Saturday, 23 July 2016

Friday, 22 July 2016

New Journal of Botany 6.1 published

It's here at last - the latest issue of New Journal of Botany, BSBI's scientific journal and one of our most popular publications, was published today.

Ash buds and flowers
Image courtesy of John Crellin/Floral Images
The issue is available on-line here and everybody can read the abstracts but only BSBI members have full access. If you are a member, just log in to the members-only area of the BSBI website (email me if you've forgotten the password) and you will be able to read and download all the content: six papers, one short note and three book reviews.

One paper likely to make a bit of a stir is by Ruth Mitchell et al. on the potential impacts of the loss of Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), due to ash dieback, on woodland vegetation in Great Britain.

This paper will be of interest to anybody concerned about ash dieback - especially people who have taken part in the SPLASH project to record the plants, mosses and lichens associated with Ash. The authors' results suggest that ash dieback could drive substantial changes in the ground flora community composition of woodlands currently dominated by ash.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Botanists out in force in Wales

Dyer's Greenweed, Betony & Devil's-bit
Scabious, seen during Welsh AGM
Image: J. Crellin
Across Wales, botanists are out and about this month!

First there was the annual Recording Week at Glynhir, which attracted botanists from as far afield as Hampshire and Leicestershire. Polly (BSBI Welsh Officer) joined the group for a day and you can read her blogpost here.

Then came the Welsh AGM, which ran from 12th - 15th July in Brecknockshire. Many thanks to Sarah Stille, of BSBI's Meetings & Communications Committee, who sent through a few images from the day (click on the image to enlarge it) and to Organiser John Crellin (of Floral Images fame!) who has been in touch with this summary:

Field of Marsh Helleborines
seen during Welsh AGM
Image: S. Stille

Llangorse Lake botanical boat trip
Image: J. Crellin
"On Tuesday, Polly, Martin Stead and Megs Rogers, led by one of my Botany Group (Sue Goodhead) explored Ogof Ffynnon Ddu NNR above Penwyllt and saw Hairy Greenweed, Lily of the Valley etc. 

Meanwhile I led a leisurely walk in the afternoon around the venue. (Progress was very slow - lots to see...)

On Wednesday, a visit to Vicarage Meadows was led by Steph Coates ((BWT), one to Cwm Cadlan was led by Julian Woodman and Andy Jones, while Andy Shaw led the visit to Stanner Rocks.

On Thursday it was Llangorse Lake - boat party led by me (really we just went out on two boats and explored!). The land party walked around the lake looking at Rumex maritimus, abundant Veronica catenata, Juncus compressus and much, much more. 

A visit to Cribyn and Pen y Fan cliffs was led by Tim Rich and Joe Daggett of the National Trust - to see the Attenborough's Hawkweed and more. They returned via Cwm Sere and saw lots there I think.

Lemon-scented Fern
Image: J. Crellin
On Friday I took a small group to Henallt Common near Hay - the only site in Wales for Blysmus compressus - that's where I took the Lemon-scented fern picture. [Ed: download a Species Account for Blysmus compressus from this page.]

But a more objective view will have to come from someone else!"

We may have to wait a little longer for further reports on the Welsh AGM, because there is yet another recording bash about to start in Wales: the Caerdeon Weekend. 

This one is organised by Sarah Stille - more details, including a programme, on the Merioneth page here.

I'll leave you with two photos by Sarah which give a reminder of what botanists do after a long day in the field...

Sunday, 17 July 2016

NPMS meadow survey to feature on BBC Countryfile

Tonight's episode of Countryfile on BBC is all about meadows.

It features a National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) surveyor who has been monitoring plants on presenter Adam Henson's farm.

If you can't catch the programme at 7pm this evening, it will be available soon on iPlayer here.

You can read more about the NPMS here and here is what Pete spotted while out surveying for the NPMS.

Friday, 15 July 2016

A New Flora of Devon: publication due in December

Click on the image to enlarge it and
view the pre-publication offer
Image courtesy of R. Smith 
Botanists in the southwest are looking forward to the publication later this year of A New Flora of Devon

The pre-publication offer has now opened, and will also appear in the September issue of BSBI News, so you have until the 5th of November to order your copy and save a whopping £20 off the publication price: £40 rather than £60 (plus p&p).

The authors of A New Flora of Devon are Roger Smith, Bob Hodgson and Jeremy Ison. 

Roger told me: "A New Flora of Devon was first suggested at the AGM of the Botany Section of the Devonshire Association in 2000 but little was done until 2005 when all three authors had retired from full time work. 

Click on the image to enlarge it and 
view the pre-publication offer
Image courtesy of R. Smith 
"We are most grateful to all the other people who have contributed chapters, reviewed species accounts or helped with proof-reading - rather too many to acknowledge here. 

"We all hope that its publication will excite the extended botanical community as much as it does us".

