

P. jUiformis, Xolte. Pools, western shores. 

Ruppia, L. 

R. maritima, L. Shore pool, Poll Gorm. July. 
R. rostellata, Koch. Tassel Pondweed. Shore pools, 
south of Port Mor. June. 

Zannichellia, L. 

Z. palustris, L. Horned Pondweed. Shore pools, 
Machrins. August. 

Zostera, L. 

Z. marina, L. Grasswrack. Bilearach. Abundant, 
growing where sediment has been deposited in the sea, 
and frequently washed ashore. July. The long, grass-like 
leaves, when dried, are used for packing, and for stuffing 
mattresses. W. 

Naias, L. 

N.flexilis, Rostk. and Schmidt. Slender Naiad. Found 
in the three divisions of Loch Fada. August. "A very in- 
teresting find. For many years it was only on record from 
Ireland ; then my late friend Abram Sturrock found it in 
East Perth, and Dr White in Mid Perth. It is rare in 



182 COLONSAY 

Europe, occurring only in Pomerania, Finland, and Upland, 
and Scania in Sweden" (A. B.). 

CYPERACE^: (the Sedge family) 

Grass-like herbs, usually found in moist situations and at 
the edges of waters. The leaves are usually stiffer than 
those of grasses ; the stems are solid, and the sheaths of the 
leaves closed all round. All the species of the order in- 
cluded here are perennials. 

Eleocharis, Br. 

E. palustris, Koem. and Schult. Creeping Club-rush. 
Ditch, Garvard; common. July. 

E. uniglumus, Schultes. One-glumed Spike-rush. 
Marshy ground above Loch Sgoltaire. August. 

E. multicaulis, Sm. Many-stalked Club-rush. In tufts 
on stony shore, Loch Fada side. July. 

Scirpus, L. 

S. pauciflorus, Lightf . Few-flowered Club-rush. Ele- 
vated moorland between Kilchattan and Machrins. August. 

S. azspitosus, L. Tufted Club-rush ; Deer's Hair. Ciob. 
Abundant on the moors, often mixed with the heather. It 
is particularly common in places on the grits. June. This 
is the principal food of cattle and sheep in the Highlands 
in March and till the end of May. W. Locally it is not 
often eaten by sheep. 

S. fluitans, L. Floating Club-rush. Common in streams 
and in marshy pools of still water. August. 

S. filiformis, Savi. A slender and elegant species, seen 
only at a muddy corner of Leana-mhor, Garvard. August. 

S. setaceus, L. Bristle Club-rush. Common in moist 
places in the hill pastures. July. 

S. lacustris, L. Lake Club-rush. Luachair Bhogain. 



THE FLORA 183 

Margins of Loch Fada. July. It was formerly used in 
making horse-collars, baskets, etc., in various parts of the 
country. 

S. maritimus, L. Sea Club-rush. Seasg-na-Mara. Com- 
mon in salt-marshes. August. Cows eat it ; the roots, dried 
and ground to powder, have been used instead of flour in 
times of scarcity. W. 

S. rufuSy Schrad. Plentiful in the salt-marshes at Port 
Mor and the Strand. May and June. 

Eriophorum, L. 

E. vaginatum, L. Hare's-tail Cotton-grass. Canach-an- 
t-Sleibh. Usually growing more in tufts and flowering 
rather earlier than the following species, often at higher 
elevations. May. 

E. angustifolium, Roth. Common Cotton - grass. An 
Canach. Abundant in boggy places. The cottony tufts were 
gathered and used for stuffing pillows and cushions. June. 

" S'e bu leaba dhuinn an Luachair 
S'e bu chluasag dhuinn an Canach." 

This plant is useful in the island of Skye to support cattle 
in the earlier part of spring, before other grasses are suffi- 
ciently groAvn. Pennant's Tour, 1774. 

E. angustifolium, b. minus, Koch. Marshy ground, Carnan 
Eoin, at an elevation of 400 feet. 

E. angustifoTium, d. elatius, Koch. Boggy ground, burn- 
side, Leana Ghlas. July. 

Schoenus, L. 

S. nigricans, L. Bog-rush. Seimhean C. Frequent in 
wet hollows through which the surrounding water drains. 
June. 

S. nigricans,/ nanus. Northern slopes of Beinn-a-Sgoltaire. 
June. 



184 COLONSAY 

Cladium, P. Br. 

C. Mariscus, Br. Great Twig-rush. Colgroc, I. Grow- 
ing at the edges of the lochs. August. 

Carex, L. 

A large genus constituting an important part of the 
herbage of the meadows and hilly pastures of the island. 
With careful drainage they are displaced by the more 
nutritious grasses. 

C. dioica, L. Ill-drained, spongy ground. May. 

C. pulicaris, L. Flea Sedge. Wet situation, Baile 
Mhaide; not uncommon. June. 

G. arenaria, L. Sea Sedge ; Sea Matgrass. Taithean. A 
common plant of the blown sands, and one that greatly 
assists in binding them. The long, creeping roots were made 
into cattle-ties. In former times, when cattle were ferried 
across to the mainland on their way to the markets of the 
south, it was part of every cattleman's duty to have a certain 
number of these ties prepared beforehand. June. 

C. vulpina, L. Fox Sedge. At the seaside, Port Mor 
and other places. June. 

C, echinata, Murr. Little Prickly Sedge. Interstices in 
rocks, Port Olmsa, and shore turf, Port-an-Obain, Balana- 
hard, etc. June. 

C. remota, L. Damp gully near shore, south of Kudha 
Gheadha; rare. June. 

C. leporina, L. Oval-spiked Sedge. Rather common in 
moist situations in pastures. June. (C. ovalis, Good. 
A. B.) 

C. Goodenowii, Gay. In one or other of its forms the 
commonest sedge in the island. Frequently found growing 
in comparatively dry situations on the hill-sides as well as in 
thoroughly marshy low-lying situations. The most variable 
of local species, it is also one of the earliest to start into 



THE FLORA 185 

growth, often enticing cattle when other food is scarce into 
dangerously boggy places where they are sometimes lost. 
June. 

C. Goodenowii, Gay, b juncella (Fr.). Wet ground, sea- 
side, Port-an-Tigh-Mhoir. June. 

C. Goodenoicii, Gay, tornata, Fr. Peat-bogs, Biskbuie. 
June. 

C. flacca, Schreb. Growing in large patches, meadows, 
Kiskbuie. One of the commonest Sedges. Patches of badly 
drained land are often plainly indicated by the presence in 
quantity of this glaucous green -foliaged plant. A very vari- 
able species. (C. glauca. A. B.). June. 

G. limosa, L Mud Sedge. Alluvium flats near Loch 
Colla, and at Lochan-a-Bhraghad. June and July. 

G. pilulifera, L. Pill-headed Sedge. Crevices in rocks 
above Teampull-a-Ghlinne. May. 

C. caryophyllea, Latourr. Vernal Sedge. Kiloran Bay, 
and turf, Port-an-Obain, Scalasaig. May and June. 

C. pallescens, L. Pale Sedge. Damp hollow, Coille-mhor 
natural wood. June. 

C. panicea, L. Pink-leaved Sedge. Not uncommon in 
moist meadows. June. 

C. panicea, b. tumidula, Laestad. Damp pasture, seaside, 
north of Port Mor. June. "A very interesting form found 
also in Boss" (A. B.). 

G. syloatica, Huds. Wood Sedge. Coille-mhor and 
Kiloran woods. June. The Laplanders prepare a coarse 
clothing from this plant. Linn. 

C. helodes, Link. Smooth-stalked Beaked Sedge. Grow- 
ing from interstices in rocks above Lochan-a-Eaonabuilg 
(C. Icevigata, Sm. A. B.). 

C. binervis, Sm. One of the commonest Sedges, and found 
growing in a variety of situations, often in tuft-like masses. 
It is found both at high-water mark and growing on the 
summits of the hills, and is one of the first plants to start 



186 COLONSAY 

into growth where the heather has been burned. It is also 
one of the first to become established where the heath-covered 
turf has been removed. June. 

G. distans, L. Distant Sedge. Shore rocks above Port 
Mor and Traigh-nam-Barc Bay. June and July. 

C.fulva, Host. Uncultivated hillocks, Garadh Gainmhich, 
in moist situations ; not uncommon. June. 

C. extensa, Good. Shore rocks, Balaromin-mor. July. 

C. extensa, b pumila, And. Shore rocks at high-water 
mark, Rudha Gheadha. June. 

G. flava, L. Yellow Sedge. Damp pasture, Kiloran. 
June. 

C. (Ederi, Retz. Wet ground near Loch Colla, and moist 
hollow, east coast. June. 

G. CEderi, c. cyperoides, Marss. Recorded by Mr Somer- 
ville. 

C. lasiocarpa, Ehrh. Slender Sedge. Edge of Loch-na- 
Sguid, and marshy ground, Loch Colla. May. 

C. hirta, L. Hairy Sedge. Moist meadow below Bala- 
romin-mor farm-house. July. 

G. inflata, Huds. Bottle Sedge. Seasg-uisge. Abundant 
in the shallow water at the edge of Loch Fada. Used for 
thatching, and lasting well. June. (G. ampullacea, Good. 
-A. B.). 

GRAMINEAE (the Grass family) 

One of the largest and most important of the natural 
orders of plants. In Britain all the species are herbs, but 
in the tropics some kinds (Bamboos = Guile Fhrangach) grow 
to the height of tall trees. As forming the chief supply of 
food for man and forage for animals, Rice (Ris), Indian 
Corn (Coirce-mor), Millets (Muileud, L), Wheat (Cruith- 
neachd), Oats (Coirce), Barley (Eorna), Rye (Seagal), are 
cultivated in all parts of the world. Rye Grasses and 
other kinds are extensively grown as forage plants (fodar), 



THE FLORA 187 

Sugar (Siucar) is obtained from the sweet sap of various 
species. The Sugar Cane for its sugar, rum, molasses is 
an important crop of hot climates. Other products of the 
order are aromatic oils, ornamental seeds (Job's Tears), straw 
for plaiting and thatching. Macaroni and vermicelli are pre- 
pared in Italy and Sicily from fine wheat-flour ; " corn-flour " 
is obtained from Indian Corn. Bamboos are put to an 
endless variety of uses ; a hardy kind (Metake) thrives, 
locally. The Pampas Grass and Provence Reed make hand- 
some specimens for lawns, and many smaller kinds Feather 
Grass, Quaking Grass, Agrostis are used for decorative 
purposes. 

Phalaris, L. 

