Sunday 2 March 2014

Botanical snippets: opportunities for training, celebrating and getting involved.

Mystery plant #1
Image: C. Ferguson-Smyth
Sorry the Blog's been a bit quiet this past week. Between editing copy for the April issue of New Journal of Botany (more on this soon!) and updating the website software (nearly there after a few hiccups, sorry), it's been all go here at BSBI Central. But here are a few snippets that have come in during the past week:

1. A symposium is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Biological Records Centre. David Roy emails "We hope that you will join us in celebrating the rich and inspiring legacy of biological recording in Britain and Ireland. The symposium will review the causes of change in species distributions and consider the opportunities for biological recording which will be presented by scientific and technological developments. 

Mystery plant #2
Image: C. Ferguson-Smyth
"The symposium will be held in Bath from 27th to 29th June 2014 and will be combined with a field visit to Salisbury Plain – see for more details, including how to register. There is no charge for attending the symposium but pre-booking is essential. Early registration is strongly recommended as places are likely to be in high demand".

2. Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer, has been in touch about three workshops on identifying plant families, to be held across Scotland this year. Find out more here.  
Mystery plant #3
Image: C. Ferguson-Smyth

3. Sue Townsend and T&E have found yet another way to support the next generation of botanists and help them as they learn. Sue emails about the Young Darwin initiative – she is "Getting some material together that we can share with BSBI members to demonstrate the support BSBI gives to the course and the good learning outcomes that come from it." She also points out that around halfway through this video there are some images of Sue herself teaching botany to those Young Darwin scholars.

 4. Finally, we have been invited to participate in an event in Wales, to celebrate biodiversity. Every year, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly share the annual Go Wild! event, and this year it is Blaenau Gwent’s turn to host the event, which will take place on the 14th June 2014 at Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar. 

Mystery plant #4
Image: C. Ferguson-Smyth
Go Wild! Organiser Katie Partington asks if BSBI would like to have a stand promoting the society's work and botanical recording in general, and I'm wondering if any local members would like to get involved with this? Katie says "The event is well attended by local wildlife nature conservation organisations and is well known by the general public, with approximately 3000 visitors if the weather is favourable. This year we having a pollinator themed event and we are requesting that attendees try and tailor their displays to fit the theme if possible". 

If you are interested, why not get in touch with me to arrange which BSBI display materials you would like? We have a range of BSBI literature that we can send you for distribution and/or display, and there are also BSBI banners and posters that can be booked now and couriered to you in time for the event. 

The images illustrating this post - four "mystery plants" for you to try and name! - are all by Claudia Ferguson-Smyth, who has been working on a new cover for NJB Volume 4 - we have three issues for you in 2014. Sneak previews to follow as soon as possible :-) 


  1. If I get one right that will be a bonus :)
    1. Pencilled cranesbill
    2. English stonecrop
    3. Bladder campion
    4. Heath spotted orchid

  2. Thanks Ryan - I won't post the correct answers until tomorrow - give others a chance to try and ID these four plants. Or you may want to revise one of your suggestions ;-)
    Any advance on Ryan's four answers?

  3. Hmm, I can't decide between Pencilled or Druce's Crane's-bill for the first? But I reckon Sea Milkwort, Bladder Campion and Heath Spotted-orchid for the others.

  4. 1) Geraniuim but I'm not sure which
    2) Glaux maritima - Sea milkwort
    3) Bladder campion or possibly Sea Campion
    4) Common spotted orchid - Dactylorhiza fuchsii
    (nb. haven't looked them up)

  5. Right, just for the hell of it, I'm going to set off on a slightly different path...

    1) Possibly a Geranium, I suppose, but I'm going to plump for Althaea hirsuta...
    2) Glaux maritima
    3) Silene uniflora (well, there's lonely one, isn't there?)
    4) Dactylorhiza maculata - on strength of the middle lobe of the bottom lip being so much shorter than the lobes on either side

    (Plants are much easier when you see them in their habitat, rooted in the ground...)

    Simon Leach

  6. Any more suggestions, before we post the answers?

  7. Re. plant number (4). Three-one in favour of Heath Spotted-orchid, and I would agree with that, reiterating Simon's comment about the shape of the lobes on the labellum. Also, if you look very carefully, you can just about make out the extremely slender spur.

    Ian Denholm

  8. Re Plant 4: Who better to comment on this orchid than BSBI President and Orchid Co-referee Ian Denholm? Worth waiting for! So, we think our four plants are...
    Plant 1: Pencilled Crane's-bill Geranium versicolor
    Plant 2: Sea Milkwort Glaux maritima
    Plant 3: Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris (scarious bracts separate this from S. uniflora)
    Plant 4: Heath-spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata
    Thanks and congratulations to all of you who joined in this mini-quiz even if you didn't post your thoughts here. Apologies that the only prize is that sense of satisfaction that should be flooding through you about now :-) Well done Ryan, Monica, Lliam and Simon!


Please leave a comment!