Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Botanising on Shetland 3: Perring-Farrell reunion

Emma, Lynne and Martha on Yell
Image: I. Denholm
A nice postscript to the BSBI Shetland Recording Week from BSBI President Ian Denholm:

"The primary aim of the recent BSBI visit to Shetland, like a lot of our current field meetings, was to record for the Atlas 2020 project, building on the foundations laid by the pioneering Atlas of the British Flora published by Franklin Perring and Max Walters in 1962. 

"It was therefore fitting that the BSBI team should be joined briefly by Franklin’s daughter Emma and grand-daughter Martha, who live on mainland Shetland. Emma and Martha joined Lynne Farrell (co-author with Franklin of the original British Red Data Book) and Ian Denholm to record a square on the southwest coast of Yell, which yielded interesting plants including the attractive Sheep’s-bit (Jasione montana). 

Jasione montana on Yell
Image: I. Denholm
"Emma pointed out that Shetlanders refer to this species as ‘Lucky Minnie’s buttons’. According to Shetland folklore, Lucky Minnie was an old hag who lived in a cottage by a burn and terrorised the local children. Her name also lives on in the local name for bog cotton-grass (Eriophorum): ‘ Lucky Minnie’s oo' (try googling it – the spelling is correct but the derivation seems obscure)".

Many thanks to Ian for this, You can find out more about the influence of BSBI's 1962 Atlas of the British Flora in this paper for New Journal of Botany by Chris Preston. Our maps and data page and Atlas 2020 page explain the why and how of BSBI's mapping projects and our Atlas recording. For details of all our national field meetings, whether aimed at recording, training or general interest, this is the page you want.