BSBI's Recorder eNewsletter is a monthly email newsletter full of useful info, links and topical tips for botanical recorders.

subscribe to Recorder eNewsletter

Recorder eNewsletter July 2021

Scottish HectAd Rare Plant Project

It is the turn of the Scottish HectAd Rare Plant Project (SHARPP) to launch this month. This exciting new three-year project aims to resurvey populations of GB Red Data List, Scottish Biodiversity List and Nationally Rare/Scarce species not recorded since 2000 in particular hectads where there is a cluster of these records.

Full details are available on the Scottish HectAd Rare Plant Project page including a list of Frequently Asked Questions. As with the Rare Plant Project in Ireland, it would be great if members would like to get involved, but they should speak to their County Recorders first.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Rare Plant Project Ireland

We launched The Rare Plant Project Ireland (RPPI) in June and recorders have already been running the project query to identify possible target species / hectads. To recap, the project aims to resurvey populations of Irish Red List plant species not recorded since 2000 and collect information that will inform future Red Lists and County Rare Plant Registers and improve our understanding of their ecology and reasons for decline.

We are compiling a list of Frequently Asked Questions which we’ll post on the Rare Plant Project Ireland page. So, if you have questions about the project, please contact Robert Northridge (email below) who will reply and add your query to the list. A question to come up is what you should do if you fail to find the target population. Well, it is important to fill the form in as far the section “Not refound – reason why?”  and give your informed opinion / speculation.

Jim McIntosh, Paul Green & Robert Northridge

Aquatic Plant Project of Ireland 2021

The Aquatic Plant Project of Ireland is back for a third year. Building on the success of the previous two years, the project has another season-packed programme of training and recording events. We have two upcoming online training events with aquatic plant expert Nick Stewart. On Monday 5th July at 8pm we will be learning to identify water-starworts. On Saturday 10th July at 10.30am we will be learning to identify water-crowfoots. Everyone interested is very welcome – whether in Ireland or Britain - but you must book by clicking the links. The ticket will be emailed to you immediately and it includes the Zoom link - right at the very bottom.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

Irish Grassland Project 2021

The BSBI Irish Grassland Project is also back, and I’ve just led our first training webinar on yellow members of the daisy family, specifically the Hawkbits, Hawk's-beards, Mouse-ear-hawkweed and Cat’s-ear. The video of this webinar and all previous videos in the programme are available on the BSBI YouTube Irish Grassland Project playlist. More events are being planned so keep an eye on the project page. We are planning a mixture of online and field events. Everyone interested is very welcome to participate in the online events – whether you are in Ireland or Britain.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

BSBI Database update to Stace 4

We are currently updating the BSBI Database to Stace 4 nomenclature. The changes are being added in batches, so for a short time the system will contain a mixture of accepted names. Earlier names from Stace 3 will resolve as synonyms, so using either Stace 3 or 4 names will work. Updates will be applied to MapMate and to iRecord once the changes to the names in the DDb are complete.

Tom Humphrey, BSBI Database Officer

Families and Orders on the BSBI Database

Most DDb users will have discovered that they can search for entire genera. Like this search for all Carex (sedge) species. (Login and change the VC to yours before clicking display results). But it is useful to know that you can also search for entire families – like this search for all Cyperaceae or even orders – as in this search for all Poales.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

Future Recording Software

I am pleased to report that work will shortly commence on new recording software for the BSBI. The plan is for a system based around online components but which will also work without a permanent network connection. It will be usable on mobile devices in the field. Initial design work is underway and we hope to be in a position to begin testing in the autumn (which may need some volunteers!). It should be ready for widespread use by recorders next year - watch this space.

Chris Metherell


When starting MapMate, if you ever get a message “Problem - User.mdb interface is missing - Run "Update" on the Mapmate Install CD”, do not follow that instruction as it will overwrite your data.  Please get in touch with me and I can help you get your MapMate running again.

In fact, you should never use your installation CDs again, as the version of MapMate on it is generally well out of date. The only useful thing about the CD is the note of the serial number on the case which you may like to transcribe to a notebook before disposing of the CD.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

BSBI Photographic Competition - 2021

This is a great time to get out with your camera and take lovely photographs of flowering plants. We are using the same two categories that were used in previously in the 2021 Photographic Competition - Native and Alien - so that should give you plenty scope! The images will help illustrate the various Atlas 2020 outputs. The competition is free to enter and open to everyone who is an amateur photographer. For full competition rules, see BSBI Photographic Competition 2021.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

Book about climate change features BSBI recorders

Forecast: a Diary of the Lost Seasons, by Joe Shute, columnist at The Telegraph, was published on 24th June. A chapter on plants blooming unseasonably early features Joe's report about the day he spent recording in the field with Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science, as part of the 2020 New Year Plant Hunt. BSBI members can claim an exclusive discount of 25% when purchasing the book and there are three free copies available to winners of our competition - find out more here.

Louise Marsh, Communications officer