Due to the islands wet climate and peaty soils, Rum is not particularly good for a rich flowering plant community, and consequently only 389 native species have been recorded on the island (29% of the UK total). Nevertheless, the island is still awash with colour in the summer months and the orchids remain a visible favourite with visitors.
The list includes common species such as heath spotted, fragrant and northern marsh orchids. Other notable species found on infertile habitats that have declined because of agricultural improvement and forestry in other parts of Britain includes the rarer bog, frog, small white and lesser butterfly orchids. All these species are protected on Rum and represent an increasingly valuable asset. In rugged areas of mountain and coastal habitat you may discover other nationally important flowering plants, including field gentian, arctic sandwort, pyramidal bugle, wood bitter-vetch, pillwort and alpine penny-cress. Better represented are the ferns (44 species, 62% of UK total) and the bryophytes (the mosses and liverworts) with 469 species (45% of UK total).These thrive under Rum’s cool wet conditions, and together with the c.400 species of lichens form dense ground mats or hang from trees and rocky outcrops along humid ravines and woodlands, and contribute to what some call the temperate rain forest.
Like a rain forest, the diversity is quite amazing, and many common species such as greater fork-moss, tree lungwort, common tamarisk-moss, maidenhair spleenwort, little shaggy-moss, common polypody, slender mouse-tail moss, greater whipwort, common striated feather-moss are all in great abundance in the immediate vicinity of Kinloch Village. Rare species found on the NNR include the nationally scarce black-tufted moss and the skye bog-moss which is only found on Rum, Harris and Skye.
Approximately 900 species of fungi have also been recorded on the island with the primary diversity observed from the semi-unimproved grassland. This habitat supports 25 species of the colourful waxcap fungi, and includes internationally scarce species including the goblet, spangle, earthy, slimy, nitrous and fibrous waxcaps.Other scarce species include the violet coral and olive earthtongue. Edible species such as the cepe Boletus edulis and chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius can be found around Kinloch; as it doesn’t lose its nutty flavour when dried, the cepe is considered one of the best edible fungi. The classic red and white ‘fairytale’ mushrooms called fly agaric Amanita muscaria are also relatively common around Kinloch during early September, but can be dangerous as they produce hallucinations.
Download your choice of Rum plant species lists from the following;