Wednesday 21 December 2016

Seasons greetings - and New Year coming up

Once more it is time to wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Once the main festivities are over, it will be time to get out for the BSBI's New Year Plant Hunt. This is now an annual fixture, and we expect more people than ever to be involved - for more information on the requirements, see the BSBI website. This year there are special apps to download, to enable the data to be collected and collated more efficiently, so please take note - and this is an interesting opportunity to dabble in "mobile recording" if you haven't yet. If you don't have a smartphone, don't worry, we are expecting a desktop version of the app which will hopefully be available from the website very soon. For more information, see the BSBI's News and Views blog, or follow on Twitter or Facebook.

If you want to join me, and Delyth Williams, in Denbighshire, we hope to go out on the last possible day - Wednesday 4th January (fingers crossed the weather is ok - might have to go somewhere on Monday just to get a list in in case it pours on Wednesday).  We will meet at the beach carpark in Llanddulas at 10.30. Please contact me (email/ mobile phone) in advance in case the plan changes - bring warm clothes and perhaps a thermos in case we need to warm up. Last year's was wet - see my blog post here. And if you'd like me to post information about your plan, please email it - John Crellin is the only other Welsh one I've heard, meeting on Monday 2nd January at Ystradgynlais - but please contact John for more details. For their last year's hunt, see John's blog.

Denbighshire 2016

Before I wish everyone a Happy Christmas, I was sent a report from Delyth Williams, the Vice-County Recorder for Denbighshire. Delyth asked if I would like to put this on the website, or on my blog - and why not? I'd be happy to share reports from any or all the Welsh counties, perhaps more to come over the next few months.

Delyth writes:

Denbs Group 2016 - some recollections. 

The year started off on 6th March in the Ruthin Rugby Club for an update of progress and plans for the season, followed by a much-needed look at plants in the Llanfwrog tetrad. Even though it was bitterly cold we set off, but when the sleet and snow took over while we were in the church yard we decided to call it a (very short) day.

Thereafter there were about 15 advertised Denbs Group meetings over the season, plus a few short-term weather dependent arrangements. Add that to several independent recorders who have contributed considerably from their respective tetrads and the total comes to over 20,000 records from VC50 Denbs for 2016.

The main thrust of this year’s selection was to visit previously recorded tetrads at a different time of year to ensure best possible coverage. On the whole the weather was kind to us with the notable exception of a day of monsoon scale in June in Pentrellyncymer SH9752. We persevered though and were well-rewarded with new sites for Sedum forsterianum Rock stonecrop, Melica nutans Mountain Melick, Vicia orobus Wood Bitter-vetch, Carex pallescens Pale sedge and some lovely specimens of Araucaria araucana  Monkey-puzzle trees scattered through the village.
Sedum forsterianum (Rock Stonecrop)
Sedum forsterianum (Rock Stonecrop)

On 1st May a visit to the far west of the vice-county to Llanrwst SH7962/3 added 219 new taxa, most noteworthy some lovely estate planted trees such as Sequoiadendron giganteum Wellingtonia, Cedrus libanii Cedar of Lebanon, Abies grandis Giant Fir and Carpinus betulus Hornbeam. The origin and history of the trees in this area would merit further study. Asplenium ceterach Rustyback fern, although not rare, is always pleasing to find and it is common in these parts in the mortar of walls.
We went south in early June to Moelfre SJ1828, adding 199 new taxa. It was a lovely day in these gentle unspoilt hills yielding Saxifraga tridactylites Rue-leaved Saxifrage new to the hectad and Jasione montana Sheep’s-bit, Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush and Myosotis discolour Changing Forget-me-not which are not uncommon, just pleasing to see.

A few hardy souls yomped for many hours in July over the Migneint looking for Carex magellanica Tall bog-sedge, which we re-found and Carex limosa Bog-sedge, which we didn’t.

August took us to Nant-y-Rhiw SH8258 where we confirmed two locations for Carex laevigata Smooth-stalked Sedge, which is by no means common and where Aphanes arvensis Parsley-piert, Lepidium didymum Lesser Swine-cress and Odontites vernus Red Bartsia were new to SH85. There was a surprising find of Thalictrum minus Lesser Meadow-rue doing well in the mortar all over the walls of the old chapel.

Stunning views of familiar places from a different angle made a September meeting to Ty Nant, Dinmael SH9944 enjoyable. We topped up more records for the tetrad, finding Vicia tetrasperma and Chenopodium rubrum Red-footed Goosefoot, both new to the hectad.

John Palmer organised a successful Bramble recording week-end in July with experts Rob Randall and David and Joyce Earl based in Llysfasi College. A full report will be in the BSBI Yearbook.