A small genus, including the Canary Grass, from which the 
canary seed is obtained, now appearing in the country as a 
Aveed of cultivation. 

P. arundinacea, L. Reed Canary Grass. Not uncommon 
at sides of ditches. Per., July. The Gardeners' Garters or 
Ribbon Grass often seen in gardens is a variegated form. 

Anthoxanthum, L. 

A. odoratum, L. Sweet Vernal Grass. (Mislean.) Abund- 
ant in well-drained situations. Per., May. It imparts the 
characteristic sweet scent to new-mown hay, and is a valuable 
ingredient in pastures on account of its early growth and 
for continuing to send up leaves until late in the autumn. 
With the exception, perhaps, of sheep, domestic animals 
show no great partiality for it, but where it is abundant it is 
said to improve the quality of mutton. 

Alopecurus, L. 

A. geniculatus, L. Marsh Foxtail. Fldeag Cham, C. 
Not uncommon in marshy meadows. Per., July. 

A. pratensis, L. Meadow Foxtail. (Fideag.) Kiloran 



188 COLONSAY 

meadows. Per., June. One of the best of forage grasses, 
and well adapted for moist land. It constitutes the greater 
portion of many of the richer natural pastures of Britain. 

Phleum, L. 

P. pratense, L. Timothy ; Cat's-tail. (Bodan.) Kiloran 
meadows. Per., July. An excellent forage plant of which 
all animals are fond, and a valuable ingredient of pastures. 
It was introduced from America as a forage crop about 1761, 
and it was first known as Timothy in South Carolina, having 
been taken to that State by a Mr Timothy Hansom. It 
thrives on heavy soils and those of a peaty nature. 

Agrostis, L. 


. A. canina, L. Brown Bent-grass. Commons and moors. 
Per., July. 

A. alba, L. Marsh Bent-grass. Feorine, C. Abundant 
in marshy situations. One of the commonest grasses. Per., 
August. 

A. alba, b. stolonifera (L.). Fiorin-grass. Bushy ground, 
Kiloran. Per., July and August. Recommended for moist 
soils and irrigated meadows. It affords herbage early in 
spring and late in autumn. 

A. alba, c. maritima, Meyer. Edge of shore pools, Port 
Mor ; not uncommon in such situations. July. 

A. tennis, Sibth. Fine Bent-grass. Well-drained pasture, 
Screadan. Per., July. A suitable species for dry soils; 
and although cattle are not fond it, sheep are said to relish 
it, particularly in winter. It will grow on bare, exposed 
places where more valuable kinds fail. 

A. tennis, var. pumila. Growing in very dwarf tufts on 
bare, rocky sands, Cul-Salach. July. 

A. nigra, With. Garvard. August. 



THE FLORA 189 

Ammophila, Host. 

A. arenaria, Link. Sea Maram ; Matweed. Muran. 
Planted locally on the blown sands to prevent them shifting. 
One of the best and most lasting materials used locally for 
thatching houses. Per., August. It is recorded that mat 
and rope making from this species was the only handicraft 
of the inhabitants of the village of Newborough in Wales 
about the beginning of the seventeenth century. 

Aira, L. 

A. caryophyllea, L. Silvery Hair-grass. Sandy pasture, 
upper part of Garadh Gainmhich. Ann., June. 

A. prcecox, L. Early Hair-grass. Common in rather 
bare rocky places on the hills. Ann., May. This and the 
preceding species are soon dried up, and can yield nothing 
but a little early food for sheep. W. 

Deschampsia, Beauv. 

D. ccespitosa, Beauv. Tufted Hair-grass. Cuiseag Airgid(?). 
Growing in large tufts or tussocks in wet situations, enabling 
the collector to pass dry-shod over wet and boggy places. 
The highly ornamental flowering panicles are used for winter 
decoration. Its very coarse herbage is seldom eaten by 
animals. Per., July. 

D. flexuosa, Trin. Waved Hair-grass. Moin-fheur, C. 
Frequent in rough pastures and meadows, often on peaty 
soils. Per., July. The seed of this species is often sub- 
stituted for the more valuable Yellow Oat-grass. 

D, flexuosa, b. montana, Hook. fil. A pretty, purplish- 
coloured form not uncommon on the hills. July. 

Holcus, L. 

H. mollis, L. Soft Meadow-grass. Woods, Kiloran ; 
local. Per., July. Not unsuitable for sowing in wooded or 



190 COLONSAY 

barren places; and its creeping roots render it useful for 
binding dry, sandy slopes. 

H. lanatus, L. Yorkshire Fog; Woolly Soft Grass. 
Common on impoverished soils. Per., July. It should be 
regarded as a weed rather than a proper ingredient of 
pastures, and every means used for its extirpation. Stock 
are not fond of it either in the green state or dried as hay ; 
the latter being spongy and unfit for horses. 

A vena, L. 

Cultivated varieties of Oat have sprung from A. sativa 
(the Common Oat). The Yellow Oat (A. flavescens, L.) is 
a desirable constituent in pastures and meadows, being 
valuable both for grazing and hay. 

A. pubescens, Huds. Downy Oat-grass. In the vicinity 
of the limestone rock, Uragaig. A lime-loving plant, pro- 
ducing but scanty herbage. Per., June. 

A. pratensis, L. Perennial Oat. Coirce Fiadhain, C. 
Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

Arrhenatherum, Beauv. 

A. elatius, Mert. and Koch. False Oat-grass. Kiloran 
meadows. Per., July. The herbage is said to be bitter 
and not much relished by cattle. It will grow in shaded 
woods and plantations. 

A. elatius, b bulbosum, Presl. Goin-Fheur. A weed of 
sandy fields, with knotted roots which, in winter time, are 
burrowed for and eaten by rabbits. 

Sieglingia, Bernh. 

S. decumbens, Bernh. Decumbent Heath-grass. Hilly 
pastures, Dun Ghaillionn. Per., July. 



THE FLORA 191 

Phragmites, Adans. 

P. communis, Trin. Common Eeed. Cuilc. Abundant 
at the edges of the lochs and sometimes used for thatching. 
Per., August. The plumes are useful for winter decoration, 
and in France and Italy they are made into dusting-brushes. 

Cynosurus, L. 

C. cristatus, L. Crested Dog's-tail. Coin-Fheur, I. 
Dry pastures. Per., June. As it sends up many leaves 
from the base, it is recommended for lawns which are 
frequently cut. It forms a close turf, and sheep are said 
to be less subject to foot-rot in. pastures where it grows, 

Koeleria, Pers. 

K. gracilis, Pers. Shore rocks, Port Mor ; not uncommon 
on dry banks. Per., June. Produces but little foliage, 
which is covered with short, downy hairs. 

Molinia, Schrank. 

M. coerulea, Moench. Purple Melic-grass. Braban, I. 
Although very abundant in wet meadows and badly drained 
hill pastures, all kinds of stock reject it if they can get 
other food. When compelled to take too much of it in hay, 
they are liable to get into a bad condition. Per., August. 

Catabrosa, Beauv. 

C. aquatica, Beauv. Water Whorl - grass. At the 
mouths of freshwater streams on the seashore. July. 

C. aquatica, b. littoralis, Parn. Mouth of small stream, 
Kiloran Bay sands. August. 

Dactylis, L. 

A genus of a single species. An elegant variegated form 
is used for edgings in gardens. 



192 COLONSAY 

D. glomerata, L. Bough Cock's-foot Grass. Common. 
Per., July. Remarkable for the rapidity of its growth, it 
yields an enormous crop of nutritious herbage, growing well 
in shady, well-drained situations. 

Briza, L. 

B. media, L. Quaking-grass. Crith Fheur. Kiloran 
meadows. Per., June. Prized as a decorative grass. 
Generally found on impoverished soils, and dying out under 
good cultivation. 

Poa, L. 

A large genus, including valuable fodder plants. The 
Alpine Meadow - grass (P. alpina) thrives at elevations 
where scarcely any other pasture plant will grow. 

P. annua, L. Annual Poa. The commonest British 
plant, forming the chief ingredient of the grass in the 
London parks. Flowers all the year round. Ann. 

P. nemoralis, L. Wood Meadow-grass. Local. Per., 
July. Of very early growth and suitable for lawns and 
ornamental grounds in places shaded with trees. 

P. pratensis, L. Smooth- stalked Meadow-grass. In 
rather dry, rocky situations, producing an early herbage. 
Per., June. 

P. trivialis, L. Rough-stalked Meadow-grass. Common 
Per., July. In wet, dry, or shaded situations. A valuable 
and highly nutritious grass for low-lying pastures. 

Glycerin, Br. 

G.fluitans, Br. Manna Grass; Floating Sweet Grass. 
Cuiseag Mhilis. Milsean Uisge, C. Sluggish streams and 
stagnant waters. The plant was formerly well known to 
children for the honey contained in the flowers. Per., July. 
All grazing animals are fond of it, and the seeds are greedily 
eaten by marsh - fowl and freshwater fish trout, etc. 



THE FLORA 193 

Semolina was formerly prepared from them. The seeds are 
small, but very sweet and nourishing. They are collected in 
several parts of Germany and Poland, and are esteemed as a 
delicacy in soups and gruels. When ground to meal they 
make bread very little inferior to that made from wheat. W. 

G. fluitans, b. triticea, Fr. Damp hollow, Fang. July. 

G. plicata, Fr. Shallow, stagnant pool in meadow, Bala- 
romin-mor. July. 

G. maritima, Mert. and Koch. Creeping Sea Meadow- 
grass. Shore rocks and shore turf, Port Mor. June. 

Festuca, L. 

A widely distributed genus of temperate climates, including 
some of our most valuable pasture grasses. F. pratensis 
(Meadow Fescue) is excellent for permanent pasture. It 
forms a considerable portion of the herbage of the natural 
pastures on the mainland. 

F. rottboellioides, Kunth. Sea Hard-grass. Pier wall and 
dry sandy situations along the southern shore. Ann., June. 

F. bromoides, L. Sandy ground, upper part of Druim- 
buidhe, and cultivated fields, Machrins. Ann., June. (F, 
scuiroides. A. B.). 

F. ovina, L. Sheep's Fescue. Feur Chaorach, C, 
This grass constitutes one of the principal ingredients in 
the herbage of the dry hill pastures. Per., June. It forms 
a large proportion of the sheep pastures of the Highlands ; 
its presence indicating dry conditions, and the consequent 
adaptability of such situations for sheep. 

