Monday 16 December 2013

The value of local site Floras. 

There are lots of county Floras and Rare Plant Registers around - which is great - but a Flora covering a smaller area can also be very useful. John Crellin, VC Recorder for Brecknockshire, emailed last week to tell us about a local Flora he helped out with. John did some surveying and "wrote a page on plants" for The Paramor Orchard: an illustrated flora

The orchard is part of the Marcher Apple Network which aims to revive old apple and pear varieties in the Southern Marches. The authors of the Flora are Margaret A.V. Gill (illustrator), Sheila Leitch and John, who told me "The authors would like a copy to go to the BSBI".

I know how much Kevin Walker, our Head of Research & Development, values local Floras, so a copy of The Paramor Orchard is now en route to Kevin at his Harrogate office. And when I asked Kevin what he would be doing with it, he explained "Having a copy of local Floras is vital for our work within BSBI. Although the Big Database provides us with the records, it is often the extra information that a Flora provides that helps to inform decisions that underlie research, such as the production of the new England Red List".

One of the plates in The Paramor Orchard. 
I asked Kevin for a good example of a local Flora that had proved particularly useful, and why. 

He said "The Flora of the Black Country - completely new information is presented about the ecology (regeneration, habitats etc.) of alien species that have been scarcely covered in previous works. 

"This is proving vital in a new compilation of traits we are doing for alien species (Alienatt). So when recorders send us complementary copies, they can be assured that they are contributing to BSBI research". 

So please - send us your local Floras! As books or leaflets, as pdfs, on parchment... if you've written one, used one or contributed to one, we'd like to see it! And it's another great way to make a contribution to BSBI research.

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