Even here in Scotland snowdrop flowering is well underway. Most snowdrops recorded are just Galanthus nivalis - but don’t assume they all are – and it is fun looking out for snowdrops that aren’t! Even if 92% of all Galanthus records in the DDb are G. nivalis, that still leaves a significant (probably under-recorded) proportion of other Galanthus species, subspecies and even hybrids to look out for. In Edinburgh, Galanthus woronowii is widely found in parks and along the Water of Leith for example. It has distinctive broad yellow-green and hooded leaves. The account of Galanthus in Stace 4 is good, but Mick Crawley’s Guide to Snowdrop Identification includes very helpful photographs.
BSBI Spring Conference – 26 March
We are planning an online spring conference on Saturday 26 March for everyone interested in identifying and recording plants which aims to enthuse for the forthcoming recording season. This replaces the Scottish Spring Conference planned for the same date, but not the Irish Spring Conference which will still take place on Saturday 2nd April - see next month’s Recorder eNewsletter.
The draft programme for the BSBI Spring Conference includes talks on the botanical highlights of the fens, recording the urban flora, rare able weeds, the conservation of Oblong Woodsia, a workshop on separating the three Whitlowgrass species and finishes with a Question & Answer session. Everyone is welcome, but bookings are essential: BSBI Spring Conference.
Vice-County Annual Reports for 2021
We have now received 100 Vice-County Annual Reports – which is fantastic – thank you! It is always a great joy to hear about the breadth of botanical activity going on across the BSBI and of all the exciting botanical (re-) discoveries.
However, that leaves quite a few more to come in. So, if you are a County Recorder and have not yet submitted a VC report, and would like to, it is still not too late but you’ll need to be quick as publication deadlines loom. Reports will be collated and published in the English & Scottish Newsletters and individual reports will be linked to county webpages.
Here is a link to the original email as a webpage which gives guidance on the format, length, content, including images, etc, as well as the link for County Recorders (only, please) to submit their reports.
National Plant Monitoring Scheme
This year’s programme of NPMS training events will be launched soon – keep an eye on this page – but meanwhile there are videos to catch up with from last year’s webinars. As well as videos explaining the NPMS survey methodology, you can find out about the plants of a dozen different habitats covered by the NPMS. If you are already a seasoned recorder, have you looked to see if there is a NPMS square available near you? Or have you thought about becoming a NPMS mentor? And if you know any beginner botanists, why not point them towards the NPMS? With so much support and lots of resources on offer, signing up for the NPMS is an ideal way to get started in botanical recording.
New Year Plant Hunt: analysis of results
A full analysis of this year’s results is due for publication on Monday 14th February on our New Year Plant Hunt webpage. The analysis will be accompanied by a summary/ press release which will go out to our media contacts. We can say that almost 2,000 people recorded c700 wild or naturalised taxa in bloom between 1st and 4th January – the warmest New Year on record. Watch this space!
British & Irish Botany: issue 3.4 published
The December 2021 issue of British & Irish Botany, BSBI’s online, Open Access scientific journal, features Micheline Sheehy Skeffington (BSBI President-elect) & Nick Scott present compelling evidence that Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo was introduced to Ireland by Neolithic copper miners; Jonathan Briggs reviews the biology, range, uses and conservation status of Mistletoe Viscum album; Dan Minchin et al. report on how drones are being used to monitor the expansion of a colony of Water-soldier Stratiotes aloides in Co. Galway; Geoffrey Kitchener et al. report on new hybrid combinations for Square-stemmed Willowherb Epilobium tetragonum subsp. tournefortii; and Alistair Fitter, Kevin Walker et al. report on the occurrence and ecology of Gingerbread Sedge Carex elongata at Askham Bog, Yorkshire.
BSBI News: interesting plant finds reported in the January issue
The latest issue of BSBI's members-only newsletter features plant records from locations as diverse as a Northumberland road verge, a Winchester allotment and the coasts of Anglesey and Merseyside; there are articles exploring orchid records in the BSBI Distribution Database and what a historic herbarium can tell us about our changing flora. The January issue of BSBI News boasts 88 pages of essential reading for the botanical recorder and print copies have just been posted to members.
