2023 County Report for North Somerset

Helena Crouch

Over 48,000 records were made in VC6, by many different recorders; all input to MapMate and sent to the DDb.

For Somerset Rare Plants Group, I organised a Vegetative Key Workshop led by John Poland: 34 members attended. The field programme included 6 meetings in VC6 including an Aquatics Workshop led by Nick Stewart.  For reports, see: http://www.somersetrareplantsgroup.org.uk/meeting-reports/

Somerset Botany Group met weekly, mostly doing monitoring for Somerset Wildlife Trust.  Mendip Flora Group recorded every Thursday, led by Andrew Robinson, who contributed >11,000 records, made personally or with the group.

I led 22 botanical walks for Cam Valley Wildlife Group and one for Bristol Naturalists’ Society. Rob Randall led several botanical meetings for Bath Nats. Locally I led two public walks for a village Pollinator Party, which were popular. I was paid through a local council initiative (Somer Valley Rediscovered) to lead two “public engagement” botany walks, the first for Love Your Parks Week.

In addition to a talk for BSBI Somerset Aliens - Helena Crouch (youtube.com)  I gave talks to local groups on Beautiful Burial grounds for Biodiversity, the flora of the Cam & Wellow valleys, and the flora of the Mendip Hills. I was interviewed for Radio Somerset wittering about Himalayan Balsam and featured in a short film about Cheddar Pink. Somerset Rare Plants Group held a very successful 25th Anniversary conference for which I talked about Rare Plants of the Mendip Hills.

The Rare Plant Register remains an ongoing project, with the list kept updated and species accounts added gradually, see  http://www.somersetrareplantsgroup.org.uk/

Roemeria argemone (Prickly Poppy)

15 plants recorded by John Poingdestre in a very rich arable field, the first record for VC6 since 1992.

Chenopodiastrum murale (Nettle-leaved Goosefoot)

1 plant found by Helena Crouch and Fred Rumsey in an upturned cannon on Steep Holm, the first record for VC6 since 2006 [See BSBI News 155]

Gymnocarpium robertianum (Limestone Fern)

This Scarce native fern was found by Kevan Horne growing down a drain in Bath, probably originating as a spore from his garden further up the street, the first record in ST76 since 1949.

Callitriche terrestris (Terrestrial Water-starwort)

Fred Rumsey found this as a weed in paving at Sanders Garden Centre, Brent Knoll, the identification confirmed by Richard Lansdown. It appears to be new to Britain & Ireland!

Eragrostis minor (Small Love-grass)

This cute little grass was found by Fred Rumsey in paving in Somerton, new to Somerset, but it was tragically destroyed by weed-killer within two weeks!

Lemna valdiviana (Valdivia Duckweed)

This alien duckweed was confirmed to occur in VC6, found in a cattle trough, then in a lake at Westhay Moor and in a ditch far from any house (all records confirmed by Richard Lansdown).