Tuesday 28 January 2020

BSBI News: January issue is out!

The latest issue of BSBI News, our membership newsletter, is being mailed out this week and the electronic version will be available in a few days via the password-protected members-only area of the BSBI website

It's the first issue under the editorship of John Norton, who took over late last year from Andrew Branson so I bet you'll be keen to know what's inside! 

And the big question... 

Has John managed to maintain the high standard set by Andrew? 

Fortunately John, like his predecessor, has agreed to provide News & Views readers - whether BSBI members or not - with an advance peek inside the issue. So I can report that this issue, BSBI News #143, contains the following delights:

The newly-discovered hybrid toadflax
Image: M. Wilcox
There are six featured articles, including a long-term assessment of the effects of dredging on the aquatic plants of a Yorkshire canal - eight pages of essential reading for ecologists and botanical surveyors. You may have read previous articles on the short-term damage to aquatic plants caused by dredging of navigable canals, but this overview by Ray Goulder paints a different picture of long-term outcomes. 

There's an overview of the genus Cymbalaria (toadflaxes) in Britain including the discovery of the hybrid between the well-known and widespread Ivy-leaved Toadflax (238 records of Ivy-leaved Toadflax blooming across Britain and Ireland during the 2020 New Year Plant Hunt) and the less-common Italian Toadflax

Crepis mollis being reclusive in Northumberland
Image: J. Richards
Prof John Richards considers an increasingly rare plant which "inspires devotion among its acolytes, through its reclusive nature and highly selective habitat requirements". He asks "Whatever happened to Crepis mollis (Northern Hawk's-beard)?"

I'm not going to tell you about the other three featured articles - you'll just have to wait until your copy of BSBI News arrives! - but I will say that one of them focuses on an orchid... 

In this issue, BSBI News also welcomes its new Book Reviews Editor, Prof Clive Stace, and there are eight pages of reviews including Grassland plants of the British and Irish lowlands, reviewed (very favourably) by Prof Mick Crawley; the latest BSBI Handbook is reviewed and deemed to be "a super little book"; Ian Denholm, one of BSBI's expert referees on orchids, has good things to say about the new Field Guide to the Orchids of Europe and the Mediterranean; and Clive himself reviews Tony Church's Arran's Flora.

Plant families workshop in Rhayader, Wales
Image: B. Brown
There are 10 pages covering notable events and interesting plant findings from across Britain and Ireland in recent months, including the Summer Meeting, the Exhibition Meeting, the Aquatic Plant Project in Ireland and the Plant Families workshop in Wales.

There are obituaries and letters and membership notices and an address from BSBI President Lynne Farrell and an editorial.

There are 12 pages of reports of adventives and alien plants turning up across Britain and Ireland, such as the Chinese Mallow spotted beside the River Thames by Caroline Bateman...

Chinese Mallow Malva verticillata
Image: G. Hounsome
Shall I just stop talking now so you can go and sit by the front door and wait for the postie to arrive with your copy of BSBI News no. 143? There are 84 pages for you to enjoy and I'm sure you'll want to join me in congratulating Editor John Norton on an excellent first issue. I'm sure John would love to hear from you at john.norton@bsbi.org if you have any comments on this issue or suggestions for the next one. What articles would you like to read? Or could you offer an article?  

Finally, a reminder that if you are not yet a BSBI member but you'd like to remedy that unfortunate situation asap and start receiving three issues each year of BSBI News - and enjoying a host of other membership benefits - just head over here, pay your sub, fill in the membership form and sit back and wait for your copy to drop through the letterbox. 

Happy reading!  

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