Wednesday, 30 November 2016

BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting: Exhibit Number One

Monica's exhibit at the AEM
Image: R. Horton
There were 38 exhibits on display at Saturday's BSBI Annual Exhbibition Meeting and here we present the first. Over to Monica Frisch to tell us about her exhibit:

"I didn't think I had time to put together a display for the AEM this year but then I remembered an idea I'd had for a photoguide to basal rosettes. Some species of plants, such as many of the thistles, have very obvious and often distinctive basal rosettes, but these are rarely illustrated in the field guides. So I thought I should photograph them and perhaps build up a collection showing typical rosettes of common plants. 

"About a week before the AEM I sat down at my computer and started going through my photos of plants. The result was a small display showing basal rosettes of four species of thistle: Stemless Thistle Cirsium  acaule, Woolly Thistle C. eriophorum, Marsh Thistle C. palustre and Spear Thistle C. vulgare. Then I added some notes comparing the last three, and put them out on a table at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

I'd also got a photo of a Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.) and Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) and some notes on other plants with basal rosettes – most of the British species of Plantain, some crucifers, the Primulas – but I didn't have space to display them.


Stemless Thistle aka Picnickers' Nightmare!
Image courtesy of J. Crellin/Floral Images
http://www.floralimages.co.uk/
page.php?taxon=cirsium_acaule,1
My display generated some interest so now I'm thinking about how to take further 'Monica's guide to basal rosettes'. Obviously I need more photos – it was an omission not to include one of the commonest thistles, Creeping Thistle , Cirsium arvense, but I didn't have any photos, and C. vulgare has completely different first year rosettes. 

Perhaps I could see if the Field Studies Council would like to publish a fold-out guide to basal rosettes. But should I limit it to thistles? Or to Asteraceae? But I expect I'll be busy taking more photos and perhaps there'll be a more comprehensive display for next year's AEM. Thanks to everyone who commented on my display and made suggestions".

Many thanks to Monica for telling us about her exhibit - it will be interesting to see how 'Monica's guide to basal rosettes' develops. In the meantime, you can download the pdf here showing images of rosettes of Marsh, Woolly and Spear Thistles, and a table showing how to separate these three species.