F. rubra, L. Creeping Fescue. Top of rocks, Port-an- 
Obain, Balanahard. Common on the sea rocks, and suitable 
for sowing on dry, sandy soils. Per., July. 

F. rubra, g. arenaria, Fr. Recorded by Mr Somerville. 

F. elatior, L. Tall Fescue. Side of Port Lobh burn, 
Machrins, and gully below Uragaig. Per., July. Notwith- 

13 



194 COLONS AY 

standing its coarseness, cattle are fond of it, and it is recom- 
mended for sowing in permanent pastures. It grows to a 
height of 3 to 4 feet. 

Bromus, L. 

B. ramosus, Htids. Smooth Brome-grass. Gully below 
Tigh Iain Daraich. Per., August. 

B. commutatus, Schrad. One plant, roadside, Kiloran. 
Bi., June. 

B. hordeaceus, L. Soft Brome. Frequently met with in 
Kiloran. Of small value for pastures. July. 

Br achy podium, Beauv. 

B. sylvaticum, Eoem. and Schult. Slender False Brome. 
Shady situation on large boulders, mouth of New Cave. 
Per., July. " It is not liked by domesticated animals, but 
deer and rabbits eat it." 

Lolium, L. 

L. perenne, L. Perennial Ryegrass. Breoillean, C. 
Common at the edges of fields. Per., June. Extensively 
cultivated as a forage plant, and cultivated in England for 
this purpose as early as 1677. It is suitable for a great 
variety of soils, and adapted in an eminent degree for 
alternate husbandry, producing a large bulk of highly 
nutritious herbage. 

L. perenne, c multiftorum (Lam.). Italian Rye-grass. 
A garden weed, Kiloran. June. It was introduced as a 
forage grass from Hamburg in 1831, and from Italy in 1833. 
As it is biennial in its nature, this species is more suited for 
alternate husbandry than for permanent pastures. It grows 
quickly and luxuriantly, and cattle are very fond of it. The 
seed that is imported is said to yield an earlier and a heavier 
crop than what is ripened in this country. 



THE FLORA 195 

Agropyron, J. Gaertn. 

A. caninum, Beauv. Bearded Wheat-grass. Growing up 
through hedge, roadside, Cnoc-an-Arbhair. It shoots out its 
bright green leaves early in spring. Per., July. 

A. repens, Beauv. Quitch-grass; 'Couch-grass. Feur-a- 
Phuint, C. Troublesome weed. Per., July. 

A. junceum, Beauv. Shore-wheat. Glas Fheur, C. Edge 
of sand-banks, Kiloran Bay, and sandy bay, Meall-a-Chuilbh. 
Per., August. 

Lepiurus, Br. 

L. filiformis, Trin. Rather a rare British plant of mari- 
time sands, recorded by Mr Grieve. 

Nardus, L. 

N. stricta, L. Common Nard; Heath Matgrass. Beitean ; 
Borrach, C. One of the commonest moor grasses. It is 
wiry, and animals are not fond of it. Per., June. 

Div. II. GYMNOSPERMS 

Gymnosperrns do not, like the Angiosperms, have their 
ovules enclosed in a seed-vessel (ovary), but develop them 
directly upon the axis, as in the Yew, or upon capillary 
leaves, as in the cones of the Pine, Fir, Larch, etc. They 
are fertilised by the pollen-grains falling directly upon them. 
Gymnosperrns form a connecting link between the Angio- 
sperms and the higher Cryptogams. 

CONIFERS (the Pine family) 

An extensive order, including many excellent timber trees 
which also yield resins (pitch, turpentine, tar) and aromatic 
oils and balsams with medicinal properties. Some Yew 
(lubhar), 'Cypress (Sipreis ; Craobh Bhroin) possess 



196 COLONSAY 

poisonous qualities. Yast forests of conifers alone are to Ibe 
met with in the Northern Hemisphere. The Mammoth Tree 
of California attains a height of upwards of 400 feet ; the 
Kedwood, a close ally, also growing to a great size. The 
Yellow Pine (Giubhas Buidhe), Pitch Pine (G. Dearg), White 
Pine (G. Geal), etc., are highly valued for building purposes. 
Large plantations of Larch (Learag), Fir, Spruce, etc., have 
been made in this country. Cedar (Seudar), Cypress, Juniper, 
and other ornamental species are commonly planted in pleasure- 
grounds. Conifers generally do not thrive in the smoky atmo- 
sphere of towns, nor, unless well screened, in close proximity 
to the sea. 

Juniperus, L. 

A numerous genus of evergreen shrubs or small trees. 
The aromatic wood of the American Red Cedar is used in 
cabinet-making and for lead-pencils. 

J. communis, L. Common Juniper. lubhar Beinne. 
Frequently prostrate and spreading, sometimes to the length 
of three or four yards. Dead remains of sterns much larger 
than those now growing are to be seen. The green branches 
were burned for fumigating houses after infectious diseases. 
The berries, which take two years to come to maturity, were 
used for flavouring whisky, as they still are in other 
countries for flavouring gin. May. They are diuretic, and 
yield an oil of medicinal value. 

J. communis, b. intermedia, Nyman. Balanahard hills. 

J. sibirica, Burgsdorf. Rocky hillocks, Poll Gorm and 
southern end of Ardskenish, in exposed situations. May. 

Pinus, L. 

Though constituting the bulk of the Coniferse in the 
Northern Hemisphere, this genus is unknown in the southern 
half of the globe. Austrian, Corsican, Himalayan, and Stone 
Pines are among those that are commonly planted. The 



THE FLORA 197 

Cluster and Sea Pines have been planted with success on 
bare sand-hills of maritime districts in France. 

P. sylvestris, L. Norway or Riga Pine ; Scots Fir. 
Oiubhas. Introduced; one seedling was found growing in 
Druim Buiteachan under natural conditions, but the seedlings 
are probably eaten as they grow by rabbits. May. This 
species yields Burgundy pitch. The badge of the Clan 
M'Gregor (Clan Alpin). 

P. Pinaster, Ait. Cluster Pine. Introduced. 



CRYPTOGAMS OR FLOWBRLESS PLANTS 

Although the members of this group have sexual organs 
they do not bear flowers with stamens and pistils. Reproduc- 
tion is brought about by minute cellular bodies called spores. 
These are produced in abundance, in special structures, on 
the underside of the fronds of Ferns, in the axils of the leaves 
of Selaginella, etc. Cryptogams comprise the simplest forms 
of plant life. They are conveniently divided into two series 
Vascular and Cellular. In the former (Ferns, etc.) there 
is a manifest distinction, as in flowering plants, between stem 
and leaf, and their tissues include vascular as well as cellular 
elements; in the latter (Moulds, Algae, etc.), no such distinc- 
tion between stem and leaf exists, their structure being simply 
cellular. 

FILICES (the Fern family) 

This is by far the most important group of the Vascular 
Cryptogams, found in abundance in all moist climates. In 
warm countries some species (Tree-ferns) are arborescent in 
character ; others are climbers. A few possess active 
properties. Adiantums (Maiden-hair), Pteris, Asplenium, 
etc., are largely grown in hothouses for their elegant foliage. 
The Parsley and Oak (Sgeamh Dharaich, C.) Ferns occur in 
the Northern Islands, and the Adder's-tongue (Lus-na- 



198 COLONSAY 

Nathrach, C.) in the Outer Hebrides. All the local species 
have a perennial root-stock. 

Hyme/iophyllum, Sin. 

H. tunbridgense, Sm. Filmy Fern. Kocky mossy banks 
with a northern exposure; natural woods and plantations, 
Kiloran. 

H. peltatwn, Desv. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

Pteris, L. 

P. aquilina, L. Brake ; Bracken. ((F)raineach(mhor).) 
Abundant in woods and pastures in well-drained situations. 
On the exposed hill-tops it is scarcely a foot in height, but 
in the sheltered gullies on the East Coast it grows to 7 or 8 
feet. It is spreading rapidly and monopolising a good deal 
of the best of the ground. It is cut and stacked for winter 
bedding for cattle. Meal is prepared from the thick fleshy 
roots (rhizomes) in Japan, where the young shoots are also 
said to be eaten like asparagus. In Monmouthshire the 
green tops were burned in the summer time and the ashes 
moulded into balls for washing, before washing soda came 
into such general use. 

Blechnum, L. 

B. Spicant, With. Hard Fern. ((F)raineach Chruaidh.) 
Abundant in hilly pastures, under banks, and on rocky slopes 
facing the north. 

Aspleniwn, L. 

A. Adianlum-nigrum, L. Black Spleenwort. (An 
Raineach-uaine.) Commonly growing out of crevices and 
joints in rocks in shady situations. 

A. marinum, L. Sea Spleenwort. ((F)raineach-na-Mara.) 
Abundantly growing out of interstices in the sea locks on 
the East Coast, sometimes down to high-water mark. 

A. Trichomanes, L. Maiden-hair Spleenwort. Dubh 



THE FLORA 19$ 

Chasach; Lus na Seilg, C. Boiled in milk and strained, 
it was considered a good remedy for coughs and chest 
ailments. The species is now much more plentiful than it 
was when regularly collected for medicinal purposes. 

A. Ruta-muraria, L. Wall Rue. (Kue Bhallaidh, C.) 
Not uncommon on old walls. 

Athyrium, Both. 

A. Filix-fcemina, Roth. Lady Fern. Frith-Eaineach. 
Raineach Mhuire, C. Abundant. Frith-Raineach is often- 
indiscriminately applied locally to this and various species of 
Lastraeas. 

Phyllitis, Hill. 

P. Scolopendrium, Newm. Hart's-tongue Fern. Teang'- 
an-Fheidh. Not uncommon in the rocky gullies of the 
northern shore and in the vicinity of Iviloran. An infusion 
of the leaves was used as a remedy for coughs and colds. 

Gystopteris, Bernh. 

C. fragilis, Bernh. Brittle Bladderfern. Friodh 
Raineach, C. Recorded from the neighbourhood of the New 
Cave by Messrs Grieve and Miller. 

Polystichum, Roth. 

P. aculeatum, Roth. Prickly Shield Fern. Ibhig, C. 
An evergreen fern frequently found in the vicinity of the 
New Cave. 

P. aculeatum, b lobatum (Presl.). Rocky slopes facing 
the north, Driseig. September. 

P. angulare, Presl. Soft Prickly Shield Fern. A few 
plants. Confirmed by Mr C. Druery, F.L.S. Not previously 
recorded from the Western Isles, though at one time occur- 
ring in Arran and adjacent islets. In 1899 plants were dis- 
covered by the late Mr Somerville in the woods at Skipness 



200 COLONSAY 

in the Kintyre peninsula. The species is not known to have 
occurred on the mainland north of the Forth and Clyde. 
South of that line, though by no means common, it has been 
found in a number of counties, and it is not rare in either 
England or Ireland. 

