Thursday 29 May 2014

"Would we like to see the Oysterplant?"

Oysterplant in Shetland
Image: I. Denholm
Some photos today of a plant that few of us ever get to see, more's the pity. The lovely Oysterplant Mertensia maritima also has a special relevance for BSBI. 

Celebrity alert: I am about to name-drop and I will be doing it on a grand scale! 

BSBI's patron until her sad death in 2002, at the fabulous age of 102, was HM the Queen Mother who - you may not be aware of this - was actually a keen plant-lover and knew her stuff, as this note in an old copy of BSBI News shows. Just take a look at page 9! 

Oysterplant on Orkney: botanists on hands & knees.
Image: I. Denholm
After receiving BSBI members at the Castle of Mey, the Queen Mother apparently asked the botanists "Would we like to see the Oysterplant on the shore?" and promptly led the party down to admire the plant with her. And she knew exactly where it grew.

These days, both our President Ian Denholm and Hon Gen Sec Lynne Farrell (BSBI royalty!) have recorded the plant in their botanical peregrinations, Lynne in the Western Isles, and Ian on Shetland and on Orkney. Thanks to them both for kindly sharing these images with us. 

Oysterplant on Lunga, off the coast of Mull
Image: L. Farrell
You can read more about Lynne's Hebridean botanising here, and Ian's orchid-hunting expeditions here

Or click here and here to find out more about Mertensia maritima and see where it has been recorded in Britain & Ireland.

And don't forget, you can view back-copies of BSBI News in our archive here. They start with Issue 1 in 1972 and go right through to the end of 2012. A few design changes over the years, and if you want to see the most recent issues, well I'm afraid you will just have to join BSBI! But back-copies of BSBI News are an absolute treasure-trove of little botanical gems, like the story of the Queen Mum, the botanists and the Oysterplant.

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