Monday 29 June 2015

BSBI Summer Meeting: part four.

Mossy saxifrage Saxifraga hypnoides
Image: O. Duffy
Irish botanist Oisin Duffy has posted two more excellent blogposts about the BSBI Summer Meeting.

His account of our visit to the Umbra is here and his account of our afternoon at Binevenagh, the final fieldtrip of the Summer Meeting, is here.

In his series of four blogposts, Oisin has captured in words and images the places we visited, some of the plants we saw and his personal experience of his first BSBI Annual Summer Meeting. Oisin and Mairead are very active biological recorders and you can see the high quality of Oisin's photographic work on his blog - click on his images to enlarge them.

Spring sandwort Minuartia verna
Image: M. Cruise
Horticulturist Marc Cruise also takes lots of great photographs of native and alien plants and until recently ran the popular Plant ID Quiz on Twitter. Many thanks to Marc and Oisin for allowing me to share their images on this page of some of the plants we saw at Binevenagh.

Marc, Oisin and Mairead, along with young consultants like Sharon, Toby and Donncha, and recent graduates like James, all said how much they enjoyed the Summer Meeting and the chance to spend time in the field with some of Northern Ireland's highly experienced County Recorders like Dave Riley (Co. Londonderry), David McNeill (Antrim), Ian McNeill (Tyrone), Robert Northridge (Fermanagh) and of course John Faulkner (Armagh). 

The County Recorders were all so helpful and welcoming towards younger and/or less experienced botanists. Oisin told me that it was attending a BSBI workshop with Ralph Sheppard, County Recorder for West Donegal, last year that triggered a more serious interest in botany for him and Mairead.

Mossy campion Silene acaulis
Image: O. Duffy
The excellent Maria Long, BSBI's indefatigable Irish Officer, was working hard and buzzing with energy all weekend, and it was a huge pleasure to meet our Chair Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington, Emeritus Senior Lecturer in Botany at the University of Galway
Mountain avens Dryas octopetala
Image: O. Duffy

I had heard so much about Micheline: the glowing reports from her former students, her years of active support for nature conservation in Ireland and of course her inspirational interview with Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

She didn't disappoint, proving as warm and friendly as she is knowledgeable, and a great communicator.    

As is Lynne Farrell, County Recorder for Mid-Ebudes, co-chair of BSBI Meetings & Communications Committee and an alumna of the University of Coleraine. 

We heard about Lynne's Wild Years at Coleraine in her very well-received after-dinner speech, which included the line "and so I had to climb in through my landlady's living-room window after midnight with my boyfriend's trousers in my hand..."  

All in all, a highly memorable Summer Meeting ;-) 

Conference: Cherishing Churchyards

Churchyard Meadow Saxifrage
Image: Dan Wrench
'Caring for God's Acre' has featured on these pages before. 

New Year Plant Hunter and prizewinner Tim Havenith chose greater support for this charity as one of his Botanical Wishes for 2015. 

'Caring for God's Acre' is a non-religious charity which supports the conservation of burial sites of all kinds. 

Their Manager Sue has been in touch to ask me to pass on details of a conference to be held in London on 16th of July.

Churchyard wildflowers
Image: courtesy of Caring for God's Acre

The conference is called 'Beauty in Tranquility: Cherishing Churchyards and Burial Grounds' and you can download the booking details here.

There are several talks and workshops in the programme which may be of interest to botanists.

The images on these pages show how churchyards and burial grounds can be managed for biodiversity.

You can find out more about 'Caring for God's Acre' by visiting their website here

Saturday 27 June 2015

Hybrids Flora: last chance to buy at pre-publication discount price.

A quick reminder that you only have a few more days left if you want to save £19 on the price of the new Hybrid Flora of the British Isles by Stace, Preston & Pearman. From the 1st of July, you will have to pay £45 but until then, a copy can be yours for just £26

Whenever you order, you will also be asked to pay £7 p&p. The Hybrid Flora (as it will undoubtedly become known to its friends!) is a weighty tome in every respect, crammed with information as befits the authors who between them are also responsible for the New Flora of the British Isles and the New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora.

Here's a glimpse of the Hybrid Flora of the British Isles:

Wednesday 24 June 2015

BSBI Summer Meeting: part 3

Botanists at the Umbra
Image: J. Kirk
Here are a few more notes from me about the BSBI Summer Meeting, with some more great images from Oisin Duffy, John Kirk and Marc Cruise. 

