Friday 18 December 2015

Happy Christmas

And the very best of seasonal good wishes for the New Year too. I thought I'd bring some highlights of Welsh botany and hopefully inspire a little winter activity.

I received a nomination for the BSBI Recorder of the Year (Wales), for Martyn Stead. Martyn has been a dedicated recorder for several years, active in several of the North Wales counties. This year he has been working a lot in Denbighshire and has accumulated over 13,000 records, of which over 8,000 are new tetrad records  and over 500 are new hectad records since the year 2000. Delyth Williams, vice-county recorder for Denbighshire, says that Martin's records are accurate and dependable, and he is also conscientious about following protocols (for example providing voucher specimens or photographs for uncommon species). This is a new award (sorry Martyn, there's no prize) but I'd be very keen to receive nominations for the 2016 award in due course. 

It has been a busy year for Welsh botanists, with over 60,000 records from 2015 already on the DDb. As well as making new records, there has clearly been a lot of work on computers, as an additional 250,000 records from before 2015 have been uploaded to the DDb. This is brilliant, as it lets us see where the gaps are for Atlas 2020, our major recording focus (for more on the Atlas see 

I thought I'd show you some maps of seasonal species. The coloured dots represent different date classes - blue and pink are those since 2000. Ideally we'd like to re-find all records that are older than 2000. These are both good species to record in the winter - Norway Spruce and other conifers can be quickly recorded on a bracing walk through the forest while you walk off your Christmas excesses, and Mistletoe can be spotted while the trees are bare. I wonder how many of the red dots could be filled in over the Christmas holidays (don't forget to send records to your vice-county recorder - contact me if you don't know who they are). For more maps, visit the BSBI's database at

Distribution map for Norway spruce,
Picea abies (also known as Christmas tree).

Distribution map for mistletoe,
Viscum album.
I'm also planning to join in the BSBI New Year Plant Hunt, which has been growing in recent years. For more information, see I'd be interested to hear about as many Welsh plant hunts as possible.