Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Blade stunner as scientists find shortest grass in Scotland (but then lose it again)

© FLPA/ShutterstockThe tiny grass was found on sand dunes in North Uist
The tiny grass was found on sand dunes in North Uist

A rare patch of the world’s smallest grass found by accident on North Uist has intrigued scientists as it has not been documented in Scotland since 1851.

Botanists stumbled across the tiny grass called Mibora minima – which grows to just a few millimetres in height – while studying dandelions in the sand dunes of the Hebridean island. Despite noting down exact co-ordinates and using GPS, the grass was so small they struggled to find the site for a second time.

But the find – as far north as Mibora minima has been found in the world – has been hailed as highly significant.

Scientists are unable to explain how the grass – which is spread by the wind – came to be established at Baleshare, to the south-west of the island.

More than 1,000 of the plants were found growing in 10 different sites on North Uist, but it has not been found in searches of other islands, including Rum, Canna and Eigg.

Scientists believe Scotland’s loneliest apple tree could date back to ice age

Dr Stephen Bungard, a county recorder for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, said: “We were all quite excited by it. Finding really quite a lot of it was very unexpected. I was counting them by the hundred in places, but they are extremely small and difficult to spot.”

The grass is rare in the UK and the known populations of it are much further south – the Channel Islands, Anglesey and on the Gower peninsula in Wales. Scotland’s population of it is among the most northerly in the world, with the only other northern example in the Baltic States.

It has not featured on the Scottish Biodiversity List as the last official records of it date back to 1851 at Whitelaw Rocks in East Lothian. However, Mibora minima may have existed in Scotland but been too small to be spotted.

Experts now plan to search coastal habitats during spring months to see if it is more widely established. It is an annual plant and prefers open, sandy conditions on top of taller sand dune ridges.

Dr Bungard added: “My guess would be it’s been there a long time but nobody has noticed it before.”