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Sanday has a wide variety of plant habitats including spectacular machair dunes, lochs with marshy surroundings, farmland and moorland, as well as exposed coastline, which means a diverse range of plants. Much of the land is not intensively farmed which helps to preserve these pretty swards.
From May to August, Sanday’s rich plant life ensures that large areas of the island are carpeted in a vast array of colours. The variety of colours of wildflowers on coastal paths and linksland is stunning - golden yellow of Marsh Marigold, Buttercup, Bird's-foot Trefoil and Tormentil; the pink and purple of Marsh Orchids, Ragged Robin, Hearts-ease, Spring Squill, Campion; the white Grass of Parnassus, Eyebright and Daisy. A plant of high Arctic latitudes, Oysterplant is one of Sanday’s rarest flowers. It first appears in May and there are plenty of patches on the approach to Start Island and on the Holms of Ire.
The flowering plants on Sanday are adapted to a maritime habitat. At 59 degrees north, our summer season is short, but the daylight is long so there is a concentration of colours from May to August. Over 300 species of plant have been recorded on Sanday.
Please do not pick any wildflowers you find, but leave them for others to enjoy. If you would like to record where you find anything, please do collect a Biodiversity Recording Form from the Ranger.