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!

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