Friday, 7 September 2018

Hunting urban plants in Strathpeffer

Recording urban wall plants
Image: M. Dean
You'll be well aware that BSBI botanists have been out recording this year in the run-up to Atlas 2020 but did you know that our members also contribute plant records to other projects? There's the National Plant Monitoring Scheme of course, in which BSBI is a partner. You can find out more about what NPMS surveyors have been recording this year in the latest NPMS newsletter which has just been published. 

But maybe you weren't aware that BSBI members in Scotland have also been contributing to projects run by the Botanical Society of Scotland (BSS), such as the Urban Flora of Scotland project.

Lancashire-based botanist Mary Dean has been in touch to tell me about the field meeting  in late June which she co-led with Brian Ballinger, County Recorder for Easter Ross. The meeting was a joint BSBI/ BSS meeting and it was held in Strathpeffer, an attractive and popular small spa town. As well as recording for Atlas 2020, the plan was to record for the Urban Flora Project. 

Recording in a dried-up lochan
Image: M. Dean
So they ventured into the lochs and woodland outside the town to try and update records for Corallorhiza trifida (Coralroot Orchid) and Pyrola and Orthilia species (Wintergreens). They also hunted in the town itself for urban species that had been recorded in the past, such as Thalictrum minus (Lesser Meadow-rue), Dactylorhiza maculata (Heath Spotted-orchid) and various neophytes.

The final species list hasn't been published yet but highlights will appear in the next BSBI Yearbook (which is sent out to all BSBI members) and in Brian's annual report on the Easter Ross webpage, alongside useful local resources such as a Rare Plant Register, a list of plants on walls in Easter Ross, a list of local epiphytes, a Graveyard Flora of the county and a Flora of Far North Railway Stations.