In his Foreword, Michael Proctor says of A New Flora of Devon"It combines the virtues of its two 20th Century predecessors, and adds some of its own” and "A New Flora of Devon will stand as an archive of the state of the Devon flora in the first quarter of the 21st Century. It will fulfil that function with distinction."

Here's the link again to download the pdf shown on this page if you want to order your copy at the pre-publication price.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Collecting seed for the Millenium Seed Bank

Hypopitys monotropa
Image: P. Stroh
Some of you have been kind enough to say how much you are enjoying the recent updates from BSBI's Science Team, which have been shown in full on the BSBI Science page here with headlines on the News page here

These updates give you an idea of what BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker and BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh have been up to recently.

Pete's most recent update will appear on those pages in summary but it includes an interesting offer so here it is in full: 

Pete says "As a break from writing, catching up on emails, attending meetings, doing the occasional bit of square bashing, etc., I made time last week to target the collection of seed for Kew as a part of their Millennium Seed Bank project. 

Luzula pilosa
Image courtesy of John Crellin/Floral Images
"The BSBI have been tasked with gathering samples of seed for a select list of species, and I sought out Hairy Wood-rush (Luzula pilosa) and Yellow Bird's-nest (Hypopitys monotropa) as there are recent records for both relatively close to my home.

"The job isn't quite as easy as it sounds, as you have to first find the target species, often easiest when in flower, and then return at a later date when you think the seed will be ripe. This involves not only relocating the plants, but also hoping that the fruits have not been eaten in the intervening weeks or months (or blown away in the wind - Spotted Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris maculata) is another one I plan to collect later this week). 

Luzula pilosa in close-up
Image courtesy of John Crellin/Floral Images
"Despite heavy deer browsing I managed to find enough seed of Luzula pilosa, and then moved on to the Hypopitys. 

"I find this plant infuriatingly difficult to locate, but after mentally throwing in the towel after an hour of searching in a nearby beech woodland, I then immediately stumbled across 30+ spikes. The seeds won't be ripe for a good couple of weeks yet, but I will certainly remember the location. 

"Collecting seed for the Millenium Seed Bank is very rewarding, and we are looking for folk to help. As the work is funded by Kew we can offer to pay for fuel. 

If you are interested in being involved, please contact BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker for more info."

Friday, 8 July 2016

Botanical recording in Dingwall

Kirsty, Fay, Brian & Maud, Dingwall shore
Image: M. Dean 
Mary Dean has been in touch to tell us about last weekend's joint BSS /BSBI field meeting at Dingwall. Over to Mary:

"On 2nd July 2016 Brian Ballinger, County Recorder for Easter Ross, assisted by Mary Dean, ran a joint BSS / BSBI meeting at Dingwall. The two aims of the recording meeting were to update records for BSBI and also contribute to the BSS Urban Flora project.

"We were joined by four keen botanists and started off in Silver Jubilee Wood, a narrow strip of woodland within the town. We spent most of the morning in the wood, identifying a number of woodland species such as Enchanter’s-nightshade (Circaea lutetiana), Wood Avens (Geum urbanum), Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) and an impressive specimen of Common Figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) (see photo below).  

Maud & Kirsty with the impressive Figwort!
Image: M. Dean
"The flora was surprisingly diverse for a town wood, yielding three species of orchid: Bird’s-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata) and Common Spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).

"Fungi expert Bruce Ing showed us Burgundydrop Bonnet (Mycena haematopus), a small reddish fungus that ‘bleeds’ when its stalk is broken. Although BSBI does not include fungi records, the record was useful for the BSS project which includes bryophytes and fungi.

"On the route to the park for lunch we recorded some typical urban species and the less common Mossy Stonecrop (Crassula tillaea), growing abundantly on the gravelly path. The weather held as we lunched at a picnic table in the park.

Bruce Ing (centre) shows the group
Burgundydrop Bonnet
Image: M. Dean
"In the afternoon we followed the path along the banks of the River Peffery, stopping to explore an area of waste ground. Here we recorded our fourth orchid species, Northern Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella), a good number of species for an urban setting. 

"We continued along the path to reach the shore where we found both Eelgrass (Zostera marina) and Dwarf Eelgrass (Z. noltei) before returning along the opposite riverbank. A most enjoyable day and plenty of sharing of knowledge".

Brian, Fay & Maud, Dingwall shore
Image: M. Dean 
Many thanks to Mary for this report. If it has whetted your appetite, check out the list of field meetings here - some will be fully-booked but some still have spaces - contact the organiser to enquire. 

Or check out your local botany group and see what field meetings they are planning. 

Beginners are welcome on our field meetings, although a specialist training or recording meeting is probably not the best place to start! Look out for meetings marked 'General' - they're a great way to dip a toe in the water and see if you want to get involved in botany!