Scottish Botanists’ Conference

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2022

150 people enjoyed this year’s Scottish Botanists’ Conference, at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on Saturday 5 November. The two main talks by Clifton Bain and Shaila Rao were very popular. There was also a great variety of other short talks, workshops, exhibits and posters, the Scottish AGM, the Photographic Competition and, of course, Summerfield Books!

The event was face-to-face but we recorded the talks and here they are:

Rainforests and Peatlands: Travels around Scotland's most threatened habitats - Clifton Bain, Advisor to the IUCN UK Peatland Programme
What can you do with a completely sequenced flora? - Alex Twyford, University of Edinburgh
Vascular Epiphytes in Easter Ross - Brian Ballinger, BSBI & BSS
Update from Botanical Society of Scotland - Jill Thompson, BSS President
The Scottish Officer year - Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer
Plantlife Scotland update and plans - Alistair Whyte, Head of Plantlife Scotland
From The Bird's Mouth / Bho Bheul an Eòin - Derek Roberston
Plant Conservation at Mar Lodge National Nature Reserve - Shaila Rao, Conservation Manager, NTS Mar Lodge
Presentation to mark Jim McIntosh's retirement - by Lynne Farrell, BSBI President

There were also tours of the RBGE Herbarium & Library and six mini-workshops:

We had over 28 posters and exhibits and here are the Exhibition Abstracts.

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2021

An amazing 380 people registered for the online Scottish Botanists' Conference on the 6th November, with 240 viewers for the most popular talks. We had a great day of truly inspirational talks. Who knew that Seagrass meadows around our shores were so important for carbon sequestration? And that while some arctic-alpines are faring really well after 40 years of monitoring on Ben Lawers, others are not? There was a fascinating talk on Beinn Eighe, currently celebrating its 70th anniversary, and a beautifully illustrated talk on searching for rare arctic-alpines in West Affric. All this was followed by two great workshops - one on Larch ID and another on Polypody ID.

Check out the Scottish Botanists' Conference 2021 site, where you can watch recordings of the talks and workshops and peruse the exhibition and the BSBI Photographic Competition.

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2020

The Scottish Botanists' Conference was held online in 2020. We had an exciting programme of talks, workshops and exhibits spread over the weekend of Saturday 31st October and Sunday 1st November - all online and recorded. We've uploaded all the talks to YouTube and the exhibits can be viewed online.

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2019

We had a record attendance of 200 at the 2019 Scottish Botanists' Conference at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on 2 November. They enjoyed a packed and exciting day of botanical talks, workshops,  exhibits and posters, the BSBI Scottish AGM and meeting friends. Regular features included the Identification Helpdesk, the BSBI Photographic Competition and Summerfield Bookshop.

You can see images from the event, and read comments from the participants, on Twitter by clicking on the conference hashtag #ScotBotanistsConf. (You don't need a Twitter account.)

One of the highlights of the day was the selection of mini-workshops on offer: Introductions to grasses; ferns; The vegetative key and the BSBI database and more advanced workshops on separating difficult Species Pairs in the RBGE herbarium; on Firs and Duckweeds.  Here is the presentation and handout for the Duckweeds workshop which was lead by Helena Crouch & Fred Rumsey.

There just isn't enough time in the day to properly look at the exhibition so we have created a virtual exhibition with images of the posters and exhibits. Click on an image, zoom and pan around to read at your leisure, then click the right arrow to view the next image.

Abstracts of the 2019 Scottish Botanists' Conference Exhibition.

Scottish Botanists' Conference is a collaboration of the BSBI, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Botanical Society of Scotland.

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2019: programme

10.15      Welcome - Simon Milne, RBGE Regius Keeper & Chris Metherell, BSBI President

10.20    The BSBI Scottish Year – Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

10.40    The Botanical Society of Scotland Report – Julia Wilson, BSS President

10.50    Urban Flora of Scotland - notable finds 2015-19 – John Grace

11.30    Atlas 2020 – the final steps – Pete Stroh, BSBI England Officer

12.00    BSBI Scottish Annual General Meeting – Ian Strachan, Chair BSBI CfS

16.00    Twinflower Research & Conservation project – Diana Gilbert

16.15    The North Face Survey – Ian Strachan

16.30    Blue Sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina) in Scotland – Aline Finger, RBGE

17.15     Plants at the Margin in a changing climate Prof Robert Crawford

18.15     BSBI Photographic Competition  – Natalie Harmsworth

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2018

The 2018 Scottish Botanists' Conference took place on Saturday 3rd November at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 175 participants enjoyed a full programme of interesting short botanical talks, a great display of botanical exhibits and posters - and a wide selection of ID mini-workshops. Click on the link to download a pdf of all the abstracts for the 2018 Scottish Botanists' Conference.  Or view the exhibits, posters and abstracts in this virtual exhibition.  Click on an image, zoom and pan around to read and then click the left arrow to see the next exhibit.

