Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Black Poplars at the BSBI Exhibition Meeting

Two mature male Black Poplar trees
beside the Cam at Fen Ditton
Image: Roger Horton
Bookings are flooding in for BSBI's Annual Exhibition Meeting (AEM): to give you a taste of what we can look forward to this year, we've asked exhibitors to tell us what they will be offering at the Natural History Museum on 25th November. 

Leif Bersweden has already told us about his Orchid Hunter exhibit and now Roger Horton, a regular AEM exhibitor, tells us about his exhibit on Black Poplars.

Over to Roger:

Where are they now? Refinding Black Poplars in the NatHistCam area.

"The Cambridge Natural History Society project 'NatHistCam' aims to create a snapshot of the flora and fauna of Cambridge during 2017-2019 within an area 88km square around the city. 

NatHistCam project area
Image: Mark Hill
"A publicly-accessible database is being maintained by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre (CPERC) so that experts and novices alike may submit their findings and watch the project's progress. 

"The native Black Poplar (Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia) sometimes called "England's rarest tree" has been frequently recorded in and around the city. 

"Numbers are in decline, however, because of urban development, storm damage, and lack of natural regeneration. 

"NatHistCam will provide an opportunity to re-examine the tree's survival, and survey recent planting.

"Mature examples of this poplar, most common beside rivers, can be identified by their rounded crown and burred trunk which often leans and forks. Branches are usually down-curved, petioles and tips of young shoots pubescent. 

A Black Poplar in a
development area next to a
fastigiate Lombardy Poplar
Image: Roger Horton

"Documented old trees, if still standing, should be relatively easy to locate, but young trees, especially in areas of replanting, or those subject to redevelopment, may be difficult to distinguish from more common hybrids. 

"The BSBI Populus Plant Crib provides a useful starting point, and BSBI Handbook No. 4: Willows and Poplars (1984), giving greater detail, is still available. 

"For serious botanists Stace 3 (New Flora of the British Isles) gives extensive notes on species within the genus, as well as the distinguishing features of hybrids.

"The poster presentation will make use of links in the form of QR codes (Quick Response: 2-dimensional barcodes). Readers with smart phones instead of having to write down URLs will be able to scan the code and immediately open a web page in the phone's browser, thus leading to full details of the NatHistCam project. Come prepared!"

The image below shows the QR code for the NatHistCam webpage.

If you want to see Roger's poster on Black Poplars - and the many other delights we have lined up for you at this year's Exhibition Meeting - head over here and book. 

It's completely free and you don't even have to be a BSBI member - although it's a great way to find out more about BSBI

You will be able to join on the day if you want to (Membership Secretary Gwynn Ellis will be there to receive your payment and completed membership form) and then you can start enjoying all the benefits of membership

Gwynn tells me that more than 50 people joined BSBI in October so we must be doing something right!