Monday 28 February 2022

British & Irish Botany: issue 4.1 published

Wolffia columbiana in the Gwent Levels
with Lemna gibba, L. minor, L. minuta
 and Spirodela polyrgiza.
Image: R. V. Lansdown 
The latest issue of British & Irish Botany, BSBI's open access, online scientific journal has just been published and there is a distinct watery theme.

National aquatics expert Richard Lansdown, author of BSBI Handbook #11 on Water-starworts, has collaborated with colleagues to produce a paper on two duckweeds new to Britain. Wolffia columbiana was found last year in ditches in the Pevensey Levels in Sussex and later in grazing marsh complexes in Somerset, Kent and on the Gwent Levels, where Wolffia globosa was also discovered. The genus Wolffia famously includes the world's smallest flowering plant so it's perhaps not surprising that these duckweeds aren't the easiest plants to spot.

Limonium recurvum subsp. crigyllensis
on Anglesey: Ivor's paper unpicks
the taxonomic history of some members of
this group of sea-lavenders. 
Image: E.I.S. Rees
We head to the Welsh and Scottish coasts for the next two papers: firstly, Ivor Rees describes a new and distinct subspecies within the Rock Sea-lavender Limonium binervosum aggregate from an Anglesey saltmarsh. This taxon has been known since 2006 but has only now received formal taxonomic recognition. Staying by the coast, Mike Wilcox considers Sea Couch and coastal hybrid couch grasses in Scotland. 

Mike moves inland for his second paper in this issue as he looks at Scentless Mayweed. Mike is well known to News & Views readers because he often reaches out to botanists across Britain and Ireland to ask them to send him plant specimens for closer analysis. If you are one of the many botanists who have responded to Mike's requests, then thank you for your contribution to scientific papers such as the ones in this issue. Please keep up the good work and keep an eye out the next time Mike asks for specimens!

Achenes of three taxa of Triplerospermum:
read Mike's paper to find out how tiny  
differences between these achenes help
identify the species and their hybrids.
Image: M. Wilcox

We also have a paper for the many orchid fans who read British & Irish Botany. David Trudgill has been mining the BSBI Distribution Database to do some analysis on twenty species of orchid recorded in Scotland in recent decades, to answer the question 'are they declining and if so, to what extent'? It turns out the situation isn't as clear-cut as you might have thought... BSBI members can also enjoy a similar paper by David in the latest issue of BSBI News, our membership newsletter. If you aren't already a member, do consider joining us and you'll have online access to every paper ever published in BSBI News, from issue 1 in 1972 right through to the January 2022 issue which contains that paper by David on records of orchids across Britain and Ireland.

For grass aficianados, we also have a paper by Clive Stace on subspecies of Vulpia geniculata. If you are looking at these six papers in this latest issue of British & Irish Botany and thinking, hmm I have some similar observations about a plant in my area, please do consider submitting a draft or just email us for a chat. Editor-in-Chief Ian Denholm and I can soon tell you if it's worth writing your finds up for the journal, or if it would be better to run your draft past John Norton, editor of BSBI News, or there's always the option to publish on this blog. If you have something interesting to say about British and Irish plants, the chances are that your fellow botanists will want to hear about it - it's just a question of choosing the most appropriate place to publish. Don't be shy, drop us a line! And meanwhile, please enjoy the latest issue of British & Irish Botany.

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