2020 County Report for Mid-west Yorkshire

David Broughton

2020 was not a notable year for botanical recording, with relatively few records generated. Instead for most people it seems to have been a year of not going far, taking stock (with Nicky Vernon continuing mammoth efforts to digitise historic records by the Wharfedale Naturalists), and looking more closely. Perhaps even, as in my case, giving some more challenging plant groups more attention because of the extra time available to invest in them. Consequently, March and April were about daffodil cultivars (Narcissus agg.), June and July about hawkweeds (Hieracium agg.), and high summer about pondering goosefoots (Chenopodium album agg.) and roses (Rosa spp.). I can’t think of many footpaths within a 5km radius of my house that did not benefit from being walked on at least a fortnightly basis through the year, with regular new finds as a result. Highlights included my first encounter with Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) on a fortuitous work trip, the first record since 1975 and guaranteeing that I will look more closely at wintercress this year. Examinations of local ivy populations have revealed occasional stands of wild type Atlantic Ivy (Hedera hibernica), in addition to forms of the widely established Hibernica Group.  I also had some minor successes with hawkweeds, with the star find of the year being Large-toothed Hawkweed (Hieracium prominentidens) at its second site in the county. Meanwhile, Mike Wilcox’s willingness to investigate habitats most people would avoid was rewarded with Rivet Wheat (Triticum turgidum) along the margins of the Leeds ring road.