I've already told you something about the botanists who made it along to the Summer Meeting and the species we saw at four excellent sites which John F., Robert and the other County Recorders had chosen for the whole party to visit. 

Day 2 fieldtrips to Garry Bog and Whitepark Bay offered visitors a delightful contrast between the wildflowers of a raised bog and those of a dune system. 

Spring Squill at Whitepark Bay
Image: O. Duffy
I would be hard pressed to better the two accounts of these fieldtrips written by Oisin, so I'm not even going to try. Please click on the links to read his excellent posts about the Summer Meeting, with some great photographs. 
Part 1: Garry Bog is here and 
Part 2: Whitepark Bay is here

You can follow blogs by Oisin and 48 other BSBI members by going to the list of Blogs by BSBI members on the right-hand side of this page.

Botanists photographing the flowers on a grassy bank
Image: J. Kirk
It was hard to see how Team Faulkner could top Day 2 but they did, and Day 3 will probably be remembered by all who were there as the highlight of a superb Summer Meeting. 

The visit to the Umbra before lunch and the final fieldtrip to Binevenagh merit blogposts of their own, so keep an eye open for the next posts from me and from Oisin. 

To whet your appetite for the plants we saw, here is Marc Cruise's image of Bird's-nest Orchid. Click on images to enlarge them.

Bird's-nest Orchid
Image: M. Cruise

Tuesday 23 June 2015

More poppies than usual this year?

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas
Image: courtesy of John Crellin
Nice to hear yesterday from Daily Telegraph journalist Camilla Turner who was writing a piece about poppies: are there more of them around than usual this year? Camilla spoke to BSBI President Ian Denholm and two of our County Recorders, Mick Crawley and David Hawker.

Camilla's piece is here so do please take a look and leave a comment if you are noticing significantly more or fewer poppies than usual this year.

An email circulated to all our County Recorders has already raised a few comments. Ann in Surrey and Graham in Co. Down reported seeing fewer poppies than usual this year, but Jon Shanklin sends this comment from Cambs.:

"There are some fields red with poppies in Cambs. VC29.  I was beginning to think it was a special commemoration of the Great War.  I have 138 records of Papaveraceae in 2015, with all eight Papaver keyed in Stace being seen.  Common Poppy P. rhoeas is probably the most common, followed by Opium Poppy P. somniferum".

Update: Daily Mail On-line has also picked up on Camilla's poppy piece and here is what they had to say; I also had a reporter from The Times on the phone earlier, so watch out for the story appearing there too! 

BSBI and FSC help young ecologists polish their Orchid ID skills

Phenotypic Fly Orchid variant
Image: N. Jenkinson
I heard recently via the BSBI Twitter account from Nathan Jenkinson and Lindsay Stronge, who are MSc students at the University of Reading studying Species Identification  and Survey Skills. They both hope to begin careers as ecological consultants.

BSBI funding helped them attend a course on Orchid ID and they were keen to tell everyone how much they were enjoying it and what great plants they were seeing. So I invited them to offer a guest blogpost for News & Views readers and here it is. First of all, we hear from Nathan: 

"On 6th June, we travelled to Juniper Hall FSC centre in Surrey for a course on the orchids of South-East England kindly funded by BSBI. Although we study an MSc in Species Identification, we weren’t familiar with the Orchidaceae family until this season.

"As part of our MSc, we work in an ecological consultancy where we spend a lot of time in potential orchid habitats, so wanted to learn how to identify them. We also wanted to see some British species. There are between 50 and 55 species of British orchid depending on which taxonomic revisions you agree with. Guided by Simon Harrap we saw 12 species (and one hybrid) in flower on the chalk grassland slopes of Box Hill, the wet mire areas of Thursley Common and even on roadside verges".

Juniper Hall FSC centre in Surrey
Image: N. Jenkinson
I asked Nathan what his Species of the Weekend was:

"For me, the best find of the weekend was the Fly Orchid. Simon took us to a small Nature Reserve near Juniper Hall where we found about seven Fly Orchids in an area of immature woodland. I hadn’t seen one before and the intricacy of the flower took me aback. The lip looks like a small wasp’s limbs and wings, and the two other petals form convincing antennae.

"The Fly Orchid seems to grow in small openings in a relatively open canopy. As Simon made clear, this habitat is also ideal for a fungus that the Orchid needs to germinate. It is anyone’s guess how this flower became so harmoniously intertwined with a few species of wasp, but the resulting flower is something to behold".

