Monday, 30 December 2013

BSBI New Year's Plant Hunt: half-time scores. 

Some of the VC55 recording team
Image: L. Marsh
Results are in from nine counties so far - interest in recording what is in flower right now has been unprecedented this year! 

Botanists were out on the 28th of December, with Plant Hunt Co-ordinator Tim Rich, Dawn Nelson and Ceri Gait finding 52 species in flower at Pagham, Sussex, including some nice finds like Erodium moschatum. Tim posted details on Facebook as he went, and other counties have followed suit - records from Livingston VC 84 to Guernsey. 

The best place to see what they all found is here. Some nice photos - and if people send me pix I can post them here, too! 



Geranium cf rotundifolium
Image: L. Marsh
More people were out yesterday - 31 species recorded in Cornwall and 17 in the Chilterns, records in from Bedfordshire VC30 and Midlothian VC83. Dawn Nelson was out recording again, this time on Hayling Island VC11 and found an amazing 39 species single-handed. And 10 recorders including Brian Laney (VC32) and me (based in VC55) recorded 63 species in the centre of Leicester, including a possible new county recordGeranium rotundifolium.

This is not in the latest vice-county checklist but BSBI President Ian Denholm says "I think G. rotundifolium is spreading - it is turning up as a pavement weed in Herts, along with Stellaria pallida and (amazingly) Saxifraga tridactylites." With extra species still coming in from around the county, the VC55 running total has reached 68 so far. 


Rashmi and Heracleum sphondylium
Near National Space Centre, Leicester
Image: L. Marsh
Other groups (like Warwickshire VC38) are due to go out recording today and botanists on Orkney and Uist, in Tayside, Suffolk and in Ireland have all been using Facebook to tell each other about the Plant Hunt. Botanists are also sending in photos via Twitter - Sophie Leguil found Solanum nigrum growing by the Thames, and she also found a mystery plant - photo here.  

I hear that Sarah Whild - who, along with Tim Rich, started the NYD Plant Hunt in January 2012 - is taking a team out in Shropshire on New Year's Day. So watch this space for even more records of which wild or naturalised plants are in flower just now. Or follow the action as it happens on BSBI's Twitter feed or Facebook page. 

Or... it's not too late for you to get out there yourself and join the BSBI New Year's Plant Hunt!