Lastrcea, Presl. 

L. montana, T. Moore. Mountain Shield Fern. Crim- 
Raineach, C. Shady gully, Coille-mhor ; not uncommon. 

L. Filix-mas, Presl. Male Fern. Marc-Eaineach, C. 
Abundant in woods, and often in sunny positions along the 
banks of streams. In sheltered situations it remains green 
through the winter. " Its root-stock is used in medicine as 
a remedy for tape-worm." 

L. spinulosa, Presl. Prickly-toothed Buckler Fern. 
Abundant on mossy and rocky banks facing the north. 

L. aristata, Rendle and Britten. Broad Buckler Fern. 
Common in Kiloran woods. 

L. cemula, Brackenridge. Recorded by Mr Grieve. 

Polypodium, L. 

P. vulgare, L. Common Polypody. (Ceis-Chrann.) On 
old walls and on the mossy trunks of trees. 

Phegopteris, Presl. 

P. polypodioides, Fe"e. Beech Fern. Moist slopes facing 
the north, Druim Buiteachan and other places. 

Osmunda, L. 

0. regalis, L. Royal Fern. Righ Raineach. Banks of 
ditches near Loch Fada. The root-stock was cut up and 
steeped in water, and the mucilaginous matter from it applied 
to sprains. 

Botrychium, Sw. 

B. lunaria, Sw. Moonwort. Luan-Lus, C. A few plants 
on grassy slopes, Creagan. June. This plant was held in 



THE FLORA 201 

superstitious reverence among Celtic and other nations ; 
horses were said to lose their shoes where it grew. C. 

EQUISETACE^E (the Horsetail family) 

British species are perennial herbs with hollow-jointed 
stems, marked by longitudinal striae, without true leaves. 

Equisetum, L. 

E. ar cense, L. Corn Horsetail, Earball Capuill, I. A 
common weed of moist fields. 

E. sylvaticum, L. Branched Wood Horsetail. Cuirridin 
Coille, I. Damp hollow below Allt-ruadh plantation. 

E. palustre, L. Marsh Horsetail. Cuirristfn, I. Ditch, 
roadside, Bealach Gaoithe, and other places. 

E. limosum, L. Smooth Naked Horsetail. Loch side. 

E. limosum, b. fluviatile (L). Ditch below Screadan. 

LYCOPODIACE.E (the Club-moss family) 
Species of the order are widely distributed ; but, judging 
from fossil remains, they were more abundant and grew to a 
larger size in the earlier geological periods. 

Lycopodium, L. 

L. Selago, L. Fir Club-moss. Garbhag-an-t-Sle"ibh. A 
few plants among the hills. Perennial. As several were 
found uprooted, it is possible that the species is being 
exterminated by grazing stock. 

SELAGINELLACE^; (the Selaginella family) 
A large and interesting tropical order, confined in Britain 
to a few species. 

Selaginella, Spring. 

S. selaginoides, Gray. Lesser Alpine Clubmoss. Common 
in moist situations. Per. 



202 COLONSAY 

CELLULAR CRYPTOGAMS 

CHARACE<E (the Stonewort order) 

Aquatic perennials with long, slender branching stems, 
often encrusted with carbonate of lime (hence the name) ; 
some species, when handled, emit a vile smell. Fish, 
especially Carp, are said to thrive best in waters where the 
different species of Chara abound. 

Chara, L. 

C, fragilis, Desv. Cloinih uisge. Common in the lochs 
and in stagnant peaty water. Said to have the same effect 
on insects as Keating's powder and to have been similarly 
used. It has a strong, fetid smell. 

C. fragilis, d. barbata, Gant. Peat-bog pools. Garvard. 
May. 

C. aspera, Willd. Deep water, west Loch Fada. July. 

C. contaria, Kuetz. Kiloran farm, reservoir. 

(7. vulgaris, L. Fetid Water Horsetail ; Common Stone- 
wort. Machrins shore pools. Confirmed by Rev. G. R. 
Bullock Webster. 

Tolypella, Leonh. 

T. glomerata, Leonh. Shore pools, Machrins. August. 
Confirmed by Rev. G. R. Bullock Webster. 

Nitella, Agardh. 

N. translucens, Agardh. Loch Sgoltaire. August. 
N. opaca, Agardh. West Loch Fada. July. 



APPENDIX 

THK islands of the Inner Hebrides are believed to be 
isolated fragments of what was once a great expanse of 
land, proof of the former existence of which is found in 
dizzy sea-cliffs a thousand feet in height, as in the west of 
Skye, and formed of parallel beds which wind along the 
coast for miles. Of the enormous waste that has ensued, 
we have ample evidence in the numerous glens and lochs 
which have been excavated out of the basaltic masses. 
The Sound of Mull is, we are told, the work of erosion ; 
and the parallel bars of rocks to be viewed on either side 
are believed to have been at one time prolonged across the 
channel. 

Of the extent of the great waste that has taken place, 
much of our present knowledge has been gleaned from that 
peculiar formation, the Sgiirr of Eigg. It is volcanic in 
origin, and composed of hard glassy pitchstone resting on the 
basalt plateau. What is now the crest of a ridge 1289 feet 
above sea-level one of the most striking natural objects in 
the Western Isles, towering hundreds of feet above the 
highest of the surrounding hills was, at the time of its 
formation, according to Sir Archibald Geikie, the bottom 
of a valley through which flowed a river of sufficient volume 
to carry boulders of Cambrian sandstone with it from the 
distant hills of Rum. The hard pitchstone forming the 
Sgurr originated from molten lava which poured forth and 
203 



204 COLONSAY 

flowed to the lowest level, where it gradually cooled and 
hardened. It blocked and filled up the river bed, covering 
the sandstone, forests of pine, and other debris that in 
later ages were destined to shed light on the geological 
history of the islands. The land that once united the 
basalt plateaux of Eigg to the Cambrian sandstone 
mountains of Rum, from which drained a large volume of 
water such as must have flowed along the old river course, 
has disappeared, and Eigg has become an island. The 
ascending sides of the valley in which the Sgurr at one time 
reposed have been worn away, and are now reduced to slopes 
which shelve steeply down to the shores. That land, we 
are told, was one of rich alkali -charged soil ; and the buried 
leaves of Canna and Mull and the pines of Eigg indicate a 
period of warmer climate than we now enjoy. 1 

1 Sir A. Geikie's beautiful theory of the Sgurr of Eigg, given above, 
has recently been challenged by Mr Harker. It seems likely now that 
the pitchstone was intruded underground and never reached the surface 
until laid bare by denudation. It may be noted that this later 
interpretation makes a greater demand upon erosion than even its 
predecessor. 



INDEX 



NATURAL ORDERS AND GENERA OF FLOWERING 
PLANTS, FERNS, ETC. 



Acer, 110. 


Araliaceae, 129. 


Callitriche, 124. 


Aceraceae, 110. 


Arctium, 138. 


Calluna, 142. 


Achillea, 135. 


Arctostaphylos, 142. 


Caltha, 96. 


^Egopodium, 127. 


Arenaria, 105. 


Calystegia, 149. 


Agropyron, 195. 


Arrhenathemm, 190. 


Camelina, 100. 


Agrostis, 188. 


Artemisia, 136. 


Campanula, 141. 


Aira, 189. 


Asperula, 131. 


Campanulaceae, 141. 


Ajuga, 159. 


Asplenium, 198. 


Caprifoliaceae, 130. 


Alcheniilla, 118. 


Aster, 134. 


Capsella, 101. 


Alisma, 179. 


Astragalus, 114. 


Cardamine, 99. 


Alismacese, 179. 


Athyrium, 199. 


Carex, 184. 


Allium, 176. 


Atriplex, 161. 


Carlina, 138. 


Alnus, 168. 


Avena, 190. 


Carophyllaceae, 103. 


Alopecurus, 187. 




Carurn, 127. 


Amaranthacete, 16U. 


Barbarea, 99. 


Castalia, 97. 


Amaranthus, 161. 


Bartsia, 153. 


Catabrosa, 191. 


Amaryllidacese, 174. 


Bellis, 134. 


Centaurea, 138. 


Ammophila, 189. 


Berberidacese, 96. 


Centaurium, 146. 


Anagallis, 144. 


Berberis, 96. 


Centunculus, 145. 


Anchusa, 148. 


Beta, 161. 


Cerastium, 104. 


Angelica, 129. 


Betula, 168. 


Chara, 202. 


Antennaria, 134. 


Bidens, 135. 


Characese, 202. 


Anthemis, 135. 


Blechnum, 198. 


Chenopodiaceae, 161. 


Anthoxanthum, 187. 


Boraginaceae, 147. 


Chenopodium, 161. 


Anthriscus, 128. 


Borago, 148. 


Chrysanthemum, 136. 


Anthyllis, 113. 


Botrychiuru, 200. 


Chrysosplenium, 122. 


Antirrhinum, 151. 


Brachypodium, 194. 


Circaea, 125. 


Apium, 127. 


Brassica, 100. 


Cladium, 184. 


Apocynaceae, 146. 


Briza, 192. 


Cnicus, 138. 


Aquifoliacese, 110. 


Bromus, 194. 


Cochlearia, 100. 


Aquilegia, 96. 




Compositae, 133. 


Arabis, 99. 


Cakile, 101. 


Coniferae, 195. 




205 



206 



INDEX 



Conium, 126. 


Fumaria, 98. 


Lemna, 179. 


Conopodium, 127. 


Fumariacepe, 98. 


Lemnacece, 179. 


Convolvulacese, 149. 




Lentibulariacefe, 154. 


Convolvulus, 149. 


Galeopsis, 158. 


Leon tod on, 140. 


Corylus, 169. 
Crassulacese, 122. 


Galium, 131. 
Gentiana, 147. 


Lepidium, 101. 
Lepturus, 195. 


Cratsegus, 121. 


Gentianacefe, 146. 


Ligusticum, 128. 


Crepis, 139. 


Geraniaceae, 108. 


Liliaceffi, 175. 


Crithmuin, 128. 


Geranium, 109. 


Linacete, 108. 


Crucifera, 98. 


Geum, 117. 


Linum, 108. 


Cupuliferae, 167. 


Glaux, 144. 


Listera, 173. 


Cynosurus, 191. 
Cyperacese, 182. 


