Tuesday 29 April 2014

BSBI Taraxacophiles at Treborth

Prof Richards and dandelions
Image: M. Lynes
Reports are coming in from this weekend's Dandelion Recording and Training Weekend, held at Treborth Botanic Garden and led by Prof John Richards, BSBI's Taraxacum Referee, and Paul Green, one of two BSBI Welsh Officers

Tim Rich and Robert O'Connor were at the workshop and have posted some photos on the BSBI Facebook page here. Tim reports that the grand total was: 29 species new to Anglesey vc52 and "at least 30" new to Caernarvonshire vc49.  

Tim also says that when Prof Richards saw Taraxacum richardsianum, the dandelion named after him, at Newborough Warren, he didn't recognise it immediately, much to the amusement of all present! 

Taraxacum palustre
Image: G. Quartly-Bishop
Tim is the author of several BSBI Handbooks, including on Sorbus and Hieracium. He has also published several times in New Journal of Botany. His paper (co-authored) in the current issue describes six new species of Sorbus in Britain, two hybrids and a new subgenus.

Tim Rich demonstrating how to press dandelions
Image: M. Lynes
Gail Quartly-Bishop also took some great images over the weekend of the dandelions identified and the recorders out in the field. 

She was very active on Twitter, telling everybody how helpful and enjoyable BSBI workshops are; one image was captioned "One of literally dozens of new vice county records for Taraxacum collected today with @BSBIbotany. Amazing day out!"

Gail says that playing fields, and a meadow on an industrial estate near Bangor, were surveyed and the latter site was where the 30 types of dandelion were found! 

Mark Lynes took a break from his work on the Alchemilla Handbook to attend this workshop. He obviously enjoyed it, so I asked if he was going to forsake Alchemillas for Dandelions. But he said :
No but it's got me thinking about names for new Alchemilla taxa to be described. Brain food!

Taraxacum oblongatum
Image: G. Quartly-Bishop
John Crellin, County Recorder for Brecknockshire, was also at the Workshop and Blogged about it here. He has also very kindly sent us the link to his photo album from the day - click here

Congratulations to BSBI Welsh Officers Polly and Paul for organising such a successful event. And I bet Nigel Brown and the team at Treborth, who hosted the workshop, made everybody really welcome. Mark tweeted that chocolate biscuits were on offer. Do we detect the hand of the excellent Friends of Treborth, who made our visit after the AGM last summer such a pleasure? Tea and biscuits to quieten even the hungriest botanist. See, you are well looked after at a BSBI Workshop! 

There are a few other specialist training sessions in our 2014 programme: brambles, grasses, sedges and ferns. I'm not sure if they are all fully booked, but even if they are, it's worth emailing the organisers and asking to be put on the reserve list.

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