Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Brian's Botanical Finds: Part One

Some botanists just have a knack of spotting rare plants in the field - not to mention the roadside, petrol station forecourt or anywhere else that a plant may manage to grow. Even when botanising in a large group, there is often one person who keeps finding things before anyone else. Which is great, although you do think, why didn't I see that? Some people just seem to be extra-good at spotting something new and unusual, even if they aren't sure straight away exactly what it is! 

C. oppositifolium
Image: C. Farmer
But in that small group of particularly eagle-eyed botanists, who also have first-rate ID skills, there is one name that is becoming a bit legendary. Brian Laney (VC32) just keeps on refinding species that haven't been seen for over a century

We don't know how he does it, but... he does it.

Brian found "Opposite leaved golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Rare for Northants. I rediscovered the species in Shrine's Wood, an outlying part of Whittlewood Forest on the county boundary with Buckinghamshire. It is the first record from this forest for 116 years."

So here is the first in an occasional series of Brian's Botanical Finds, and a gauntlet thrown down. If you are - or you know - one of those eagle-eyed botanists who have re-discovered a plant in your vice-county which had not been recorded for over a century, please send us the record with a photo and we'll publish it here. Maybe I'm wrong and there are hundreds of Brian Laneys out there re-finding interesting plants. Hard to imagine, but wouldn't it be great for British botany if we had a Brian Laney in every vice-county?