2022 County Report for Shropshire

Mags Cousins and John Martin

I am happy to report that John and I have survived our first year as the new joint County Recorders for VC40, Shropshire, having taken over from Sarah Whild and Alex Lockton in May 2022. The size of the task was quite intimidating but fortunately we have the support of the outgoing VCRs and help from the Shropshire Botanical Society with training, leading field meetings, recording and engaging with Shropshire botanists via the website https://www.shropshirebotany.org.uk/. One of our joint aims is to focus field meetings this year on re-finding rare plants that haven’t been recorded in the county for a while, with a view to updating the Rare Plant Register and getting the refreshed list onto the BSBI DDb.
Marshalling the data has proved to be quite challenging, but an endpoint is in sight which will synchronise the current system we use for data collection and management (iRecord); with the Shropshire Online Flora (https://flora.shropshirebotany.org.uk/ which uses the NBN Atlas API to view Shropshire’s botanical records; and ultimately mesh with the BSBI DDb for the more experienced users and for use in the next BSBI Atlas project.
We have verified over 12,000 records from well-established local botanists, new recorders and visitors to the county, including the inestimable Jonathan Shanklin and even managed to make a few records of our own, especially John who manages to combine recording birds, invertebrates and plants on a regular basis.

Centaurium pulchellum (Sw.) Druce (Lesser Centaury)

Centaurium pulchellum (Sw.) Druce (Lesser Centaury) was a new record for Shropshire, found by Brett Westwood on 3rd August, 2022. There were about 30 plants at the sides of a wide forest track in the Wyre Forest concentrated in an area about 1m square.  This location was within VC40 Shropshire by a few hundred metres. Perhaps seed arrived on the wheels of forestry machinery that had been working at nearby sites in Worcestershire. It may well persist in the Wyre Forest as the niche is highly suitable being a dry, open, somewhat disturbed, grassy woodland ride.   Photo by Brett Westwood, 3rd August, 2022.

Carex divulsa subsp. divulsa Stokes (Grey Sedge)

Carex divulsa subsp. divulsa Stokes (Grey Sedge) was recorded by both Mark Duffell and Kat Edwards-White in 2022, Mark from Pole’s Coppice near Pontesbury not far from where he has recorded it before in 2008 and Kat on 31st July 2022, from Hills Lane Pitmound, Madeley, SJ70110430 which is a new 10km square for this sedge.  It is a rarity in Shropshire at the edge of its range, although is relatively common in southern England.  Photo by Kat Edwards-White, 31st July 2022.