Tuesday 22 November 2011

Tuesday 22 November

We have had the pleasure of a rare dry day today, giving us a chance to see what's out and about instead of hiding inside hoods and waterproofs!
Beinn Dearg in the November sunshine

Out on the hills it looks like winter. I saw some viviparous fescue (Festuca vivipara) grass which is well adapted to poor weather and short seasons. Viviparous means giving birth to live young, not something you would usually associate with grass. What the grass actually does is to produce lots of little grass plants instead of seeds. These are ready to grow as soon as they fall off and bed into the ground. Genetically they are the same as the parent plant, but on the hills soemtimes the season is too short or inclement to have time for all the pollination and seed production. Sheeps fescue and red fescue grasses also grow on the hills, but they produce seeds normally.
Viviparous fescue - there are lots of little 'grasslets' at the end of each stem.

Roe deer are becoming a common sight again in the woods around the Castle. Now that most of the human and canine visitors have gone home, the woods are quiet, and the deer usually spend the winter here before disappearing again in the spring

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