Now Lindsay offers her account of the weekend and her favourite species:

Bird's-nest Orchid
Image: N. Jenkinson
"The Bird’s Nest Orchid is an unusual plant. It doesn’t photosynthesise and therefore has no need for the chlorophyll that makes most other plants green. It parasitises the roots of trees and is usually found growing under beech trees.

"We found some specimens that were dead and some that were freshly blooming. But to the untrained eye, there wasn’t much difference between them. Simon pointed out that the living plant had a fresher, more succulent texture and that they had yellow pollinia. Orchids do not produce loose pollen; instead, it is all contained in a sack called a pollinium. The entire sack sticks to the pollinating insect.

"There was some debate about what the scent of the Bird’s Nest Orchid resembled – to me they were reminiscent of lilies. Finding this unconventional but beautiful species was the highlight of the weekend for me.

"Simon gave two informative lectures where he explained the complex germination processes of orchids. Their seeds contain no nutrition, so in order to germinate and grow they parasitise soil fungi (often particular species). Ecologists don’t currently understand this area very well, but are using DNA techniques to identify the fungi species involved.

The view from Box Hill
Image: N. Jenkinson
"Simon also discussed the conservation of Orchids in the UK. Some species, such as the Common Spotted Orchid, are relatively widespread throughout the UK, whereas others, such as the Ladies Slipper Orchid, have only one genetically pure individual remaining. 

"Conservationists are trying to germinate and plant individuals to ensure the species persists. Other species in the UK, such as the Lizard Orchid, are at the edge of their climatic tolerance and were probably never here in great numbers.

"We took a lot away from our weekend at Juniper Hall, and better understand a family of plants we knew little about. Simon was an inspiring tutor, and we would highly recommend the course to anyone who wants to learn more about orchids in South-East England. The FSC run the course on an annual basis, so if you’re interested have a look at their website for more details.

"Thanks for taking the time to read about our experience, and again thank you to the BSBI for providing us with this opportunity".

Thanks to Nathan and Lindsay for this report - read more here about how BSBI helps young botanists improve their plant ID skills and there's another example here. If you want to support this or any other aspect of our work, and are not yet a member of BSBI, please take a look here. Anyone wishing to make a donation towards our training, outreach and research programmes and our support system for botanists at all skill levels can find out how on this page.

Monday 22 June 2015

BSBI Summer Meeting: part 2

Marsh Arrow-grass Triglochin palustre
Image: J. Kirk
Images are starting to come in from the BSBI Summer Meeting: many thanks to Oisin, John and Marc for capturing some of those amazing combinations of people, places and plants that are - arguably - unique to a BSBI field meeting. 

And maybe only the Annual Summer Meeting hits the highest note, bringing together as it does botanists from across Britain and Ireland and transporting them seamlessly from one assemblage of beautiful plants to another. 

And then another...

Marsh Violet Viola palustris
Image: M. Cruise
So, on this page you can see just a few of my favourite plants which we enjoyed looking at together in the field. 

On Day 3 we saw Marsh Arrow-grass Triglochin palustre, one of those plants that you need to 'zoom in' for, whether with a camera or with a handlens, to see how pretty its flowers are. Congratulations to John Kirk for capturing the image above of Marsh Arrow-grass looking fabulous! Click on the images on this page to enlarge them.

If you download a copy of the England Red List, you will see that Marsh Arrow-grass is one of those plants that have declined enough in England that they are now categorised under 'Declining widespread taxa assessed as Near Threatened'. Let's hope this lovely little plant continues to thrive in northern Ireland.

On Day 4, a small group of us went recording a few miles south of Coleraine and found Marsh Violet Viola palustris on a bit of heathy wet grassland. Many thanks to Marc Cruise for the image on the right. This map shows where Marsh Violet is recorded in Britain and Ireland and why botanists based in south-eastern England were so pleased to see it! You will be glad to hear that it is not (yet) declining enough to be assessed as Near Threatened.   

Maria and the Frog Orchids
Image: L. Marsh
On Day 2, Maria was delighted to see this carpet of Frog Orchids on a boulder when we visited Whitepark Bay.

It was so interesting to hear botanists from other parts of Ireland, like Oisin and Mairead (Waterford and Derry), Con Breen (Dublin and Westmeath), Marc Cruise (Kerry) and Maria Long (who covers the whole country!) comparing notes on what grows where around Ireland. 

And the talks we enjoyed on the morning of Day 2 gave us some excellent background info on botany in Northern Ireland, on geology, on habitat management... 

