Thursday 29 September 2022

BSBI News: September issue published

We've just sent out copies of the latest issue of BSBI News to 3,706 of our members, who will be able to enjoy 88 pages of botanical delights in our membership newsletter. 

Electronic versions are already available on the password-protected members-only area of the BSBI website (email me if you've forgotten your password) and the growing number of members who have opted for paperless membership received their digital copies a couple of hours ago.

But what if you haven't yet joined BSBI and you're wondering what's inside the latest issue and whether you'd enjoy receiving three copies each year of BSBI News

Take a look at our free sampler to get an idea of the content and you can also enjoy one full free article: four beautifully-illustrated pages by Mike Crewe on 'Getting to know the common thistles'.

Garlic Penny-cress in East Sussex:
a BSBI News article asks,
is it native or introduced there?
Image: M. Berry

Other articles in this latest issue include Howard Beck on Teesdale Violet; Richard Milne looking at Yellow Bird's-nest on brownfield sites in Scotland; a report summarising the results of the first three years of Plant Alert (the joint project between BSBI and Univ Coventry to discover which garden plants have the potential to become invasive and problematic in future); and over 20 pages of articles on Adventives and Aliens. 

There are also the usual book reviews, roundups of botanical news from across Britain and Ireland and advance notices of forthcoming BSBI events, such as the Atlas 2020 launch plans, the new Awards and updates about BSBI Referees.

Tucked inside each print copy of BSBI News (or in the same digital pack if you've gone paperless) are four other pieces of reading material: the latest BSBI Annual Review (which you can also download from the BSBI website here); invitations with programmes and booking links to the forthcoming Scottish Botanists' Conference and British & Irish Botanical Conference; and an agenda for the AGM.

Sea Pea in Pembrokeshire; a report
in BSBI News suggests it may have been
lost from this site (the only one in Wales)
Image: S. Evans

So, lots for members to enjoy and for supporters who haven't joined us yet, some tempting reading material in the form of the sampler and the free article about thistles - but if that entices you to want to join BSBI right now - don't do it! 

Yes, you heard that right - do not under any circumstances join BSBI today. Instead, wait just two more days because our membership special offer opens on 1st October and then you'll be able to enjoy 15 months of membership for the price of 12 months. 

Head back here on Saturday to read all about how you can take advantage of the special offer and to find out more about the many benefits of BSBI membership. Until then... enjoy that sampler and the free article   

Friday 16 September 2022

Out on the islands: September report by BSBI President Lynne Farrell

Last time we heard from BSBI President Lynne Farrell, she was looking at restoration sites in Cambridgeshire, where she used to be based, and Cumbria where she is based now. 

But as well as being our President, Lynne is also BSBI County Recorder for Mid Ebudes, and last week she managed to visit her patch - here is her latest report:

"I’ve been out on my smaller islands recently, where the weather was superb- it makes a change, and makes the botanising enticing.

"Here are some of the plants I spotted:

"Irish Lady’s-tresses Spiranthes romanzoffiana (image on left) is one of our rarest and elusive species, but there is more chance of finding it in Ireland, of course! In Scotland it is scattered on some of the islands, with just a few locations on Ardnamurchan, on the mainland. It does occur in the same habitats each year but it would seem not in the exactly the same places, so you have to search diligently, and that is what we did with some success. 

"It is a part of the oceanic boreal-montane element widespread in N. America but restricted to Britain and Ireland in Europe. Old lazy beds, and cattle-grazed flushes near the sea are favoured spots. 

"Pipewort Eriocaulon aquaticum is also a member of the same botanical element, again restricted to Britain and Ireland and widespread in N. America. On the island of Coll this means a fairly lumpy walk into the ‘interior’ but eventually you reach one of the hidden lochans (image above right and at foot of page) and find it is flowering in late August and into September.

"There are other species which flower in the autumn and although they may be insignificant in size, they are worth close inspection. Muddy trackways, often by farm gates, and island lay-bys with wet gravel and a smattering of peat, are just the places to get down on your hands and knees, to find Chaffweed Anagallis minima/ Centunculus minima (image on right) and Allseed Radiola linoides

"This often attracts the attention of locals, and several times they enquired as to whether we needed help, assuming the car had broken down. Some were sufficiently interested to get out of their cars and join us, and what’s even more encouraging, was that they were pleased to learn about some of our smallest plants".

That's some great outreach work by our President, spreading the word about BSBI and botanical recording to all the islands, big and small, across Britain and Ireland!

Friday 9 September 2022

British & Irish Botany: issue 4.3 published

Wood Vetch in the Cairngorms
Image: A. Amphlett
We've just published the third issue of the fourth volume of British & Irish Botany, featuring eight papers by authors across Britain and Ireland. 

We have two papers from Scotland.

Firstly, Andy Amphlett, BSBI County Recorder for Easterness, reviews the vascular plant flora of the Cairngorms Connect project area, Scotland, and consider some possible implications of forest expansion to the natural tree line.

Secondly, Sarah Watts, Ian Strachan & Richard Marriott report on remarkable botanical records from Corrour in Westerness, including the creeping form of Lesser Water-plantain (which they elevate to species status as Baldellia repens) and Coral-necklace Illecebrum verticillatum, both new to Scotland.

Baldellia repens at Corrour
Image: S. Watts
From Ireland, we have a detailed review by Tony Murray and Mike Wyse Jackson's of the history, status and conservation management of Cottonweed Achillea maritima at Lady’s Island Lake, Co. Wexford, while Eric Greenwood and Hugh McAllister explore the systematics and cytogenetics of Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis around northern Irish Sea coasts. 

Wales is represented too, with Tim Rich's account of the endemic Brecon Hawkweed Hieracium breconenseconfined to a single location in Craig-y-Ciliau National Nature Reserve in the Brecon Beacons. 

We also have three papers relevant to wild plants across the whole of Britain and Ireland. Firstly, Michael Braithwaite, our President from 2005 to 2008, reports on change in species distributions at tetrad scale – this is a supplement to the booklet Change in the British Flora 1987-2004, written by Michael with Bob Ellis and Chris Preston in 2006 and available from Summerfield Books here.

Brecon Hawkweed
Image: T. Rich

Next, Hugh McAllister and Andy Amphlett have teamed up to provide a definitive taxonomic treatment of the Tufted hair-grass Deschampsia cespitosa complex in Great Britain and Ireland.

Finally, we have a paper by Julian Shaw and colleagues at the Royal Horticultural Society describing a hybrid between the two species of Giant-rhubarbs Gunnera previously considered widespread in cultivation and proving invasive in some regions of Britain and Ireland. This previously overlooked hybrid is now considered to greatly outnumber one of the two parental species (G. manicata).

So, another fabulous issue here of our Open Access scientific journal, free for authors to publish in and for you to read - and we hope that there will be something of interest in this issue (as in all our back-issues) for every botanist across Britain and Ireland.