The season ended on 30th October along the limestone of Offa’s Dyke Path at Llandegla SJ1952/3, adding 145 new taxa and showing promise of a place to re-visit next Spring.

Very many thanks to all those of you who came along and let’s look forward to another good year in 2017. If you weren’t able to make it this year, there’s always next!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Guest post - roses in Montgomeryshire

When member (and regular recorder) Ruth Dawes sent me some lovely photographs, I thought more people would like to see them... and then she wrote me a guest article on the event in question. Big thanks to Ruth - and if anyone else would like a "guest post" on this blog please just send me an article and some photos!

Ruth writes:

Kate Thorne’s Botanical Workshop for Montgomeryshire Flora Group  on 11th October 2016 

A dozen intrepid botanists came from the west (Wales and borders) to Church Pulverbatch in the foothills of the Long Mynd and Stiperstones in Shropshire.  This delightful remote village is recorded in the Domesday Book and is believed to be the site of a prehistoric fort.  There was to be no traversing the ankle twisting rocks of the Stiperstones ridge today.  Our aim was to study Rosa, Chenopodiaceae and other groups.  We were warmly welcomed into Kate and John Thorne’s lovely farmhouse kitchen, where we had delicious coffee made in Kate’s new milk frother machine.   As this was accompanied by Sylvia Backhouse’s seed, fruit and quality cocoa rondels, Sue Southam’s cheese straws and M&S chocolate biscuits; here was a taste of what was to come.

Soon we were immersed in specimens and Kate’s excellent handouts.  Kate’s long term knowledge of the genera was imparted in an easy informal manner, ably assisted by retired husband, John, a talented gardener, who had grown numerous wild roses from cuttings.   Fresh specimens were regularly brought in from the garden in case we should start chatting again instead of working.  Gradually we separated out the dog roses from the downy roses and the sweet briars; even if our noses weren’t refined enough to detect apple (sweet briar) or Cherry Blossom boot polish (downy).  Technical terms were patiently explained verbally as well as being available on handouts with line drawings.  We learned (or relearned) everything from acicles, through subulate to villous.

At lunchtime, a veritable feast appeared before us.  Not only Kate and John’s homemade tomato and lentil and potato and lovage soups, but also hot pizzas and miniature savoury flans for starters, quickly followed by salads, turkey, cheeses and artisan bread, chutneys  and pickles, provided by numerous talented people in the group.  We finished with a Rosa and Rubus cake made by Ruth, washed down with Appletize, complete with a toast from Steve to Kate for her birthday on the 12th.  We managed a reasonable rendering of Happy Birthday both in English and Welsh too.  At last we were allowed out and Max the lurcher was delighted to join in the fun.  We practiced again outside in the garden.  (I couldn’t help admiring the way Kate coped with this big garden, not to mention playing church organ and ringing the bells when John was still working as a GP in Shetland.) 
Serving the Appletize

Ruth's Rosa and Rubus cake

We then needed to walk off some of the ubiquitous food so we pottered off to a nearby field (with permission) to see superb fresh specimens of Orobanche minor parasitic on agricultural red clover planted for winter sheep feed.  It was a real surprise to see the Common Broomrape looking so fresh.
Orobanche minor parasitic on agricultural red clover

After admiring the hilly view of south Shropshire, we were ushered back to focus on aquatics, arable weeds and Atriplex.  A big specimen of Potamogeton polygonifolius taught us not to rely on size of leaves alone for ID of this species and various tips about veins and hinges or lack of the latter were passed round.  We noted that Petty Spurge had petioles, which was handy to remember.

Finally Steve Attwood-Wright produced some of his splendid samples of colourful, expertly woven cloth and produced an FSC laminated guide to explain how he hoped to work on some patterns with fine botanical detail.
Steve demonstrating his colourful woven cloth and ideas for future fine botanical detail

Many thanks to Kate and John for a superb day.  I have since spotted Rosa tomentosa at a new site so the retraining worked.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Dryopteris and more over the weekend

Despite a most inclement weather forecast, sixteen intrepid pteridologists joined the workshop this weekend. Most of the group joined Fred Rumsey on Friday evening for an introductory talk, but I met them on Saturday morning, after driving through pouring rain to Glydyr forest. For many of us the key aim was to become more confident with the Dryopteris affinis agg., and the first site did not disappoint as we rapidly saw D. filix-mas (for comparison), followed by D. affinis, D. borreri and D. cambrensis, then \D. oreades, and plenty more to compare. D. dilatata was also in this site, bringing the species (of Dryopteris) count to six!

