2022 County Report for East Cornwall
Colin French & Ian Bennallick
In the thirteen years that led up to the publication of the Flora of Cornwall in 2020 the Botanical Cornwall Group was systematically surveying every 1km square of Cornwall and on average 102,808 vascular plant records were added to the ERICA database each year. Since then, there has been an understandable relative lull in recording activity (on average 60,523 were added to ERICA), which was no doubt exacerbated by the pandemic. Even so the background level of recording is nearly twice the amount it was prior to 2007 (on average 33,235).
Since the publication of the 2020 Flora of Cornwall, the majority of the main recorders have continued their recording activities and their combined voluntary effort remains very pleasing. The main focus has been on revisiting 1km squares that were surveyed before 2010 which have had little attention since. In this way the data class for recording in Cornwall has been moved forward one decade. It is also heartening to report that several other keen recorders have now appeared and are contributing very valuable records. They include Billy Fullwood, a teenager who has made an impact nationally within BSBI; Louis Parkerson, a first-year degree student, who among many other interesting finds discovered a new site for the Killarney Fern sporophyte (Trichomanes speciosum); Philip Markey who has a special interest in Elms, and David Steere who has recorded across Cornwall since his arrival.
Billy Fullwood set up a Botanical Cornwall Group Whatsapp group which has proved to be useful in alerting those that have joined, over 30 people so far, finds or interesting botanical news.
Two areas were surveyed in very great detail in 2022; namely the Caerhays Estate and the Gwithian Towans and Gwithian Green LNRs. These were surveyed to assist the planning of ecologically sensitive land management and the obtaining of grants to fund such schemes. However, the large amount of computerised data does have many potential uses and will probably be useful for other purposes in the future.
Ian Bennallick organised 17 Botanical Cornwall Group field meetings which was attended by between three and 17 people, and over fifty different people came along. Places visited were -
Wednesday 25th May - LIZARD SW61/SW71
Tuesday 31st May - NARE HEAD SW93
Sunday 5th June TRENANT WOOD SX25
Sunday 12th June - STEPPER POINT and HARBOUR COVE SW97
Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th June – LIZARD (GOONHILLY) SW72
Friday 17th June - GOSS MOOR SW95/SW96
Tuesday 28th June - TALLAND and PORTNADLER BAY SX25
Wednesday 6th July - GOSS MOOR SW95/SW96
Sunday 10th July - COLLIFORD RESERVOIR SX17
Sunday 17th July CARNON VALLEY to BISSOE SW74
Tuesday 19th July TREVELLAS PORTH to CLIGGA HEAD to SW75
Tuesday 26th July - BRENEY COMMON SX06
Tuesday 2nd August CAPE CORNWALL SW33
Tuesday 16th August - GOSS MOOR SW95/SW96
Tuesday 23rd August - ROUGH TOR, north Bodmin Moor SX18
Tuesday 30th August ST GENNYS TO CHIPMAN POINT SX19
Wednesday 14th September - LANSALLOS CLIFF SX15
Many records were updated for monads and new sites of species found.
The meeting on the Lizard Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th June were part of a visit from scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RBG, Kew) who collected plant material from over 40 species for genome sequencing towards the Darwin Tree of Life (DToL) project (www.darwintreeoflife.org). Up to 20 people came along and each person was given the chance to collect the material and make a specimen as a voucher for the plant collected. A report can be seen here on the DToL website –