The limestone pavements around Durness help support an unusually diverse flora community rich in northern and arctic-alpine species. This is mainly due to the grikes between the pavement blocks which provide a relatively humid shelter from the strong winds and are also inaccessible to grazing animals.
With high levels of calcium carbonate being available within these microhabitats, the habitat is suitable only for those species that can tolerate these conditions such as Mountain Aven, Burnet Rose and the orchid Dark-red Helleborine. However, with accumulations of richer soil also developing within the shady, humid grikes, typical woodland herbs such as the Primrose and Dog’s Mercury can also grow.
Other species to look out for in the pavement areas (particularly those further inland) are various varieties of fern including Hart’s tongue, Brittle bladder-fern and Hard shield-fern. Stone Brambles may also be found within some of the grikes, with the name coming from the large stones found within the red berries rather than from them clinging to the stone pavements to stop them being swept into the sea!