Glyceria, 192. 
Gnaphalium, 134. 


Littorella, 160. 
Lobelia, 141. 


Cystopteris, 199. 


Graminese, 186. 


Lolium, 194. 


Cytisus, 112. 




Lonicera, 131. 


Dactylis, 191. 
Daucus, 129. 
Deschampsia, 189. 
Digitalis, 151. 
Dipsacea?, 132. 
Draba, 99. 
Drosera, 123. 
Droseracefe, 123. 


Habenaria, 174. 
Haloragacea>, 124. 
Hedera, 130. 
Helleborine, 173. 
Heracleum, 129. 
Hieracium, 139. 
Hippoph?e, 164. 
Holcus, 189. 
Htunulus 166. 


Lotus, 113. 
Luzula, 178. 
Lychnis, 104. 
Lycopodiaceae, 201. 
Lycopodium, 201. 
Lycopsis, 148. 
Lycopus, 157. 
Lysimachia, 144. 
Lythracese, 124. 


Elaeagnacese, 164. 
Elatinacete, 106. 
Elatine, 106. 
Eleocharis, 182. 
Empetraceae, 171. 


Hydrocotyle, 126. 
Hymenophyllum, 198. 
Hypericacese, 106. 
Hypericum, 106. 
Hypochseris, 139. 


Ly thrum, 125. 

Malaxis, 173. 
Malva, 107. 
Malvacese, 107. 
Matricaria, 136. 


Empetrum, 171. 




Medicago, 112. 


Epilobium, 125. 
Equisetacese, 201. 
Equisetum, 201. 
Ericaceae, 142. 


Ilex, 110. 
Illecebraceffi, 160. 
Inula, 135. 
Iridacese, 174. 


Melampyrum, 154. 
Melissa, 157. 
Mentha, 156. 
Menyanthes, 147. 


Erica, 143. 


Iris, 174. 


Mercurialis, 165. 


Eriophorum, 183. 
Erodium, 109. 


Jasione, 141. 


Mimulus, 151. 
Molinia, 191. 


Erophila, 99. 
Eryngium, 126. 
Eupatorium, 134. 


Juncacese, 177. 
Juncus, 177. 
Juniperus, 196. 


Montia, 106. 
Myosotis, 148. 
Myrica, 167. 


Euphorbia, 165. 




Myricacese, 167. 


Euphorbiacefe, 165. 


Kreleria, 191. 


Myriophyllum, 124. 


Euphrasia, 152. 




Myrrhis, 128. 




Labiates, 155. 




Fagus, 169. 


Lamium, 159. 


Naiadacese, 180. 


Festuca, 193. 


Lapsana, 139. 


Xaias, 181. 


Filices, 197. 


Lastrea, 200. 


Narcissus, 175. 


Fragaria, 117. 


Lathyrus, 114. 


Nardus, 195. 


Fraxinus, 145. 


Leguminosfe, 110. 


Narthecium, 177. 



INDEX 



207 



Nitella, 202. 


Prunella, 158. 


Solanacese, 149. 


Nymphseacese, 97. 


Prunus, 115. 


Solanum, 150. 




Pteris, 198. 


Solidago, 134. 


CEnanthe, 128. 


Pyrola, 143. 


Sonchus, 140. 


Oleaceae, 145. 


Pyrus, 120. 


Sparganium, 179. 


Onagracete, 125. 




Spergula, 105. 


Ononis, 112. 


Quercus, 169. . 


Spergularia, 105. 


Orchidacere, 172. 




Spinea, 116. 


Orchis, 173. 


Radicula, 98. 


Stachys, 158. 


Orobanchacese, 154. 


Radiola, 108. 


Statice, 143. 


Orobanche, 154. 


Ranunculacese, 94. 


Stellaria, 104. 


Osmunda, 200. 


Ranunculus, 28, 33, 95. 


Suseda, 162. 


Oxalis, 110. 

Papaver, 97. 
Papaveracefe, 97. 
Parnassia, 122. 


Raphanus, 102. 
Rhinanthus, 154. 
Ribes, 122. 
Rosa, 118. 
Rosacese, 115. 


Tanacetum, 136. 
Taraxacum, 140. 
Teucrium, 159. 
Thalictram, 94. 


Pedicularis, 153. 
Peplis, 125. 


Rubiacese, 131. 
Rubus, 116. 


Thlaspi, 101. 
Thynras, 157. 


Petasites, 137. 


Rumex, 163. 


Tilia, 108. 


Peucedanum, 129. 
Phalaris, 187. 


Ruppia, 181. 
Ruscus, 176. 


Tiliaceae, 108. 
Tolypella, 202. 


Phegopteris, 200. 
Phleum, 188. 


Sagina, 105. 


Trifolium, 112. 
Triglochin, 180. 


Phragmites, 191. 
Phyllitis, 199. 


Salicornia, 162. 
Salix, 170. 


Trollius, 96. 
Tussilago, 137. 


Pimpinella, 127. 


Salsola, 162. 


Typhacese, 179. 


Pinguicula, 155. 


Sambucus, 130. 


TJlex, 111. 


Pinus, 196. 
Plantaginacese, 159. 
Plantago, 159 
Plumbaginacene, 143. 
Poa, 192. 
Polemoniacefe, 148. 


Samolus, 145 
Sanicula, 126. 
Saxifraga, 121. 
Saxifragacete, 121. 
Scabiosa, 132. 
Schcenus, 183. 


Ulrmis, 166. 
Umbelliferse, 125. 
Urtica, 167. 
Urticaceaj, 166. 
Utricularia, 154. 


Polemonium, 148. 


Scilla, 176. 


Vacciniacese, 142. 


Polygala, 103. 


Scirpus, 182. 


Vaccinium, 142. 


Polygalacere, 103. 


Scleranthus, 160. 


Valeriana, 132. 


Polygonacese, 162. 


Scrophularia, 151. 


Valerianacese, 132. 


Polygonatum, 176. 
Polygonum, 163. 


Scrophulariacese, 150. 
Scutellaria, 158. 


Valerianella, 132. 
Verbascum, 151. 


Polypodium, 200. 
Polvstichum, 199. 


Sedum, 123. 
Selaginella, 201. 


Veronica, 151. 
Vicia, 114. 


Populus, 171. 


Selaginellacese, 201. 


Vinca, 146. 


Portulacere, 106. 


Senecis, 137. 


Viola, 102. 


Potamogeton, 180. 


Sherardia, 132. 


Violaceje, 102. 


Potentilla, 117. 


Sieglingia, 190. 




Primula, 144 


Silene, 103. 


Zanichellia, 181. 


Primulacese, 143. 


Sisymbrium, 100. 


Zostera, 181. . 



208 



INDEX 



GENERAL 

(but not including the general matter under Orders and Genera) 



Accentor, Hedge, 26. 


Blaeberry 142. 


Carrion Crow, 23. 


Agrimony, 33, 134. 


Blar-an-Deabhaidh,26. 


Carrot, 129. 


Alder, 71, 168. 


Blinks, 106. 


Catchfly, 103. 


Alkanet, 148. 


Bluebell, English, 177. 


Cat's-ear, 139. 


All-heal, 132. 


Scottish, 141. 


Cat's-tail, 188. 


Allseed, 108. 


Boar, Wild, 14. 


Caves, 20. 


Alluvium, 60, 65. 


Bog-bean. 147. 


Celandine, 96. 


Alsike, 113. 


-cotton^ 183. 


Centaury, 34, 146. 


Andesite, 57. 


-myrtle, 167. 


Chaffinch, 25. 


Angelica, 129. 


-orchis, 173. 


Chaffweed, 145. 


Angiosperm, 93. 


-rush, 183. 


Chapels, 6, 18, 30. 


Apple, 121. 
Ardskenish, 31, 61. 


Bogha-Mhic-a-Bhas- 
tair, 21. 


Charlock, 101. 
Chervil, 128. 


Arran, 4, 6. 


Borage, 148. 


Chestnut, 71. 


Arrow-grass, 180. 


Boulder clay, 60, 64. 


Chickweed, 104, 106. 


Ash, 69, 145. 


Bracken, 82, 198. 


Chives, 176. 


Aspen, 69, 171. 


Bramble, 116. 


Chough, 39. 


Asphodel, Bog, 177. 


Brome, 194. j Chrysanthemum, 136; 


Aster, Sea, 134. 


Brooklime, 152. ; Cinquefoil, 118. 


Auk, Great, 14, 15. 


Brookweed, 145. Clay, 60, 64, 65. 


Avens, 117. 


Broom, 112. 


Cleavers, 131. 




Broomrape, 20, 154. 


Climate, 45. 


Baile-Mhaide, 22. 


Buckbean, 147. 


Clover, 83, 112. 


Balanahard, 22. 


Buckthorn, Sea, 71, 


Clubmoss, 201. 


Balaromin, 36, 59. 


164. 


Club-rush, 28, 182. 


Balm, 157. 


Buckwheat, 163. 


Cock's-foot, 192. 


Bamboo, 187. 


Bugle, 22, 159. 


Cole-seed, 100. 


Barberry, 96. 


Bugloss, 148. 


Coll, Isle of, 4, 67. 


Barra, Isle of, 4, 67. 


Bullfinch, 26. 


Coll Ciotach, 10. 


Bearberry, 142. 


Bunting, 26. 


Coltsfoot, 137. 


Bedstraw, 131. 


Burdock, 138. 


Columbine, 96. 


Beech, 71, 169. 


Bur-Marigold, 135. 


Conglomerates, 57, 64. 


Beet, 28, 161. 


Burnet Rose, 119. 


Conifers, 71, 76, 195. 


Bent-grass, 188. 


Bur- reed, 179. 


Convolvulus, 149. 


Bindweed, 149. 


Butcher's-broom, 176. 


Coot, 17. 


Birch, 69, 168. 


Butterbur, 137. 


Cormorant, 15, 33, 40. 


Birds, 15, 17, 19, 20, 
23, 25, 32, 39. 


Buttercup, 83, 95. 
Butterwort, 155. 


Corncockle, 104. ^> 
Corncrake, 18. 


Bishopweed, 127. 
Bittercress, 99. 


Buzzard, 23. 


Cornsalad, 132. 
Cotton-grass, 183. 


Bittersweet, 150. 


Camomile, 135, 136. 


Couch-grass, 195. 


Blackbird, 25. 


Campion, 19, 88, 103. 


Cow-parsnip, 129. 


Blackcock, 40. 


Canary-grass, 187. 


