Friday, 21 August 2015

Viola mini-Handbook: progress report

Viola tricolor at Silloth, Cunbria
Image: M. Porter
Good to hear from Mike Porter about progress towards another addition to the series of BSBI Handbooks. Mike has been working hard on his Viola mini-handbook for the past few years and sends this short report:

"We had our editor, Chris Boon, staying with us a week or two back and he and I went through the editing so far; the introduction and main accounts are just about finished, apart from the difficult Viola tricolor which Michael Foley is finishing off at the moment. Sarah Holme is doing the final drawings and I'm adding some distribution notes for hybrids. We're also working on putting together the best photos we can manage and are aiming for publication before next season".

Mike is doing a great job working on the Viola mini-handbook alongside all the other botanical activities in which he is involved. He is Editor of Plant Records for New Journal of Botany, is heavily involved with the Cumbria Botany Group and is one of BSBI's 108 expert Referees, specialising in sedges, and running workshops on this challenging group of plants. 

One of the photographs in the new Viola Handbook
Image: M. Porter
Mike said "I'm finding that sedges are getting in the way of flat-out Viola work - I've never had so many to determine! Don't know why. I do enjoy looking at sedges for determination - I'm certainly not moaning at receiving so many specimens and being asked to comment on them, far from it, but, especially when there is the possibility of hybridity, it can be very time-consuming. I do tend to get engrossed, to the detriment of other responsibilities - both botanical and domestic!"

BSBI's volunteer Referees, such as Mike, do an amazing job supporting our members. If you'd like to consult one of our Referees, you will need to be a BSBI member and then you can start sending off specimens for checking. The BSBI Yearbook (sent out to all our members on joining and updated once a year) has full contact details and don't forget there are also two Referees who support beginner botanists getting to grips with plant ID.