Sunday 22 September 2013

BSBI Irish AGM, Killarney, September 2013. 

Baldellia ranunculoides ssp. repens
Image: I. Denholm
Last weekend saw the first Irish AGM to take place since the society decided to move towards its new name, the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland. 

Ian Denholm said "the name change is essentially to put us on a stronger footing, legally and financially, but it also flags up the important contribution that our Irish members make to the society."

There is a flyer going out any day now inside the new issue of BSBI News - this will tell you everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about the change of governance and improvements to our corporate structure. 
Botanists at Torc Waterfall, Irish AGM 2013
Image: I. Denholm
But I know you want to hear about the Irish meeting and the plants they saw! Ian told me "This year's AGM for the Irish branch of BSBI took place at Knockreer House, set amid woodland near the entrance to Killarney National Park. The day of the AGM coincided with great weather and terrific views of the mountains close to the Killarney lakes and further afield. 

"As well as official business, there were presentations on Irish orchids [by Ian himself], plant diversity hotspots [Aiden Walsh] and upland habitats [Rory Hudd]. The following day was scheduled for visits to field sites close to Killarney. The less clement weather was offset by finding great plants such as the rare sedge hybrid Carex x boenninghausiana (C. paniculata x C. remota)". I pointed out to Ian that his photo (below) is a little underwhelming, but he retorted "This is a pretty cool hybrid with a great name and the sessile spikelets characteristic of C. remota are replaced by semi-paniculate ones!" 

Carex x boenninghausiana near Killarney
Image: I. Denholm
Ok, Ian, let's call it a semi-cool sedge hybrid and drool instead over the more photogenic  Baldellia ranunculoides ssp. repens  which you captured (top of page) "growing on the gravelly shore of Lough Leane, just south of Killarney". 

Check the Distribution database to understand why Ian said that "seeing this rare [according to Stace 3] species was a highlight of the brief but extremely enjoyable field visits held in conjunction with the Irish AGM". 

Ian also sent the image (above left) of the Irish botanists at Torc Waterfall - a beautiful location among the fabulous Killarney Lakes (left), but it's hard to forget horror stories of visiting Victorian botanists who denuded sites like this and drove the Killarney Fern close to local extinction. 

Fortunately, the fashion for such excess has died out and botanists nowadays know to sample with conservation in mind. I'm sure our BSBI botanists headed home bearing only photographs, happy memories and a lingering hangover from possibly the best Guiness in all Ireland.   

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