Scottish Botanists' Conference 2018: programme

10.10 Welcome by Peter Hollingsworth, Director of Science, RBGE

10.15 The BSBI Scottish Year & BSBI Scotland AGM – Ian Strachan, Chair BSBI

10.40 The Botanical Society of Scotland (BSS) Report – Brian Ballinger, BSS

10.50  Plantlife Scotland update – Alistair Whyte, Head of Plantlife Scotland

11.30  Atlas 2020: the final year – Pete Stroh, BSBI English Officer

11.45 The National Plant Monitoring Scheme – Oli Pescott, CEH

15.40  How much pure wild Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) is there in Scotland? – Markus Ruhsam, RBGE

15.55  Eyebrights: past, present, future – Chris Metherell & Alex Twyford

16.15  The BSBI in Ireland – Maria Long, BSBI Irish Officer

17.00 Main talk:  Tree pathogens – Prof. Richard Ennos, University of Edinburgh

18.00 BSBI Photographic Competition Results  – Natalie Harmsworth

BSBI / BSS Scottish Annual Meeting 2017

The 2017 Scottish Annual Meeting was held on Saturday 4th November at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. We had 151 participate in a packed and exciting day of botanical talks, workshops, exhibits and posters.

The programme is given below and you can download pdfs of each presentation by clicking on the link.

You can also view abstracts of all the exhibits by downloading this pdf.

10.25      The BSBI Scottish Year & AGM – Robin Payne, BSBI Scottish Chair

10.50      The BSS Report – Brian Ballinger, BSS President

11.30      Atlas 2020 – Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

11.45      The Threatened Plants Project results – Pete Stroh, BSBI Scientific Officer

13.15     ID Mini-workshops

15.45      Marsh Saxifrage in Scotland - Dr Aline Finger, RBGE

16.00     Discovery of a Scottish Monkeyflower – Dr Mario Vallejo-Marin, University of Stirling

16.15      Plant monitoring & conservation SWT Stirling – Roy Sexton, SWT

17.00     Mountain Flowers – special guest speaker Mike Scott

BSBI / BSS Scottish Annual Meeting 2016

Just over 110 members enjoyed a packed day of talks, workshops, exhibits and meeting friends at the 2016 event which was held at Battleby Conference Centre, Perth on the 5th of November.

The highlight was the main talk on Aliens in the British Flora by Professor Mick Crawley. Mick is a brilliant and very entertaining speaker and introduced us to interesting concepts such as ‘enemy release’ whereby species that have left behind in their native environments most or all of their specialist natural enemies are able to thrive. He observed that some habitats are apparently more easily colonised by aliens than others e.g. waste ground and the built environment, compared with bog and salt marsh for example and concluded that relatively few alien plant species are invasive of semi-natural habitats in Britain. It was amazing to learn that the cost of removal of invasive species at the London Olympic 2012 site was £70 million and concluded that a few alien species are likely to prove to be extremely expensive to control. His talk showed us that studying aliens give us very interesting insights into plant ecology and evolution. You can see a pdf version of Mick’s talk or indeed many of the other Scottish Annual Meetings talks by clicking the links below.

10.15     Welcome & Introduction – John Faulkner, BSBI President

10.25     The BSBI Scottish Year – Robin Payne, Chairman, BSBI Committee for Scotland

10.50     The BSS Report – John Grace, BSS President

11.30     Atlas 2020 – Progress Report – Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

11.45     Atlas Recording in the Cairngorm National Park - Andy Amphlett, BSBI Recorder Banffshire

14.00    How I became a botanist - Michael Braithwaite, BSBI Recorder Emeritus

14.15     The sunny sides of summits - Jay Mackinnon, Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University

14.30     A year in the life of a Scottish Recorder - Stephen Bungard, BSBI Recorder North Ebudes

14.45     The biggest problems in European fern taxonomy?  - Fred Rumsey, NHM & BPS President

17.00     Main talk: Aliens in the British Flora, Professor Mick Crawley

The other great highlight of the day was the mini-workshops.  We offered six – two on popular taxonomic problems such as Identifying Agrostis (Arthur Copping) or Distinguishing Scaly Male-fern species (Fred Rumsey); three giving Introductions to Sedges (Chris Metherell), Stoneworts (Claudia Ferguson-Smyth) and microscope techniques (Sandy Edwards) respectively; and one giving members a chance to feedback on the BSBI Review. Handouts are available for some of these - just click the link. 

Thirty exhibitors mounted a tremendous display of botanical discovery and endeavour across Scotland and further afield. Read the Abstracts summarising their exhibits.

The day closed with the announcement of the winners of the BSBI Photographic Competition and then dinner together before we all headed home. A thoroughly enjoyable day for Scottish botanists and their guests from further afield.