2021 County Report for North Somerset

Helena Crouch & Liz McDonnell

In 2021 over 46,000 records were made in VC6, input to MapMate (mostly by the VCRs), and sent to the BSBI.

As the year started, restrictions were in place, with another lockdown looming, but members of Somerset Rare Plants Group (SRPG) participated individually in New Year Plant Hunts.  Members of Bath Natural History Society (BNHS) also contributed: see http://www.bathnats.org.uk/victoria-park-and-surrounds-new-year-walk-3-january-2021/

Once lockdown eased, various groups resumed botanical meetings in Somerset.  SRPG organised thirteen field meetings, seven in VC6, mostly led by the VCRs: see http://www.somersetrareplantsgroup.org.uk/meeting-reports-2021/  These included a Fern Workshop I ran with Fred Rumsey.   Somerset Botany Group met weekly nineteen times, carrying out surveys of reserves for Somerset Wildlife Trust and others.  SBG have continued weekly winter recording meetings organised by Liz.  I led 17 weekly botany walks for Cam Valley Wildlife Group and one botanical walk for BNHS (see http://www.bathnats.org.uk/eastwood-farm-lnr-brislington-22-july-2021/), co-led two fungal forays, and led a walk for a group of Mendip AONB volunteers.

Members of SBG volunteered to do churchyard surveys for the Wilder Churches project developed by SWT and the Diocese of Bath and Wells.  I carried out and wrote reports for seven of these, and helped with two others; altogether the group visited 24 churchyards, receiving the SWT Volunteer Award as a result.  I also wrote a survey report for Mendip Golf Course, and gave talks to two local groups, on Flora of the Cam Valley and Ferns of Somerset.

The Rare Plant Register remains an ongoing project, see  http://www.somersetrareplantsgroup.org.uk/  I wrote seventeen new species accounts in 2021.

Helena Crouch

Carex × boenninghausiana (C. paniculata × remota)

One clump found by Alex Lockton on stonework at edge of the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bath, the identification confirmed by Mike Porter.  Surprisingly this hybrid is new to VC6.  Although C. paniculata is frequent on the Levels, only a couple of clumps are known by the canal.

Eryngium variifolium (Variable-leaved Sea-Holly)

Two plants found by members of Somerset Rare Plants Group growing at the base of a low sea wall at Weston-super-Mare, one of them under a boat!  Self-sown from a nearby flower-bed and new to Somerset.

Malva setigera (Rough Marsh-mallow)

Found by Andrew Robinson and Georgina Shuckburgh at Rodney Stoke NNR, the first record for the Mendips and a new hectad record for this Schedule 8 neophyte.

Silene noctiflora (Night-flowering Catchfly)

Found by John Bebbington in a garden in Langport the first record for this Vulnerable species in Somerset since 1991. (Photo by John Bebbington).