Botanists at Garry Bog cluster round to see Cranberry
Image: O. Duffy 
Thanks to lots of hard work behind the scenes from John Faulkner, we were treated to four excellent speakers. We hope to upload their presentations soon, but in the meantime you can read about our four speakers here

John also arranged that reserve managers were waiting to greet us at each site we visited, to offer some insights into the habitats and species we would see and how the site was managed for nature conservation. 

So, when we arrived at Garry Bog on Day 2, NIEA staff were waiting to offer us an illuminating introductory talk about the site and its management. They also told us which plants we might expect to see and roughly where they occurred. 

Cranberry in close-up
Image: O. Duffy
Botanists fanned out across the bog and with so many pairs of eyes keeping a look-out, it was only moments before somebody called out "Cranberry, one tiny bit of it here". 

Everyone hurried over - not that botanists move very fast when traversing a fragile habitat like Garry Bog! - and clustered round, waiting for a turn to crouch down and admire their first nice plant of the Summer Meeting. 

More to follow on our other Summer Meeting fieldtrips and the plants we saw.

Saturday 20 June 2015

The new Hybrids Flora is about to hit the bookshelves.

Pearman, Preston & Dines at Kew.
Co-authors, New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora
Image: L. Marsh
If you haven't already ordered a copy of the Hybrid Flora, you'd better get your skates on if you want to benefit from the £26 discount price! 

The full price is £45 and once the pre-publication offer ends on 30th June, you will have to pay an extra £19. 

Here are the booking details if you want to order a copy.

The Hybrid Flora of the British Isles is the result of decades of research and years of writing by three eminent BSBI co-authors: 
Clive Stace, author of the New Flora of the British Isles; and
David Pearman & Chris Preston, co-authors of the New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora

Clive Stace, for anyone new to botany, is widely recognised as Britain's finest botanist with a long academic career based at the University of Leicester where he was Professor of Plant Taxonomy. 

Here he is at the BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting, held at the University of Leicester last year, giving the keynote talk about hybrids and the new Flora. 

Clive Stace in the Herbarium, University of Leicester
Image: L. Marsh
Clive and David have both served as President of BSBI; Chris has long been a valued member of BSBI Publications Committee, sits on the Editorial Board of New Journal of Botany and is the author of many acclaimed books and papers

You can order your pre-publication copy here but don't forget, the discount price offer runs out at the end of this month so, after that, you will be paying £19 more for your copy of the Hybrid Flora

NB Postage & packing costs £7 but this is a book that needs to be carefully packed up so that each copy arrives in perfect condition! 

Friday 19 June 2015

Special issue of Biological Journal of the Linnean Society on biological recording

A note from Chris Preston:
Chris Preston (on right), BRC 50th Birthday Party
Image: Courtesy of the Biological Records Centre
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society volume 115 part 3 (July 2015) is devoted to biological recording, and it might therefore be of special interest to many BSBI members. The issue (guest-edited by H.E. Roy, C.D. Preston & D.B. Roy) marks the 50th anniversary of the Biological Records Centre and many of the papers are based on talks given at the celebratory conference held at the University of Bath in June 2014. In addition to an editorial introduction, there are 22 papers of which the following deal specifically with vascular plants:
  • Chapman, D., Bell, S., Helfer, S. & Roy, D.B. (2015). Unbiased inference of plant flowering phenology from biological recording data. BJLS 115: 543–554.
  • Gurney, M. (2015). Gains and losses: recent colonisations and extinctions in Britain. BJLS 115: 573–585. [Includes vascular plants as well as bryophytes and many animal groups]
  • Hill, M.O. & Preston, C.D. (2015). Disappearance of boreal plants in southern Britain – habitat loss or climate change? BJLS 115: 598–610. [Bryophytes and vascular plants.]
  • Pescott, O.L., Walker, K.J., Pocock, M.J.O., Jitlal, M., Outhwaite, C.W., Cheffings, C.M., Harris, F. & Roy, D.B. (2015). Ecological monitoring by citizen scientists: the history, design and implementation of schemes for plants in Britain and Ireland. BJLS 115: 505–521.
  • Preston, C.D. & Pearman, D.A. (2015). Plant hybrids in the wild: evidence from biological recording. BJLS 115: 555–572. [An analysis based on the recent BSBI publication Hybrid Flora of the British Isles.]
  • Stewart, A.J.A., Bantock, T.M., Beckmann, B.C., Botham, M.S., Hubble, D. & Roy, D.B. (2015). The role of ecological interactions in determining species ranges and range changes. BJLS 115: 647–663. [The ranges of phytophagous insects in relation to their hosts.]
In addition, there are papers on the Biological Records Centre as a pioneer of citizen science and on bias in biological records, and reviews of the uses of biological records in general and in IUCN Red List assessments, in understanding biological invasions and in tracking the spread and impacts of diseases in particular. 
More specific studies cover the history of the water beetle recording scheme (‘the oldest insect recording scheme’), the effects of air pollution on bryophytes, lichens and lichen-feeding lepidoptera, recent trends in the insects of early successional habitats, the impact of climate change on the northern range margins of a range of invertebrate groups and the effectiveness of protected areas in conserving species with changing ranges. 

