|Papaver atlanticum recorded by Chris
June 2016, Cambridge
Image: C. Preston
Our first paper is by eminent Cambridgeshire botanist Chris Preston, one of the co-authors of the celebrated New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora. Titled 'The phenology of an urban street flora: a transect study', the idea behind the paper arose from Chris's participation in the BSBI's New Year Plant Hunt back in 2016. He decided to "repeat the exercise at monthly intervals" so the paper "reports the results of four years’ recording, from January 2016 to December 2019, as a contribution to our knowledge of the phenology of plants in urban habitats". Phenology - the study of seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year - is having a bit of a 'moment' as this recent blogpost about Nature's Calendar shows.
|Helosciadium x longipedunculatum
Image: J. Webb
The new paper by Stuart and colleagues covers similar ground - over to Ian to tell us more: "Long-standing suspicions of genetic introgression between Fool’s Watercress Helosciadium nodiflorum and the nationally rare Creeping Marshwort H. repens at the latter’s locus classicus at Port Meadow, Oxford, receive molecular support by Stuart Desjardins and colleagues, including Oxfordshire's Judy Webb. Three specimens were examined that showed morphological intermediacy. Two of these are confirmed as the first generation hybrid between H. nodiflorum and H. repens, which receives the formal hybrid epithet H. x longipedunculatum".
Image: K. Walker
For hawkweed Hieracium fans, we have two papers by Tim Rich and colleagues. Hawkweed identification is arguably one of the most challenging things a botanist can attempt and I'll admit that they are way beyond my pay grade. Fortunately there are two new BSBI Handbooks on hawkweeds in the pipeline. One, on hawkweeds of south-east England, is due out very soon and will hopefully make life easier for all of us! Meanwhile, over to Ian to tell us more about the two new hawkweed papers and why they are important:
an "enigmatic dandelion" from South Devon
Image: J. Richards
Next up, eminent Taraxacologist (dandelion expert) Prof John Richards has teamed up with John Day, BSBI County Recorder for Worcestershire, to bring us a short note about what they describe as "an enigmatic dandelion" found in Devon so in keeping with the air of mystery I'm not going to tell you any more about this one! But you can admire the image above of this Mona Lisa of dandelions...
|Hart's pennyroyal in NE Yorkshire
Image: A. Baker
Fortunately there are some really helpful keys to the Sections, prepared by Prof Richards and published in the Plant Crib. You can find them here under Taraxacum and they are all free to download. If you will be in southwest Scotland in early May, there's also an opportunity to learn more about dandelions at the feet of the master: John is leading a Taraxacum training workshop in Portpatrick and there are still some spaces available. More details here.
A paper by Ambroise Baker, about Mentha cervina Hart's pennyroyal, an aquatic alien mint recently found naturalised in north-east Yorkshire, possibly linked to climate change, rounds off this issue. Ian and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we all enjoyed working on it. So get a cup of tea, sit back, click on the link and enjoy British & Irish Botany 2.1.