All the taxa that are included within taxon names, e.g., for Festuca rubra agg. can be seen by doing a taxon search in the BSBI Database (DDb). To do that, select the DDb search option in the normal way, then click the down-arrow and change ‘Records’ to ‘Taxa’, enter Festuca rubra and click ‘display results’. Select the Festuca rubra agg. option and finally click the “sub-divisions” tab.
It is interesting to repeat this exercise for Festuca rubra (not the aggregate). The difference is that two other species, F. arenaria and F. heterophyllum are not included but all the Festuca rubra subspecies and varieties are. So, if you don’t have F. arenaria and F. heterophyllum in your vice-county you could just use Festuca rubra when recording. On the other hand, if you have both Festuca ovina and F. filiformis in your vice-county you should use Festuca ovina agg. where they are not determined to species.
Some MapMate users, when attempting to synch data via MapMate, are continuing to report that a message comes up telling them that they need to register. This is because they have yet to update their software to Replicator version 2.4.2. I mentioned this in the March newsletter, but perhaps I didn’t make it absolutely clear, that all MapMate users must update their software, otherwise they will be not be able to synch again.
So, following the guidance on https://mapmate.co.uk/alex/ do a full backup first and then update your software. Why not do it right now while it is fresh in your memory?
After you update your MapMate, it is important to ensure that all your records have actually made it to the DDb, as it is very easy for records to go astray, especially if previous synchs were unsuccessful. To do that, reset your synch record with each of your partners in turn and go through the synching process as normal. Here are step-by-step instructions. When synchs are successfully received you should get an acknowledgement email.
National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS)
The field season for the NPMS is now well underway and there are some helpful resources to assist all plant monitors, such as the series of webinars on subjects including ‘A closer look at dry deciduous woodland’ and ‘Bog and wet heath – identifying the fine-scale habitats’. Many of these resources are helpful to anyone involved in plant recording and they are freely available for everyone to watch! Take a look at the NPMS Webinar Recordings playlist and you’ll find 21 full-length videos to enjoy at leisure. If you then decide to support the NPMS by signing up for a square, why not look to see if there is a NPMS square available near you?
Scottish HectAd Rare Plant Project
We’ve spruced up the Scottish HectAd Rare Plant Project (SHARPP) for 2022 with an improved database query to identify target species, simplified recording forms and an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions. Another major change is that we are asking County Recorders to enter their own records, including nul records importantly, via MapMate.
The project aims to search for and record notable species populations in hectads where they have not been recorded since 2000. If you have yet to participate, take a look at the updated project page and get involved! It provides interesting identification and recording learning opportunities and is a great project for local groups and members (who should always liaise with the County Recorder first).
Aquatic Plant Project
The first Aquatic Plant Project webinar in 2022 will be held this Saturday 11th June at 10am. Nick Stewart will present an Introduction to Broad-leaved Pondweed ID, followed by a short talk on How to preserve aquatic plant specimens. Like all our webinars, you will be able to ask questions during Q&A sessions following the talks. There will be two further webinars in this year’s programme; on Narrow-leaved Pondweeds and on Bladderworts & Water-milfoils.
There will also be an Aquatic Plant training day at Quin, County Clare on Sunday 10th July, to explore the surrounding lakes, looking at submerged plants, with an emphasis on Pondweeds, as nearly all those that occur in Ireland are found here. It will be led by Cilian Roden and me, Paul Green.
Everyone is very welcome to these events – but booking is essential. Please click the links to book or see the Aquatic Plant Project page for more information – and forward to anyone you think might be interested. All the events are free, thanks to funding by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.
English Botanical News
The 2022 English Botanical News has been distributed to County Recorders in England and is now available on the BSBI English Botanical News page along with back-issues. There are the usual VC round-ups, reports from the England Annual Meeting, details of Project LORE (the project to re-find some of the species apparently missing during the Atlas 2020 recording period), some hints and tips, articles and lots of wonderful images of plants and people.
England Annual Meeting
Recordings of all the talks given at the England Annual Meeting back in February are now available on the BSBI England Annual Meeting playlist. I particularly enjoyed Matt Pitts’ talk on Using BSBI data to target habitat restoration. Take a look!
BSBI Data Protection
We continue to get queries from County Recorders on how they can get in contact with local members. As mentioned in the March issue of Recorder eNewsletter, if you need access to members' contact details for a specific purpose covered by our Data Handling Policy, we would be happy to arrange it. In this case, please get in touch with me and I can explain the simple and quick process that allows us to send you local members' contact details.
Plant specimens wanted!
- Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is said to have two ploidy types (2x & 4x). It would be great if readers might send me one or two of larger flowers to look at pollen size to see if any can be attributed to either ploidy along with any other character that may be useful. Stems are not required (keep flowers separate if from different plants).
- Green and Grey Field-speedwell (Veronica agrestisand V. polita) seem to cause difficulties which may in part be due to keys over relying on hair characters of the capsules. A third taxon was once recorded in Britain (see Clement & Foster) called opaca. However, it is worth checking these two taxa. I would be interested in any fruiting material of them.
- I'm also investigating pairs of grasses that are difficult to distinguish. One such pair is Great Brome (Anisantha diandra) and Ripgut Brome (A. rigida). The two taxa are difficult to separate but are considered to have different chromosome numbers (2n=56 and 42 respectively) and both are treated variously from species to variety. I would be interested in specimens to examine in more detail and to perhaps try and assess the possible link between ploidy, stomatal size and other physical characters. Please contact me for any further details.