Black Wood of Rannoch IPA
Location: Tay Forest Park, west of Kinloch Rannoch, above the South Loch Rannoch road.
Grid Reference: NN 550 558
As the ice retreated at the end of the last ice age, trees moved in and, once the climate had stabilised, Scotland was blanketed with pine forest.
The Black Wood of Rannoch is one of the few remaining patches of this original Caledonian Pine Forest and contains important communities of species characteristic of old pinewoods, particularly lichens, fungi and a number of rare vascular plant species.
The Black Wood features splendid pines, some hundreds of years old, but as well as the Scots pine, native tree species to be found include silver birch, downy birch, rowan, alder, goat willow, bird cherry and juniper. The wood contains important communities of other species characteristic of old pinewoods, particularly lichens and fungi, and supports a number of rare species, such as coralroot orchid and serrated or toothed wintergreen.
You might spot a low, star-like flower which could be mistaken for the common wood anemone, but is actually chickweed wintergreen. It can be identified by the rosette of leaves half-way up the flower stem. Most flowering plants die back in autumn to allow them to escape the frosts and winds, but on the sheltered forest floor, evolution has programmed this plant to keep its leaves through the winter - hence the name.
Image: ©Laurie Campbell