Cowwheat, 154. 


Blackthorn, 115. 


Canna, Isle of, 54, 56. 


Crane's-bill, 109. 


Bladderfern, 199. 


Caraway, 127. 


Cress, 99, 101. 


Bladderwort, 154. 


Carline, 138. 


Crinan, 64. 



INDEX 



209 



Cross, sanctuary, 35. 
Crow, 23. 
Crowberry, 171. 


Elecampane, 135. 
Elevation and tempera- 
ture, 49. 


Garlic, 176. 
Garvard, 34, 61. 
Garvelloch Isles, 57. 


Crowfoot, 95, 96. 


Elm, 70, 166. 


Gentian, 34, 147. 


Cryptogams, 92, 197. 


Enchanter's Night- 


Geological formation, 


Cuckoo, 17, 39. 


shade, 125. 


54. 


Cuckoo-flower, 99. 


Erratics, 64. 


Geranium, 109. 


Cudweed, 134. 


Escallonia, 75. 


Germander, 152. 


Curlew, 33. 
Currant, 25, 122. 


Evergreens (garden), 


Gigha, Isle of, 54, 57. 
Gipsywort, 157. 




Everlasting, 134. 


Glaciation, 63. 


Daffodil, 175. 


Eyebright, 153. 


Glasswort, 162. 


Daisy, 134, 136. 




Globeflower, 96. 


Dalriadiau, 57. 


Falcon, 19. 


Gneiss, 54, 57, 63. 


Dandelion, 140. 


Ferns, 197. 


Gold of Pleasure, 100. 


Dead-nettle, 159. 


Fern, Beech, 200. 


Goldcrest, 26. 


Deer, Red, 14. 


Bladder, 199. 


Golden Plover, 18. 


Deer's Hair, 61, 182. 


Buckler, 70, 200. 


Golden Rod, 134. 


Deposits, superficial, 
65. 


Filmy, 70, 198. 
Hard. 198. 


Golf-links, 16, 29. 
Goose, Barnacle, 15. 


Devil's-bit, 132. Hartstongue, 199. 


Brent, 40. 


Dewberry, 117. Lady, 199. 


Grey Lag, 15. 


Dicotyledons, 93. 


Male, 200. 1 Gooseberry, 25, 122. 


Diorite, 63. 


Moonwort, 20, 200. | Goosefoot, 161. 


Dipper, 25. 
Diver, 33. 


Royal, 200. 
Shield, 199, 200. 


Goosegrass, 131. 
Gorse, 111. 


Dock, 163. 


Fescue, 193. 


Goutweed, 127. 


Dog-rose, 120. 


Field-fare, 39. 


Granite, 56, 64. 


Dog's-tail, 191. 


Field-madder, 132. 


Scalasaig, 59, 63. 


Donald Ballach, 36. 


Fig, 48, 166. - 


Grass of Parnassus, 34, 


Dotterel, 39. 


Figwort, 20, 151. 


122. 


Dove, 20, 25. 


Fiorin, 188. 


Grasses, 186. 


Dove's-foot, 109. 


Fishes, 40, 41, 42. 


Grasswrack, 181. 


Dropwort, 28, 128. 


Flag, Yellow, 174. 


Greenfinch, 25. 


Dubh-sith Beag, 9. 


Flags, 59. 


Greenshank, 39. 


Duck, Eider, 15, 32, 


Flax, 84, 108. 


Grey Seal, 15. 


40. 


Flora, The, 86. 


Grey-hen, 40. 


Pintail, 15. 


Forget-me-not, 148. 


Grifs, 57, 62, 70. 


Tufted, 39. 


Foxglove, 151. 


Groundsel, 137. 


Wild, 17, 32. 


Fox-sedge, 28, 184. 


Grouse, 40. 


Duckweed, 28, 179. 


Foxtail, 187. 


Sand, 39. 


Dunan - nan - Nighean, 


French Willow, 125. 


Gulf Stream, 47. 


26. 


Frog Orchis, 174. 


Guillemot, 19. 


Dunlin, 39. 


Fuchsia, 76. 


Black, 23, 40. 


Dykes, 71. 


Fumitory, 98. | Gull, 19', 32, 40. 




Fungi, 86, 93. 


Gull-teasers, 33. 


Eagle, Sea, 40. 


Furze, 111. 


Gymnosperms, 195. 


Earthuut, 127. 






Eigg, Isle of, 54, 56. Gabbro, 56. 


Hair-grass, 189. 


Elder, 4, 130. Gannet, 32, 40. i Hard-grass, 193. 


14 



210 



INDEX 



Hardheads, 138. 


Kerrera, Isle of, 57. j Mallard, 17. 


Harebell, 141. 
Harris, Isle of, 55. 


Kestrel, 23. Mallow, 107. 
Kilchattan, 16, 17, 27. Manna-grass, 192. 


Hart's-tongue, 20, 199. 


Kiloran, 17, 24. 


Marigold, Corn, 136. 


Hawk, Sparrow, 25. 


Kiloran Bay, 20. 


Marsh, 96. 


Hawkbit, 140. 


Kintyre, 57. 


Marshwort, 33, 127. 


Hawk's-beard, 139. 


Kitchen-midden, 14. 


Marten, 14. 


Hawkweed, 139. 


Kittiwake, 19. 


Masterwort, 129. 


Hawthorn, 69, 121. 
Hazel, 69, 83, 169. 


Knapweed, 138. 
Knawel, 160. 


Matgrass, 184, 195. 
Matweed, 189. 


Heartsease, 102. 


Knotgrass, 163. 


May, 121. 


Heath, 143. 


Knotweed, 163. 


Mayweed, 135, 136. 


Heather, 82, 142. 




Meadow-grass, 189, 192. 


Heath-grass, 190. 


Lady's Bedstraw, 131. 


Meadow Rue, 33, 94. 


Heath-rush, 177. 


Fingers, 113. 


MeadowSweet, 116. 


Heath-vetch, 114. 


Mantle, 118. 


Measurements of trees, 


Hedge Mustard, 100. 


Smock, 99. 


72. 


Helleborine, 88, 173. 


Lag-na-Birlinn, 22. 


Medick, 112. 


Hemlock, 126. 


Lamb's Lettuce, 132. 


Melic-grass, 191. 


Hemp Nettle, 158. 


Lamprophyre, 63. 


Mercury, 165. 


Henbit, 159. 


Landscape, 56, 66. 


Merganser, 23. 


HerbBennet, 117. 


Lapstones, 15. 


Merlin, 40. 


Herb Robert, 109. 


Lapwing, 17. 


Mesozoic, 56. 


Heron, 33. 


Laurel, 74, 115. 


Mica-schist, 57. 


Hill-forts, 23, 27, 29, 


Lava, 55, 56. 


Milfoil, 124, 135. 


36. 


Lent Lily, 175. 


Milkwort, 103. 


Hogweed, 129. 


Lewisian, 55, 63. 


Mimulus, 151. 


Holly, 74, 110. 


Lichens, 74, 83, 93. 


Mint, 156. 


Holly, Sea, 20, 126. 


Limestone, 20, 57, 58, 


Monocotyledons, 172. 


Holyrood, 13. 


59, 62. 


Moonwort, 20, 200. 


Honeysuckle, 20, 131. 


Lime-tree, 71, 108. 


Moor-cock, 40. 


Hop, 166. 


Limpet-hammers, 15. 


Mosses, 74, 82. 


Horsetail, 201. 


Ling, 142. 


Mountain Ash, 121. 


Hyacinth, 176. 


Linseed, 108. 


Mouse-ear, 104. 


Hydrangea, 76. 


Lismore, Isle of, 57, 


Muck, Isle of, 56. 




67. 


Mud-sedge, 37, 185. 


Igneous rocks, 59, 63. 


Loam, 56, 66. 


Mudstones, 61. 


lona, 5, 54. 
Iris, 174. 


Lobelia, 141. 
Loch Fyne, 64. 


Mug wort, 137. 
Mull, Isle of, 53, 56. 


Islay, 9, 45, 57. 


Lochs, 76. 


Mullein, 151. 


Ivy, 7, 130. 


London Pride, 121. 


Mustard, 101. 




Loosestrife, 125, 144. 




Jackdaw, 23, 39. 


Lousewort, 84, 153. 


Naiad, Slender, 181. 


Jacksnipe, 17. 


Lovage, 19, 22, 128. 


Narcissus, 175. 


Jacob's Ladder, 147. 


Luing, Isle of, 57. Nard, 195. 


Jointed Rush, 65, 178. 


Lungwort, 151. 


Natural woods, 69. 


Juniper, 196. 




Nettle, 167. 


Jura, Isle of, 57, 64, 74. 


Machrins, 29, 60. Nightjar, 24. 




Madder, 132. Nipplewort, 139. 


Kentallenite, 63. Magpie, 39. No'nsuch, 112. 



INDEX 



211 



Oak, British, 69, 71, 


Plants of the pasture, Ribwort, 160. 


169. 


81. Riskbuie, 38. 


Evergreen, 75. 


of the shore, 89. 


Rock, basaltic, 54. 


Turkey, 71. 


Plover, Golden, 18. 


granitic, 59. 


Oat -grass, 190. 


Ring, 40. 


igneous. 59. 63. 


Orache, 161. 


Poa, 192. sedimentary, 58. 


Oransay, 4, 13, 61. 
Orchis, 34, 84, 173. 


Polypody, 200. 
Pondweed, 180, 181. 


Rock- cress, 99. 
Rocket, 99, 101. 


Osier, 170. 


Poor Man's Weather- 


Rockfoil, 37, 122. 


Otter, 14. 
Owl, 25. 


glass, 144. 
Poplar, 71, 171. 


Rock-rose, 68. 
Rocks and Flora, 67. 


Oyster, 15. 


Poppy, 97. 


Rook, 25. 


Oyster-catcher, 32 


Porphyry, 57, 64. 


Rose, 119. 




Port Mor, 28. 


Rose Bay, 125. 


Palm, 75. 
Pansy, 102. 


Preaching-house, 30. 
Primrose, 144. 


Roseroot, 19, 22, 123. 
Rowan, 69, 71, 121. 


Parsley Piert, 118. 


Primrose Peerless, 175. 


Rum, Isle of, 56. 


Partridge, 40. 


Puffin, 40. 


Rush, 177, 178. 


Pastures, 81-84. 




Rye-grass, 194. 


Pea, 114. 


Quaking-grass, 192. 




Peach, 48, 115. 


Quartzite, 57. Sallow, 170. 


Pearlwort, 105. 


