2020 County Report for Hertfordshire

Ian Denholm

The death of Trevor James in June 2020 was a huge loss for natural history recording in Hertfordshire and botanical recording for BSBI. Trevor succeeded John Dony as VCR for Herts. In the 1980s and led the production of a new county Flora in 2009. Ian Denholm (ID) has since taken on sole recordership but it is hoped to appoint at least one other joint recorder in 2021.

During early 2020, work to input a final tranche of data relevant to the new atlas project was competed, although imposition of lockdown complicated transfer of data from iRecord to the DDB. Restrictions precluded joint field events but individuals undertook surveys and contributed important findings. Notable records include the first occurrence of Himantoglossum hircinum since the 1930s and rediscovery of the nationally declining Epipactis leptochila at a former location after a 40 year absence from the county. The hybrid Verbascum speciosum × nigrum (conf. F. Rumsey) was new to Herts and only the second confirmed record for Britain. Material of a puzzling spurge from a field margin submitted to ID proved to be the first sighting of Euphorbia playphyllos in the country this century. It may be over-looked and will be the focus of a more targeted survey in 2021.