If you are not yet a BSBI member, you can download a sample issue and a free plant ID article. If you are already a member – why not send the sample issue to a friend or colleague who might be interested in joining BSBI?
BSBI grants for training, plant study and research
Applications for this year’s grants opened on 1st January and will close on 28th February. We offer Training Grants of up to £250 for beginner/ improver botanists keen to attend a short ID course; Plant Study Grants of up to £1000 for botany students; and Science & Research Grants aimed at academic researchers and PhD students. More information, application forms and links to blogposts from previous recipients, is on our Grants page. Please forward to anyone who might be interested.
New BSBI Handbook on Alchemilla
The latest title in the series of BSBI Handbooks, (No.24) Alchemilla: Lady’s-mantles of Britain and Ireland by Mark Lynes, is due to be published in April with a RRP of £20. A pre-publication offer, exclusive to BSBI members, is now open. Members will pay only £12.50 (excl. P&P). Further information about the Handbook, and details of how members can claim their discount, are available here and on the flyer inside the latest issue of BSBI News.
New Flora of the British Isles
The current 4th (and final) edition of Clive Stace’s New Flora of the British Isles was first published in January 2019. It was reprinted in August 2019 with a number of minor corrections. A second reprint (2021) is due to be published any day now and can be bought from Summerfield Books. It incorporates further corrections. It would be a good spring task to update any 4th editions you already have with these corrections. Or if you can’t bear to do that you can always fork out (again) and donate your old copy to a young budding botanist!
Field Meetings and Indoor Events
The 2022 programme of Field Meetings and Indoor Events is now available, both on this webpage and in the 2022 Yearbook. Print copies of the Yearbook have been posted to all members and an electronic version is available in the password-protected members-only area of the website. There are more than 30 events planned, subject to Covid-19 so do check local restrictions, keep an eye on the webpage for any updates and please contact the organiser before attending an event – do not just turn up!
As our recent membership and supporter survey showed, there is a desire for more field meetings, both national and local. If you are organising local meetings, do let us know and we can upload details to your county page. Or if you are a member in an area where there aren’t any local meetings, why not organise some? This could be just the start that is needed to form a new local botany group. This guide to Leading BSBI Field Meetings will help with planning.
BSBI Evening Talks
The next in the series of online evening talks organised by the BSBI is on Wednesday 2nd March at 7.30. It will be on Mountain Flowers by Alan Walker. Book your place.
Early Meadow-grass (Poa infirma)
If recording Poa infirma and or putative hybrids this spring, I would be very pleased to have (fresh) specimens for research. Please contact me initially for more details.
Mike Wilcox, [email protected]
Beware of scam emails
We've been alerted to some recent scam email attempts, with emails being sent to BSBI members which pretend to be from "BSBI" or named BSBI staff members, including myself. You can spot them from the sender's full email address, such as: Julia Hanmer <[email protected]> (rather than my actual email [email protected]). They often ask for urgent help and then follow up with a request for a money transfer.
Charities are being targeted by fraudsters who are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to extract money. If you receive a suspicious email, do not click on any links or open any attachments. Instead, look at the sender's full email address, not just the sender's name. If you are unsure whether it is fraud or not, please send a separate email to the correct work email address for the member of staff or individual, or ring them, to double check.
Read Gone phishing: how charities can spot email scams a mile off for more information.
BSBI Data Protection update
- Information should only be gathered from individuals with their consent and only that which is specifically needed for a given purpose.
- Always use a data privacy notice (see example in the Appendix to the Data Handling Policy) in any communication where you are collecting personal data, so people understand why we are collecting their data and how we will handle it.
- Make sure you hold personal data in a safe and secure format for example on a password protected laptop, or in a password protected file.
If you have any questions, please contact me.