Nature experts have been left baffled after a rare plant was found growing on
an island off Scotland's west coast.
The RSPB is puzzled as to how the plant
Tuberaria guttata, or the spotted rock rose, which has never been seen in
Scotland before, was discovered on the west coast island of Coll.
There are only two other sites in the UK where the species grows - both in Wales.
The spotted rock rose flowers only once and drops its yellow petals in a matter of hours, making it very easy to miss.
The new discovery is so far removed from either of these sites that staff at RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) are puzzled over how it came
to be there.
RSPB Scotland Coll Reserve Warden Simon Wellock said: "Nowhere else in Scotland is this plant found and it's a red data book species.
"In conservation terms, this is a bit of a coup."
It is thought that warming global temperatures may have created an ideal habitat for the rare plant on the remote island.
Experts are now hopeful that many Scottish islands could potentially provide a suitable place for this species to spread further.
Lynne Farrell, species adviser for SNH, who confirmed the identity of the flower, said: "This is a very significant find."