Among the Islands adjoining Mull plant life is largely the
same, nothwithstanding the fact that these isles have been permanently
separated throughout a succession of geological periods. It would be
plausible to assume that every isle would have a varied flora peculiar to
itself. Again, varied causes might lead to a wide distribution of plants.
The wind, the waves, and the birds are active agents in this field. Nor
should it be overlooked that man has been a very great and untiring factor,
not only after an intelligent manner, but also unconsciously in that seeds
adhere to packages imported from other districts. The production of plants
depends on the nature of the soil, climate and sunshine. The same land area
will multiply certain species, while other varieties will become rare.
Plants growing luxuriously on the low level lands will gradually disappear
along the mountain reaches. Very many have their habitat close to lochs,
rivers, and the margins bordering the sea.
The Western Isles were once famous for their forests. Even
the bogs, and other deposits, still contain remains of the old woods. Mull
was specially famous for her trees. When Dean Monro travelled through the
Hebrides he found most of the islands abounding in trees. The causes of the
great denudation of the forests can be easily traced through the dismal
history of the times which have elapsed. On the eastern and northeastern
coasts of Mull, there are several spots still remaining, containing valuable
timber. The isle should still be sheltered by forty thousand acres of
woodland, and that without interfering with tillage or grazing. The trees
most likely to thrive are those found growing spontaneously on the island.
The trees indigenous to the Hebrides, and most of which were formerly in
Mull, are the oak, ash, elm, beech, plane, chestnut, walnut, horse chestnut,
lime, maple, Scotch fir, larch, spruce, fir, silver fir, balsam fir*
pinaster, birch, black poplar, abele, aspen, alder, roan, willow, laburnum
In Mull the soil is generally light, thin and gravelly, being
the decomposition of volcanic matter,—the most fertile coming from the
granite. The geological construction of Mull is chiefly adapted to grazing.
Green crops and grasses may be raised to advantage. While the various
grasses afford pasture for domestic animals, yet there are many noxious
weeds that prove fatal to horses and cattle.
The following list of Mull plants, made by Professor Robert
C. McLean, is given without any change save I have noted the habitat of such
plants as are not common. Many plants are quite rare, and seldom met with
The following list of plants is compiled from the records
given for vice-county 103 (Mull and its smaller dependencies) —(See H. C.
Watson: Cyble Britannica)—in Traill’s “Topographical Botany of Scotland”
published with a “Continuation” and a “Supplement” in the Annals of Scottish
Natural History, from 1898 onwards; together with some additional plants
mentioned in Arthur Bennett’s “Additional Records of Scottish Plants” in
“The Scottish Naturalist” vol. 8, 1886 and onwards. It comprises every
authenticated species and variety for the islands, corrected up to the year
1912, so that any discovery not here included may be taken as being in all
probability an addition to the flora.
Any such discovery should be notified for record purposes,
and the author will be happy to receive any such notifications at University
The nomenclature here employed is that of the London
Catalogue of British Plants, tenth edition, and the order is that of Bentham
and Hooker, most usual in British Floras.