Monday 7 December 2020

British & Irish Botany: December issue published

We’ve just published the latest issue of British & Irish Botany – it’s the fourth issue of our second volume and the final one for 2020. Unlike the previous issue, we don’t have any flying mousetail ferns, new to Europe, this time around (sorry!) but there are six fascinating papers from across Britain and Ireland for you to enjoy.

Over to Editor Ian Denholm to tell you about the first two papers:

Inflorescences of 3 varieties of Juncus effusus. Images: R. Stace
Clive Stace provides an authoritative review of the status in the British Isles of hybrids between five native and closely-related species of rush (Hard, Soft, Compact, Baltic and Thread). As well as outlining broad morphological features he describes aspects of stem anatomy that may be required for a confirmatory diagnosis.

Mark Hill, Chris Preston and Jonathan Shanklin utilise statistical tools to assign plant species in Cambridgeshire to ‘clusters’ representing ecological and/or geographical features. The analysis is based on over 300,000 county records accumulated for BSBI’s Atlas 2020 project and offers a preview of how the new Atlas 2020 datasets can be exploited for further insights into the structure of the British and Irish flora”.

Check out also Jonathan’s poster about Cambridgeshire’s protected road verges, which he exhibited at the BSBI Exhibition Meeting. Ian and I would also like to thank Jonathan for his contribution as a member of the British & Irish Botany editorial team and to congratulate him on the recent honour paid to him: a glacier in Antarctica has been named after Jonathan in recognition of his contribution to science as a co-discoverer of the hole in the ozone layer.

The formal gardens at Worsley New Hall

One for all ecologists, horticulturists and fans of archaeophytes next: Mick Crawley, Clive’s co-author on the New Naturalist ‘Alien Plants’ book, has contributed this paper about Large-flowered Hemp-nettle Galeopsis speciosa, a baseline flora for the site of the new RHS garden at Worsley New Hall in Salford and the resulting description of a new Galeopsis speciosa Open Vegetation plant community. Four wildflower seedmixes were used at the site and if this is a subject that interests you, be sure to check out both this opinion piece by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker and a video of the panel discussion held at the recent BSBI Exhibition Meeting, when the pros and cons of seedmixes were debated.  

Kerry Lily. Image: R. Hodd
Two papers from the Republic of Ireland: first Darach Lupton and Micheline Sheehy Skeffington review the ecology and status of the Kerry Lily Simethis mattiazzi in Ireland and then Marcus Collier and Lindsay Hollingsworth from Trinity College, Dublin, discuss the ground flora of field boundary dry stone walls in The Burren in the west of Ireland.

Finally, we have a paper from Scotland: Michael Braithwaite, past President of BSBI, former County Recorder for Berwickshire and author of various publications about botany in the Scottish Borders, looks at plant migration history in a fascinating paper called Patrolling the Scottish Border. Be sure also to check out Michael’s recent exhibit – a 25-page poster - at the BSBI Exhibition Meeting - called ‘Tetrad distributions for some selected pairs of British species’, it provides a nice complement to his paper in British & Irish Botany. 

View the whole issue here - it's free, it's Open Access, and it's just waiting for you to sit back and enjoy a jolly good read! 

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