Saturday, 28 June 2014

BSBI members busy in Cambridgeshire

Alan Leslie studying Orobanche
Image: M. Frisch. 
BSBI members in Cambridgeshire have been busy over the last few months. Monica Frisch sends us this report:

"We enjoyed two Cambridge Flora Group excursions to Eversden on 31st May and to the Kennett area on 12th June. The following two days, 13th and 14th June, several BSBI members had displays at the Cambridge Natural History Society's 95th Conversazione, its Annual Exhibition.

"Many BSBI members are active with Cambridge Natural History Society which also organises regular surveys and excursions, with talks between October and April.

Trifolium resupinatum at Kennett
Image: M. Frisch
"We had a glorious day at Eversden, confirming the continued existence of Danewort Sambucus ebulus, which may be one listed by Relhan (1802), and refinding the Small-flowered Sweet-briar Rosa micrantha seen here by Chris Preston and Derek Wells in 1997. We found a fine patch of Knapweed Broomrape Orobanche elatior and, in a corner of a field missed by the herbicides, Shepherd's Needle Scandix pecten-veneris.

"At Kennett we spent most of the time in the old sandpits now much altered and used by Wild Tracks Offroad Activity Park. We didn't find as many of the Breckland sandy soil specialities as expected, though Alan Leslie knew where to find the Smooth Cat's-ear Hypochaeris glabra and Bur Medick Medicago minima


Jon Shanklin's exhibit at the Conversazione:
 grasses, posters, BSBI News & BSBI bookmarks!
Image: M. Frisch
"What we did find were quite a lot of aliens, the most surprising of which was Reversed Clover Trifolium resupinatum. We also walked around some fields at Dane Hill Farm, where we refound and admired some large and very ancient Black Poplars Populus nigra and a field margin with several species of Goosefoot. As well as the common Fat-hen Chenopodium album there was C. ficifolium, C. hybridum, C. murale and C. polyspermum enabling the differences to be clearly seen.

"Jonathan Shanklin had prepared a poster about the Cambridge Flora Group for the Cambridge Natural History Society's 95th Conversazione, as well as putting up displays of his own about liverworts in Cambridgeshire and about the lawn outside the Department of Zoology, where the Conversazione is held. The lawn is now in the middle of a building site so it is not possible to see which have survived, or indeed what new species have appeared since.

Dr Mark Hill and Dr Chris Preston:
 rare pic of 2 celebrated biological recorders
Image: M. Frisch 
"Mark Hill and Chris Preston also had a display about Cambridgeshire mosses, with microscopes for examining specimens, which proved very popular with visitors. 

Monica Frisch put up her photos of Botanising in Cambridgeshire, first seen at the BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting in November 2013, augmented by some pictures from this year's excursions. She and her friend Meg Clarke also had a display about Hayley Wood, an ancient woodland which they have been visiting regularly for the last five years. Plants also featured in several other displays.

Many thanks to Monica for this report. Very envious of the nice plants you've seen and the vibrant botanical community in Cambridgeshire. If your county doesn't yet have a local botany group, it's easy to set one up and you could soon be seeing lovely plants in lovely places in the company of lovely botanists. And arranging your first Conversazione!