The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland

This title by David Pearman, co-author of the New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora (2002) and of the Hybrid Flora of the British Isles (2015), was published by BSBI in November 2017.

The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland is 450 pages long and comprises accounts of the first records of 1670 taxa in Britain, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man.

For each species, there is the first literature reference, the first evidence and extensive notes. The book also features an introduction, more than 900 references and extensive appendices comprising:

  • a relatively critical account of every significant national flora or herbal since 1538;
  • a list of the principal periodicals from 1666 to date;
  • lists of census catalogues and lists of plants;
  • details of county floras with a very good history of discovery;
  • books on the history of botany;
  • developments in Ireland, Scotland and Wales;
  • and on the major herbaria whose contents are known, however broadly.

These are supplemented by a list of the discoverers of each plant, where known, with leads to more sources almost all of these (just about 500 names) and lists of the plants they discovered. The author believes that the sum of these appendices is more comprehensive than anything else available.

The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland is available from specialist booksellers such as Summerfield Books at a cost of £20 (plus postage & packing). The pre-publication offer of £14 + P&P, exclusive to BSBI members, has now closed.

To find out more about The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland and to read an interview with author David Pearman, please click here.

Sample species account from The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland:

Aconitum napellus
*‘Found by Rev. Edw. Whitehead [in 1819] in a truly wild state on the bank of a brook, and on the river Teme in Herefordshire'. - Purton (1821: 47n.) VC36 1821.
‘by the side of the brook a few yards above Gossart Bridge between Ludlow and Burford, in abundance, 1799'. - Rev. E. Williams, m/s Flora of Shropshire
(in Shropshire County archives). VC40 1799
A very doubtful native even in Herefordshire and Shropshire. There are earlier records as a certain alien; for instance Druce cites 'Coln, Gloster; Iver, Bucks, Lightfoot, prior to 1786. Sibthorp ms.'.