From right: Pearman, Preston & Dines.
Co-authors, New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora
Image: L. Marsh
The remaining papers examine the future influence of emerging technologies and of molecular techniques on biological recording and discuss the pitfalls of ecological forecasting. 

A final paper sets out a 10-point plan for biological recording in the next decade.

The publisher has arranged to make these papers available free-to-download for three months after publication so if you are interested in them, act quickly. For details, see:
C.D. Preston

Thursday 18 June 2015

BSBI Summer Meeting: part 1

We climbed to the heights in pursuit of wildflowers...
Image: L. Marsh 
Botanists are now home from BSBI's Annual Summer Meeting, based this year in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, where we enjoyed five fabulous days of superb company, beautiful plants and stunning locations. 

With botanists from across Britain & Ireland present, it was fascinating to compare differences between the flora of different parts of these islands. 

And it was gratifying to see so many younger members in the field alongside 'old hands' like BSBI President and Orchid Referee Ian Denholm. Everybody enjoyed comparing notes and sharing their D tips. 

... we walked down to White Park Bay to see wildflowers...
Image: L. Marsh  
More experienced local botanists, including County Recorders from Tyrone, Co. Londonderry, Down, Armagh, Antrim and Fermanagh were kind enough to join us, leading excursions and showing us the plants growing in their local patches. 

We are all very grateful to them for giving up their free time to share their vast knowledge with us, and for the warm welcome that the botanical community in northern Ireland extended to its visitors. 

I noticed how much the ID characters which people look for, in order to reach an identification, change according to where you botanise and therefore whichever other species you want to separate your mystery plant from. 

Mountain Avens from Binevenagh
Image: L. Marsh
So there would have been no point in my trying to show off about how the leaves of Chaerophyllum temulum differ from those of Torilis japonica when you are only likely to see one of those species in Northern Ireland. If you aren't sure which, click on the links to see distribution maps for each of them.

But, show an English botanist the recording card for Antrim and just sit back and wait for "Ah, now this is something I don't see much at home..." 

So it proved and the English botanists enjoyed seeing some species in Northern Ireland which were formerly considered of no conservation concern in England, but have now been identified by the England Red List as Near Threatened. 

Download the England Red List here to see for yourself which plants English botanists are no longer seeing as frequently as we used to.

Maria and Donncha key out Equisetum x variegatum
Image: L. Marsh
I am hoping that some of the excellent photographers who attended the Summer Meeting - like Oisin, Marc, Ian D. and John K. - will agree to share a few of their images on this News & Views blog. 

If you hope so too, why not leave a comment below to encourage them? 

More reports to follow once I receive some good images to accompany them please!

Wednesday 3 June 2015

VC Recorder for Skye on BBC Radio Scotland's flagship arts programme

Mountain Avens
Last month, I told you about Stephen Bungard's involvement in the Patterns of Flora Project which launches this week. Today, Stephen is being interviewed at 2.40 on the Janice Forsyth Show which is BBC Radio Scotland's flagship arts programme. The interview will be available afterwards on iPlayer here

The press release points out that Stephen "probably knows more about the plant life of Raasay, Skye and the Small Isles than anyone alive. The former ICI research manager started taking an interest in flora back in the early 80s when he was involved in a campaign to save a wildlife corridor near his home in Teeside and had discovered Raasay as a holiday destination. 

Frances Priest's ceramics
Image courtesy F. Priest/ATLAS Arts
"His love of the island and of botany developed in tandem. After a while Stephen and his wife bought a holiday home and he embarked on a close study of the environment. Around 2000 he took early retirement and was able to move permanently to Raasay and devote himself more fully to his passion for plants".