Quartz-porphyry, 56. Saltwort, 144, 162. 


Peat, 65. 


Queen of the Meadows, Samphire, Rock, 45, 


Pennycress, 101. 


116. 87, 128. 


Pennywort, 126. 


Quitch-grass, 195. Sand, Blown, 65. 


Peppermint, 156. 




Sanderling, 39. 


Peregrine, 19. 


Raasay, Isle of, 56. 


Sandpiper, 32, 40. 


Periwinkle, 146. 


Rabbit, 15, 70. 


Sandspurry, 105. 


Petrel, Frigate, 39. 


Radish, 102. Sandstone; 56, 60, 64. 


Stormy, 40. 


Ragged Robin, 104. , Sandwort, 105. 


Phanerogams, 92. 


Ragwort, 83, 137. Sanicle, 126. 


Phyllites, 59, 70. 


Rail, Land, 19. 


Saxifrage, 122, 127. 


Pigmy trees, 73. 


Water, 25. 


Scabious, 132. 


Pignut, 127. 
Pilewort, 96. 


. Rainfall, 50, 51. 
Raised beaches, 18, 33, 


Scalasaig, 16, 59. 
Scalpay, Isle of, 56. 


Pimpernel, 144, 145. 


65. 


Scarba, Isle of, 357. 


Pine, 197. 


Ramsons, 176. 


Scenery, 66. 


Piper's Cave, 19. 


Ranunculus, 28, 33, 95. 


Schist, 54. 


Pipit, 17, 24. 


Rape, 100. 


Scorpion-grass, 148. 


Plain of the Church, 36. 


Raspberry, 25, 116. 


Scots Plane, 110. 


Plantain, 88, 159. 


Ratf 14. 


Sculptured stones, 13. 


Plantations, 70. 
Plants, lime-loving, 20, 


Raven, 19. 
Razorbill, 19. 


Scurvy-grass, 22, 100, 
Sea-blite, 162. 


90. 


Redbreast, 25. 


Holly, 20, 126. 


local distribution of, 


Red-rattle, 153. 


Kale, 45. 


88. 


Redshank, 33. 


Maram, 189. 


of dry situations, 84. 


Redwing, 39. 


Milkwort, 144. 


of wet situations, 84. 


Reed, 191. 


Pink, 88, 143. 


of the bogs, 90. 


Rest-harrow, 112. 


Purslane, 105. 


of the lochs, 77. 


Rhododendrons, 71, 74. 


Sedge, 4, 184. 



212 



INDEX 



Seal, 15, 32. 


Stitchwort, 104. 


Tway blade, 173. 


Seaweed, 43, 44. 


St John's-wort, 107. 


Twigrush, 184. 


Sedge, 184, 186. 


Stone cists, 28. 




Seil, Isle of, 57. 


Stonechat, 24, 39. 


Uragaig, 20, 66. 


Self-heal, 158. 


Stonecrop, 123. 




Shag, 33. 


Stonewort, 202. 


Valerian, 33, 132. 


Sheep's-bit, 141. 


Stork's-bill, 34, 109. 


Greek, 147. 


Sheldrake, 32. 


Strawberry, 117. 


Verbena, Lemon - 


Shell deposits, 15. 


Strise, 64. 


scented, 76. 


Shell-fish, 42, 43. 


Sundew, 123. 


Vernal Grass, 187. 


Shepherd's Purse, 101. 


Sunshine, 52. 


Veronica, 151. 


Shipwrecks, 28. 


Swan, 17. 


Vetch, 83, 113, 114. 


Shore-weed, 160. 


Sweet Amber, 106. 


Violet, 102. 


-wheat, 195. 


Briar, 120. 




Shoveller, 39. 


Cicely, 128. 


Wagtail, 26. 


Shrubs (garden), 74. 


Gale, 167. 


Wall Pepper, 123. 


Silver-weed, 118. 


Sycamore, 36, 110. 


Wall-rue, 68, 199. 


Skua, 32. 


Syenite, 63. 


Warbler, 26. 


Skullcap, 158. 




Watch-hills, 23. 


Skye, Isle of, 54, 55. 


Tansy, 136. 


Watercress, 98. 


Skylark, 18. 


Tare, 114. 


Water Hen, 25. 


Slate. 57. 


Teal, 17. 


Lily, 97. 


Sloch'd-dubh-Mhic-a- 


Temperature, 48, 49. 


Pepper, 106, 163. 


Phi, 20. 


Temperature of the sea, 


Plantain, 179. 


Sloe, 115. 


53. 


Purslane, 125. 


Snapdragon, 151. 


Temple of the Glen, 


Wheat-ear, 24. 


Sneezewort, 135. 


34. 


-grass, 195. 


Snipe, 17, 40. 


Tern, 32. 


Whimbrel, 40. 


Snowberry, 76, 130. 


Tertiary, 55, 63. 


Whin, 111. 


Soay, Isle of, 56. 


Thistle, 138. 


Whitlow - grass, 37, 


Solan Goose, 32, 40. 


Thrift, 19, 143. 


99. 


Solomon-seal, 176. 


Thrush, 25. 


Whorl-grass, 191. 


Sorrel, 164. 


Thyme, 20, 157. 


Whortleberry, 142. 


Sow-thistle, 140. 


Till, 64. 


Widgeon, 17. 


Sparrow, 25. 
Spear-heads, 15. 


Timothy, 188. 
Tiree, 5, 55, 73. 


Willow, 69, 71, 
170. 


Spearmint, 156. 


Titlark, 17. 


Willow-herb, 125. 


Spear-thistle, 138. 


Titmouse, 25. 


Winds, 52. 


Spearwort, 95. 


Toad-rush, 177. 


Winter-green, 143. 


Speedwell, 152. 
Spikerush, 182. 


Tormentil, 118. 
Torridonian, 54, 56, 


Wishing-well, 23. 
Woodbine, 70, 131. 


Spleenwort, 19, 88, 


58. 


Woodcock, 24. 


198. 
Spurge, 165. 


Tree-creeper, 26. 
Trees and Shrubs, 


Woodruff, 131. 
Woodrush, 178. 


Spurry, 105. 
Squill, 37, 176. 


74. 
Trefoil, 113. 


Wood-sage, 159. 
Wood-sanicle, 126. 


Star of the Earth, 


Trout, 76, 77. 


AVood-sorrel, 110. 


160. 


Turnip, 100. 


Woods, natural, 69. 


Starling, 24. 


Turnstone, 39. 


Woolly Soft Grass, 190. 


Starwort, 104, 124. 


Tutsan, 106. 


Woundwort, 158. 



INDEX 



213 



Wrack, Shore, 43, 44. 
Wren, 25. 
Wych Elm, 166. 


Yarrow, 135. 
Yellow Bunting, 26. 
Yellow Flag, 174. 


Yellow Rattle, 154 
Yorkshire Fog, 190. 


GAELIC NAMES OF PLANTS, BIEDS, ETC. 


Aillean, 135. 


Breac-an-t-sil, 25. 


Cathair - thalmhainn, 


Aineach, 178. 


Breoillean, 194. 


135. 


Aiteodha, 128. 


Bridein, 32. 


Cathan, 15. 


Amsan, 32, 40. 


Briollan, 153. 


Ceann - a - sgadain 


Aspag, 33. 


Brisgean, 118. 


dheirg, 158. 




-nan-caorach, 158. 


Cearban, 95. 


Badan measgan, 155. 


Broga-cubhaig, 102, 


Cearc-fhraoich, 40. 


Bainne muice, 140. 


141. 


-thomain, 40. 


-bo-gamhnach, 153. 
-crodh-laoigh, 153. 


Bru-chorpan, 177. 
Brudeargan, 25. 


-uisge, 25. 
Ceis-chrann, 200. 


Bal-ar-bodhan, 33, 39. 


Buidheag, 95. 


Chritheach, A', 171. 


Ballan-buidhe, 137. 


-a-chinn-oir, 26. 


Ciob, 61, 182. 


Barr-a'-mhilltich, 180. 


-an-arbhair, 136. 


Cirean-coileach, 104. 


Bealaidh, 112. 


Buidhean-na-coille, 26. 


Clachran, 24. 


Bearnan-bride, 140. 


Bunabhuachaille, 33. 


-coille, 39. 


Beist-dubh, 14. 




Cloimh-uisge, 202. 


Beitean, 195. 


Cailleach - a - chinn - 


Cluain-lin, 105. 


Beithe, 168. 


duibh, 25. 


Cluaran, 138. 


Biadh - ur - eunachan, 


-oidche, 25. 


Cluas-liath, 139. 


110. 


Cainb-uisge, 134. 


-luchag, 104. 


Bigein-an- t-sneachd, Calag, 23, 40. 


Cnamhach, 39. 


26. Cal-broilein, 100. 


Cnamh-lus, 134. 


Bilearach, 181. 


-Pharuig, 121. 


Cn6-leana, 118. 


Biolair, 98, 100, 152. 


-slapach, 161. 


Cobhair Mhuire, 160. 


Biolair-ioc, 124. 


Calg-bhrudhainn, 176. 


Cobharach, 148. 


Biotais, 161. 


Calltuinn, 169. 


Codalan, 97. 


Blathan -buidhe - nam - 


Calman-coille, 25. 


Coig-bhileach, 118. 


bo, 113. 


-creige, 20. 


Coileach-coille, 24. 


Bliochan, 177. 


Camabhil, 135. 


-dubh, 40. 


Bliochd fochainn, 141. 


Canach, 183. 


-fraoich, 40. 


Bodan, 188. 


Caolach-miosa, 108. 


-ruadh, 40. 


-coille, 126. 


Caora-bada-miann, 117. 


-traghadh, 33. 


Bog-fhonntan, 140. 


-caorthainn, 121. 


Coin-fheur, 191. 


Bogha-muc, 177. 


-caothaich, 106. 


Coinneal Mhuire, 151. 


Bolachdan, 17. 


mhea(ng)lain, 131. 


Coirce-fiadhain, 190. 


Bollasgan, 97. 


Caorag-leana, 104. 


Colgroc, 184. 


Borraidh, 148. 


Caornan, 114. 


Conasg, 111. 


Braban, 191. 


Carbhaidh, 127. 


Copag, 164. 


Braoileag, 142. 


Carran, 105. 


Copan-an- driuchd, 118. 


Braonan - a' - mhadaidh 


Cartal, 156. 


Corra-meille, 114. 


ruaidh, 118. 
-coille, 127. 


Casraiginn, 163. 
Cathag, 39. 


