Friday 13 December 2019

Flora of Cambridgeshire published

Another milestone county Flora has just been published: copies of Alan Leslie's Flora of Cambridgeshire have just been posted to everyone who pre-booked. 

The book is 912 pages long, covers 2,330 species and is published by the Royal Horticultural Society: Alan worked as a cultivar registrar at RHS Wisley for more than 40 years. 

He undertook a PhD in Cambridge (on goldilocks buttercup Ranunculus auricomus) in the 1970s, has been recording the county's wild flowers since 1972 and was BSBI County Recorder for Cambridgeshire from 2005 until earlier this year, so he was ideally placed to take an overview of the county's plants and habitats.

The Flora features detailed species accounts and chapters discussing climate, topography, notable sites of botanical interest such as Chippenham Fen, Wicken Fen, the Devil's Ditch and the Ouse Washes. 

The urban flora of Cambridge is also discussed and there is a section on species' gains and losses. There is also a chapter on notable plant recorders which includes some names well-known to BSBI members, such as Mark Hill, James Cadbury, and two longstanding and much-loved members of BSBI's Publications Committee, Philip Oswald and Chris Preston. Philip stood down last year and Chris has become BSBI's Obituaries Editor.   

This is the first Flora of Cambridgeshire since Perring et al. (1964) although it's worth mentioning that the 1964 Flora covers 1,258 species compared to Alan's 2,330 species. This new Flora is certainly the most comprehensive ever produced for the county. 

Alan is also following in other very illustrious footsteps, starting with those of John Ray, as Cambridgeshire botanist Roger Horton tweeted below:
Quiz: What comes next? John Ray 1660 Thomas Martyn 1763 Richard Relhan 1785 Charles Babington 1860 Arthur Humble Evans 1939 Perring/Sell/Walters/Whitehouse 1964

[Ed.: Roger contacted me after this blogpost went live to point out that "the Flora itself adds the work of Gigi Crompton - her on-line database is now hosted by Nature in Cambridgeshire". Thanks to Roger for letting us know!]

The Flora of Cambridgeshire is available from Summerfield Books who are offering a discount on the RRP of £70. Many thanks to Mike Grant, Contributing Editor (Specialist Publications) at the RHS for letting me know that the Flora had been published and for sending over the images shown here.

1 comment:

  1. Had the pleasure of seeing the author with a copy this week - it looks wonderful!


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