Stephen said: “What makes Raasay so special is that you get such a concentration of habitats in a small area.” He and ceramicist Frances Priest have worked together with ATLAS Arts on the Patterns of Flora project, with Stephen choosing the habitats to be featured: bog, coast fresh water, limestone, moor and mountain and woodland. Frances' ceramics feature plants such as Sea Milkwort, Great Sundew and Marsh Cinquefoil.

Heath-spotted Orchid
Frances said: “In the Highlands you often tend to look at the vast sweeps and the grandeur. But with Stephen you get a different perspective. Go for a walk with him and you really don’t get very far before he’s pointing things out that you would have just passed by. You see the environment in an entirely different way, all the beauty of the detail".

Stephen said that he hoped the project would "encourage people to look down and around not just up and about and to see the variety and beauty right under their noses. I hope that it helps make people more aware of what’s there and the complexity of the environment – and that it helps attract some more visitors to the island.” 

He encourages people to visit the island of Raasay to see plants such as Mountain Avens, Dark-red Helleborine and Heath Spotted-orchid.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Suburban orchids in Cambridge

White Helleborine
Image: M. Frisch
Monica Frisch, one of our most active Cambridge botanists, has been in touch to tell us about a rare orchid which has become established in surprising surroundings:

"A recreation ground in the suburbs of southern Cambridge does not seem a likely spot for a rare orchid. But White Helleborine Cephalanthera damasonium seems to like it. 

Growing by the recreation ground
Image: M. Frisch
There are hundreds of plants, large and small, flowering and not, along the railings by the recreation ground in Nightingale Avenue and under the beech trees near the children's play area. 

"It is not clear when White Helleborine first appeared in this location but it has certainly been there for the last few years and doing very well.

Close-up of White Helleborine
Image: M. Frisch
"White Helleborine has long been known – since 1903 – from the Beechwoods on Worts Causeway, a bit over a kilometre to the south-east. 

There are also records in the catalogue of Cambridgeshire Flora Records since 1538 compiled by Gigi Crompton from a few locations nearby.

"Last year the species was found on the other side of Cambridge, near a college entrance on Storey's Way, about five kilometres north-west of the Beechwoods, and I believe it is cropping up elsewhere so seems to like Cambridge!"

Many thanks to Monica for telling us about White Helleborine in Cambridge. 

If you know of any plants which have chosen a surprising location in which to set up home, please let us know

Monday 1 June 2015

BSBI President & Orchid Referee out in the field

Jersey Orchid
Image: I. Denholm
For those of us attending BSBI's Annual Summer Meeting, there are several big advantages in having our President Ian Denholm present throughout the proceedings. 

As well as being a very entertaining and knowledgeable after-dinner speaker, Ian is also an excellent field botanist and is one of BSBI's two Orchid Referees. 

So when we visit sites such as the Umbra, which boasts around 9 species of orchid, Ian will be on hand to help us with identification. He has spent decades photographing orchids (and other plants) in the field, looking at orchids, talking about them and publishing papers on them, and the other week he was in Jersey. 

Jersey Orchids in profusion
Image: I. Denholm
Here is his report about the trip:

"I enjoyed a highly successful trip to Jersey over the Bank Holiday weekend, guided by our vice-county recorder Anne Haden, whose knowledge of and enthusiasm for the island’s flora knows no bounds! 

"The visit coincided perfectly with peak flowering of the Lax-flowered (or Jersey) Orchid Anacamptis laxiflora (above left and right) at its two strongholds on Jersey, both owned and managed by the National Trust for Jersey

Jersey Fern
Image: I. Denholm
"The species occurs in profusion (several thousand plants) at each site, providing an outstanding spectacle that visitors are encouraged to experience and enjoy.

"Needless to say the visit produced a cornucopia of other botanical delights including the diminutive and annual Jersey Fern Anogramma leptophylla in peak condition at its best site on the island. Jersey is a tremendous place to botanise and huge thanks to Anne for her time and support."

Ian & fellow orchid-spotter, Noir Pre, Jersey
Image: A. Haden
Anne even managed to take a photo of our notoriously camera-shy President in the field (on left) and says "We had a great day looking at some of Jersey's special plants and Ian identified some Dactylorhiza hybrids in Noir Pre, our Orchid field".  

If you haven't yet booked for the Summer Meeting, and would like a chance to spend time in the field with BSBI's Orchid Referee, strictly speaking the deadline for bookings has just passed but, if you apply now, we will try to squeeze you in!