Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Ireland is buzzing with active young botanists!

Mairead, Maria & Oisin talk plants, John Faulkner
(foreground) & Donncha Madden photograph them.
Binevenagh, BSBI Summer Meeting 2015.
Image: L. Marsh
If you don't live or work in Ireland, you may not look at the BSBI Ireland page very often and even if you do, you might think that there won't be anything in the Irish VC Recorders Newsletter for you. But you'd be missing out on reading about how vibrant BSBI is in Ireland right now, thanks in large part to the amazing BSBI Ireland Officer, Maria Long.

Maria is giving a talk about BSBI this Saturday evening in Butlerstown, Co. Cork called 'How do we know where our wild plants are?' She'll be telling her audience - from "those simply interested to hear more, to seasoned natural history buffs" - about BSBI: who we are, what we do, "why it's important" and how everyone can get involved.


Flowers recorded during New Year Plant
Hunt, Glengarriff Woods NR, W. Cork.
Image courtesy of Glengarriff Woods NR.
I expect that Clare from Glengarriff Woods NR will be hoping to make it to Maria's talk. She was behind the excellent total of plant records collected by members of the public at Glengarriff during the New Year Plant Hunt 2015, and readers of BSBI News will have seen the fabulous composite image she put together of all the plants in flower at Glengarriff at New Year. 

The latest issue of the Irish VC Recorders' Newsletter announces that Clare will be the new County Recorder for West Cork (H3) and I'm sure she'll make a great contribution to botany in the south-west of Ireland.

In the Newsletter, Maria reports on the progress so far of the Irish Species Project, including some great work by Phoebe O'Brien who has been visiting sites for Cyperus sedge Carex pseudocyperus with Hannah Mulcahy and has worked with the National Biodiversity Data Centre to prepare these draft accounts for Cyperus sedge and Toothwort.


Maria and John K. admire a rush at the Umbra.
BSBI Summer Meeting 2015
Image: L. Marsh
Maria also tells us about some of the many groups of botanists out recording for Atlas 2020 across Ireland, such as the BSBI Dublin local group, and the six BSBI field meetings held across Ireland in May and June. And of course she mentions the fabulous BSBI Summer Meeting!

New plant finds (and rediscoveries) in Ireland include:
Round-leaved wintergreen Pyrola rotundifolia in Cavan;
Maria at Binevenagh with Ian Denholm (left)
& Con Breen, BSBI Summer Meeting 2015
Image: L. Marsh


Narrow-leaved helleborine  Cephalanthera longifolia recorded in East Galway by a group led by Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington; and
59 spikes of Moonwort Botrychium lunaria found by James and Donna Rainey in Derry.

Maria tells us that there is a new webpage (and two new VCRs) for Laoisflags up Oisin Duffy's excellent blog and his superb photography, and reports on younger members like Oisin, Mairead and Alexis becoming either joint County Recorders or Recorders-in-training. 

Finally, she gives Ciaran Byrne, a young botanist who recently joined BSBI, the chance to share his pleasure in finding "a large stand of Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. montanum in what is a new location for Cuilaphaca Wood. Our find gave me a thrill that is difficult to understand by many but is hopefully the first of many exciting finds."