There are 22 species and one subspecies of flowering plants which are only
found in Shetland, although all bar one of these are dandelion-like
Shetland Mouse-ear ('Edmondston's Chickweed') Cerastium
recognised as a full species (it was formerly regarded as a subspecies),
this plant was discovered by the 11 year-old Thomas Edmondston in 1837.
It only grows on Unst, most famously on and around the Keen of Hamar
National Nature Reserve on the edge of Baltasound. It grows on one other
hill on Unst and was reported on two other hills on the island in the
19th century but not since. In 1993, Dr David Slingsby estimated that
about 7000 plants grew on and around the Keen.
Photo by Mike Pennington.
three species of dandelions Taraxacum geirhildae,
Taraxacum serpenticola, Taraxacum hirsutissimum Dandelions
are one of several groups of plants that produce new species quite
readily and of the 65 different types of dandelion identified in
Shetland, three are found nowhere else in the world: T. geirhildae
grows in three sites in west and north Mainland and was first discovered
by the eminent botanist W. H. Beeby in 1907, T. serpenticola
grows only on Muckle Heog on Unst and was first found by Shetland
botanist Walter Scott in 1980, while T. hirsutissimum grows in
south Mainland as far as north as Cunningsburgh and was also discovered
by Walter Scott, this time in 1968.
Photos of T. serpenticola by
Paul Harvey (left) Micky Maher (right).
Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed Pilosella flagellaris
bicapitata This is an endemic Shetland subspecies of another
dandelion-like plant which is found rather locally in central Scotland and
central England. The Shetland race was found by Walter Scott in 1962 and it
is known from three sites: Whiteness, West Burrafirth and Ronas Voe.
eighteen species of hawkweeds Hieracium spp. The hawkweeds
speciate even more easily than the dandelions and there are many subtly
different species, often termed microspecies.
H. vinicaule is found mainly around St Magnus
Bay on Mainland but also on Yell
H. northroense is found in North Roe and at
one site in west Mainland
H. subtruncatum is found at several widespread
sites on Mainland
H. dilectum is found at four sites in central
and west Mainland
H. pugsleyi is found found at five locations
between Yell and south Mainland
H. attenuatifolium is found only at Laxo in
H. hethlandiae only grew at Mavis Grind on
Mainland but is now extinct in the wild, although some plants survive in
H. praethulense only grows in north Mainland
H. australius is found around Loch of Cliff on
Unst, beside the Wick of Tresta on Fetlar and in north Mainland
H. spenceanum is found in west Mainland
H. difficile is only known from Okraquoy in
H. gratum is found beside the Loch of Cliff on
Unst and Whale Firth on Yell
H. breve is only found at Ronas Voe in north
H. zetlandicum is found in north Mainland and
single sites in west and central Mainland
H. klingrahoolense is found
in a few sites in central Mainland and on Yell
H. amaurostictum is
found only at Semblisetter in west Mainland
H. scottii (named after Shetland botanist
Walter Scott) grows near
Sandness in west Mainland
H. ronasii only grows
beside Ronas Voe in north Mainland
Left to right: the hawkweeds Hieracium australius and H.
gratum at Loch of Cliff on Unst - Micky Maher; the hawkweed
H. scottii at Sandness and the hawkweed H. amurostictum
at Semblisetter - Paul Harvey
- Johnston, J. L. 2007. Victorians 60o North. Shetland
- Scott, W., Harvey, P. V., Riddington, R. & Fisher, M. 2002. Rare
Plants of Shetland. Shetland Amenity Trust, Lerwick.
- Scott, W. & Palmer, R. 1987. The Flowering Plants and Ferns of
the Shetland Islands Shetland Times, Lerwick.