Corr-chopag, 179. 
Cos-uisge, 128. 



214 



INDEX 



Cra-gheadh, 32. Eala, 17. 


Fuile Thalmhuinn, 96, 


Crann-Lach, 17. -bhuidhe, 107. 


Fuinnseach, 125. 


CrannTeile, 108. Earball-capuill, 201. 




Cranntachan-an-Deam- Earra-dhreas, 120. 


Gallan-greanach, 1S7. 


hain, 165. Eidheann, 130 


-mor, 137. 


Craobh Faidbhile, 169. Eisg, 40, 41 , 42. 


Garbhag - an - 1 - sleibh. 


Creachdach, 125. Eoinean, 134. 


201. 


Creachlach-dearg, 109. Eun-beag-a-Stoirm, 40. 


Garbhan-creige, 123. 


Creamh, 176. -dubh-a-Sgadain, 19. 


Gath-buidhe, 158. 


Crim-raineach, 200. 


-a-Ghiuirinn; 40. 


Geadh-glas, 15. 


Crith-fheur, 192. 


-glas, 25. 


-god, 40. 


Crois-an-Tearmaid, 35. 


-mor, 40. 


Gealbhonn, 25. 


Croman, 23, 40. 


-a-Phiocaich, 40. 


Gearr-dhearc, 96. 


Crotach, 33, 40. 




Geobhastan, 129. 


Cuach Pharuig, 159. 


Faidbhile, 169. 


Gille-fionndruinn, 146. 


Cuidheal-mhor, 24. 


Fail-chuach, 102. 


Gille-guirmein, 132. 


Cuilc, 101. 


Falcair-fiadhain, 144. 


Giubhas, 197. 


Cuilionn, 110. 


Faoileann, 33, 40. 


Giuran, 129. 


-traghadh, 126. Farach-dubh, 151. 


Glas-fheur, 195. 


Cuirridin-coille, 201. Fasgadair, 32. 


-leun, 95. 


Cuiseag-airgid, 189. 


Feadag, 18. 


Gleadhran, 154. 


-mhilis, 192. 


Feamainn, 43, 44. 


Gluineach, 163. 


Cullach, 14. 


-chireagach, 13, 43. 


Gobha-dubh- nan - allt, 


Curran, 126, 129. 


Feannag, 23, 39. 


25. 


Cuthag. 17. 


Fearmdagach, 167. 


Goin-fheur, 190. 




-nimhneach, 158. 


Gorra-ghriodhach, 33. 


Da-bhileach, 173. 


Fearn, 168. 


Grafan-nan-clach, 123. 


Darach, 169. 


Fearsaideag, 101. 


Grain-aigein, 96. 


Deagha-dearg, 146. 


Feoran Curraigh, 157. 


Grainnseag, 171. 


Dearca, 122. 


Feorine, 188. 


Groiseid, 122. 


-collie, 142. 


Feuran, 176. 


Grunnasg, 137. 


Dearna Cridhe, 118. 


Feur-chaorach, 193. 


Gudabochd, 17, 40. 


Dithean, 136. 


Feur-a-Phuint, 195. 




Dobhran, 14. 


Feur-saille, 160. 


ladh-lus, 149. 


Draighionn, 115, 121. 
Dreas-chubhraidh, 120. 


Fiadh, 14. 
Fideag, 187. 


lasg, 40, 41, 42. 
Ibhig, 199. 


Dreas-nam-mucag, 119. 


Fineul Madra, 135. 


lolaire, 40. 


Dreas-na-smeur, 116. 


Mhuire, 100. 


lotliros, 104. 


Dreollan, 25. 


Fionnan-geal, 122. 


lubhar-beinne, 196. 


-dorann, 25. 


Fitheach, 19. 




Droman, 130. 


Fliodh, 104. 


Lacha Cholasacb, 40. 


Druideag, 24. 


Flur-na-cubhaig, 99. 


-mhor, 15, 40. 


Druidh-lus, 164. 


Foinne-lus, 165. 


-riabhach, 17. 


Dubhan-na-caora, 141. 


Fothannan, 138. 


Leamhan, 166. 


Dubh-chasach, 198. 


Frafann, 65, 178. 


Learg, 33, 40. 


Dubh-fhaoileann ,32,33. 


(F)raineach, 197-200. 


Lear-uinnean, 176. 


Duchas, 130. 


Fraoch, 142, 143. 


Leitis Luain, 132. 


Duilleaga-baite, 180. 


Friodh-raineach, 199. 


Liath Chearc, 40. 


Duilleag-mhaith, 139. 


Fualactar, 127. 


-lus, 137. 


Duil-mhial, 149. 


Fuath-gorm, 150. 


-Truisg, 39. 



INDEX 



215 



Lili-bhuidhe, 175. 


Lus-nan-laoch, 123. 


Neoinean-mor, 136. 


Lion, 108. 


-nan-laogh, 122. 


Neup, 100. 


Lion na h-Aibhne, 95. 


nan-leac, 153. 


Nuallach, 152. 


Lionn-luibh, 166. 


-nan-sgor, 158. 




Lochal, 152. 
Lochlannach, 17. 


-na-peighinn, 126. 
- na - sith - chainnt, 


Oidhreag, 116. 
Oibheall-uisge, 126. 


Loirean, 40. 


125. 




-traghadh, 32, 40. 


riabhach, 153. 


Peabair-uisge, 95, 96. 


Lon-dubh, 25. 


-taghta, 174. 


Peasair, 114. 


Luachair, 177. 


teang' - an - daimh, 


Peur, 115, 121. 


-bhogain, 182. 


148. 


Piobaire, 15. 


Luan-lus, 200. 




Pioghaid, 39. 


Luibh-a-Chait, 134. 
-a-chneas, 116. 


Mac-an-dogha, 138. 
Machall-coille, 117. 


Plinntrinn, 110. 
Pluran Cluigeannach, 


-a-sporain, 101. 


-monaidh, 12. 


141. 


Chaluim Chille, 107. 


uisge, 117. 


Plur-an-lochain, 141. 


-na-machrach, 157. 


Madar, 131. 


Praiseach Feidh, 101. 


-na-maclan, 109. 


Maorach (shell - fish), 


Mhin, 161. 


-nan-tri-beann, 147. 


42, 43. 


-na-mara, 162. 


Lns-a'-bhainne, 103. 


Maraiche, 100. 


Preas-deilgneach, 96. 


-a-Chadail, 97. 


Marc-raineach, 200. 


- nan - gorm - dhearc, 


-a-Chalmain, 96. 


Meacan-dubh-fiadhain, 


117. 


-a-chorrain, 135. 


159. 




-a-chrom-chinn, 175. 


-ragaim, 135. 


Raineach, 197-200. 


-a-chrubain, 147. 


-raibhe, 100. 


Reabhag, 17. 


-an-Aisige, 175. 


-ruadh, 102. 


Righ-raineach, 200. 


-an-Easbuig, 127. 


Meoir Mhuire, 113. 


Rocais, 25. 


-an-fhogair, 99, 163. 


Meuran - nan - daoine - 


Roideagach, 167. 


-an-t-siabuinn, 103. 


marbh, 151. 


Ron, 15. 


-a-R6s, 104. 


Meana' Ghurag, 40. 


Ruaimleadh, 97. 


-buidhe Bealltainn, 


Milsean-uisge, 192. 


Ruanaidh, 164. 


96. 


Minmhear, 126. 


Ru-beag, 95. 


- chosgadh na fola, 


Mionnt, 156. 


Rudh, 109. 


135. 


Mislean, 187. 


Rue-bhallaidh, 199. 


ere, 152. 


Modalan, 155. 


Ruin, 131. 


-ghlinn - Bhracadail, 


-dearg, 153. 




165. 


Moin-fheur, 189. Sadharcan, 17. 


-gun-mhathair - gun- 


Morag, 174. 


Sail-chuach, 102. 


athair, 179. 


Mor-fhliodh, 129. 


Saimbhir, 128. 


-deathach - thalmh - 


Moth-urach, 173. 


Saitse-fiadhaich, 159. 


uinn, 98. 


Mucag-fhailm, 120. 


Samh, 164. 


-leighis, 165. 


Muchog, 154. 


Saor-an-dao, 63. 


mhic - righ - Bhreat - 


Muileann-dubh, 18, 36. 


Sealbhag, 164. 


uinn, 157. 


Muran, 189. 


Seamrag, 112, 113. 


-na-caithimh, 131. 




Mhuire, 144. 


-na-fearnaich, 123. 


Naosg, 40. 


-nan-each, 138. 


-na-Fraing, 136. 
-na-malla, 157. 


Nead-coille, 94. 
Neanntag-aog, 159. 


Seangan, 113. 
Searbhan muc, 141. 


-na-nieala, 153. 


Neoinean, 134. 


Searraiche, 96. 


nan-cnapan, 151. 


-cladaich, 143. 


Seasg, 184, 185, 186. 



216 



INDEX 



Seasg-na-mara, 183. 


Sioltach, 23. 


Suth-lair, 117. 


-righ, 179. 


Siunas, 128. 




Seileach, 170. 


Slan-lus, 160. 


Tabeist, 15. 


Seileachan, 125. 


Slat-oir, 134. 


Taghan, 14. 


Seileastair, 174. 


Smeorach, 25. 


Taithean, 184. 


-nan-gobhar, 178. 


Smeuran, 116. 


Tarritrean, 18. 


Seimhean, 183. 


Snathainn bhathadh, 


Tarruing-air-eigin, 177. 


Seircean suir'ich, 131. 


124. 


-gun-taing, 177. 


Seobhag, 19. 


Sobhrachan, 144. 


Teang'-an-fheidh, 199. 


-bheag-ghlas, 40. 


Speireag-ghlas, 23. 


Torc-fiadh, 14. 


Sgaireag, 19. 


-ruadh, 25. 


Torrachas Biadhain, 95. 


Sgarbh, 15, 33, 40. 


Spionan Mhuire, 118. 


Tuirseach, 104. 


Sgeachag, 121. 


Spog-na-cuthaig, 102. 




Sgeallan, 101. 
Sgitheach, 115. 
Siabunn-nain-ban-sith, 


Sporan Buachaille, 101. 
Sreang bogha, 112. 
Sriumh-na-laogh, 151. 


Ubhal, 121. 
Ucas fiadhain, 107. 
Uinnseann, 145. 


103. 


Steirneal, 32. 


Uiseag, 18. 


Sicamor, 110. 


Suth-eraobh, 116. 


tTrach bhallach, 174. 



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