Saturday, 23 August 2014

Watch out for strange Bindweeds!

Paul  recording on Lewis, August 2014
Image: L. Marsh
Paul Smith, County Recorder for the Outer Hebrides, just can't stop recording interesting plants. 

Freshly home in South Wales, following three weeks of intensive recording across the hills and bogs of the isle of Lewis, Paul nipped out the other day to see what he could find in his local area.

That's a good way of coping with the back-home-after-fieldwork-blues! 

Only last week, Paul was leaping from tussock to tussock and climbing crags, hurling his grapnel into remote lochans to see which aquatic plants he could fish out and take back for Claudia Ferguson-Smyth to look at, peering into saltmarshes and examining the tops of drystone walls to see if he could find an interesting Hieracium (Hawkweed). 


Margaret, Paul & Mary spot something interesting.
Image: L. Marsh
Just picture the poor posties, lugging heavy bags to the homes of BSBI Referees for aquatic plants and Hawkweeds, bearing Paul's specimens for checking. 

He really keeps the BSBI Referees busy every summer! Fortunately, we have 105 of them, covering 180 difficult plants/groups, and being able to consult them and send them stuff is one of the main perks of being a BSBI member. There are also two referees just for beginners.

But now Paul is home again in South Wales, and has found an interesting plant in Gelligaer cemetery at grid ref ST135970, while recording a tetrad in VC41.  

It's a Bindweed, but not quite the usual one that you see in hedgerows. I imagine that Paul used Sell & Murrell - the "bible" for infraspecific taxa - to go that bit further in his identification.

He got this one to Calystegia silvatica var quinquepartita. 

Calystegia silvatica var. quinquepartita
Image: P. Smith
Paul sent me the photo on the left and said "I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing you want to blog (though it is pretty), but it could be a reminder to folks to look out for infraspecifics in Calystegia and more widely." 

Well said, and that's why it's exactly what we want for this News & Views blog.

If you are spotting interesting plants, please send me a pic and a comment, and I can post them here!