Fred Rumsey explaining the characters of Dryopteris affinis (Scaly Male-fern)
Having found all the Dryopteris in the area, we also visited an old mine site, and saw this curious plant.
Asplenium septentrionale (Forked Spleenwort)
After a very damp lunch, and thoroughly drippy, we decided we had seen all we were likely to see in the area, and returned to Plas Tan-y-Bwlch for the benefits of a drying room, hot cups of tea, and a nice dry study room, in which to study the specimens of the morning (as well as an extensive collection of Dryopteris brought by Fred and by Helena Crouch). It proved much easier to use a hand-lens in the study room, and after dinner we were rewarded for our hard work with a fascinating after-dinner slideshow from Fred, about the many species and hybrids of Dryopteris. 
The workroom with many specimens of Dryopteris. 
Next day we were glad to wake to clear blue skies and a cold autumnal feel in the air, as we started our day with a visit to Coed Ganllwyd, where we saw Dryopteris aemula (Hay-scented Buckler-fern) and also both species of Hymenophyllum (Filmy-ferns). This was a beautiful example of the Welsh rainforest - Atlantic oak woodland simply dripping with spray from the waterfall, and covered with ferns and bryophytes.
Dryopteris aemula (Hay-scented Buckler-fern)
Botanists by the waterfall
We then had a drive over to another completely contrasting site, on Eglwyseg Rocks, where we walked up a steep and narrow path in bright warm sunshine, to see Dryopteris submontana (Rigid Buckler-fern) within a small area of limestone.  This baked dry site is another very special one and we also took a quick look at Sorbus cuneifolia (Llangollen Whitebeam) growing nearby.
Botanists walking across limestone scree
Dryopteris submontana (Rigid Buckler-fern)
Sorbus  cuneifolia (Llangollen Whitebeam)
It proved to be a great weekend, with such contrasting sites, and plenty of ferns. The grand total came to eight species of Dryopteris, six species of Asplenium, and a further 11 species, bringing us to 25 ferns in total. 

This workshop was very popular, and there was a long waiting list, so we hope to run it again next year. Priority may well be given to those who tried to book but were unable to get a place this year. 

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Getting pteridological

While an intrepid group of fern-studiers are getting ready for this weekend's Dryopteris workshop with Fred Rumsey, I was out hunting for a special little fern last week in Caernarvonshire (with Wendy and Mari). 
Polystichum lonchitis (Holly Fern)
There were some other interesting alpines around, including this: 
Oxyria digyna (Mountain Sorrel)

Friday 9 September 2016

Orchids and more Eyebrights

After the Welsh AGM the next event on my Welsh calendar was the Caerdeon recording meeting over a weekend in Merionethshire. I was able to join for two full days although unfortunately not the final day, when I had hoped to join Martin Rand and others climbing up a mountain to look for Circaea alpina (Alpine Enchanter's-nightshade) and other treasures. In the event the weather was very poor anyway...

The real highlight of Caerdeon was the group who found Hammarbya paludosa (Bog Orchid) - as already reported in BSBI News and Views. 
Hammarbya paludosa (Bog Orchid) Photo: Sarah Stille
Back in the office in August, I heard about another exceptional find, of Pseudorchis albida (Small-white Orchid) in Radnorshire. Congratulations to the excellent finders of these two! You can read more about both these species in the BSBI Species Accounts. 
Pseudorchis albida (Small-White Orchid) Photo and record: Sorcha Lewis
Towards the end of August I spent a little while looking at more Euphrasias (Eyebrights), collecting specimens which I was able to take to the Recorders' Conference and Chris Metherell was able to confirm them. There was a full range, including E. arctica and E. nemorosa, and E. officinalis subsp. anglica and pratensis from a range of sites I've visited in the last few months. One specimen though seemed just too difficult and Chris took it away for further examination. However, I was glad to find I had correctly identified one or two of them myself using the keys (a preview of the new Euphrasia handbook which is awaited most eagerly)! For more reporting on Recorders' Conference please visit the BSBI News and Views blog. 
Chris Metherall describing various parts of Euphrasia (Eyebrights) at Recorders' Conference. Photo: Sue Townsend

Wednesday 27 July 2016


From Carmarthenshire the next stop was Brecon, for the Welsh AGM. This was a great few days. I was joined by a few keen people on the Tuesday morning to visit Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, where we saw some treasures - from Asplenium viride (Green Spleenwort) which turned out to be very common in the area - to Antennaria dioica (Mountain Everlasting) - one of my particular plants of interest, which almost eluded us but turned up at the end of the day, close to where we had started.
Asplenium viride (Green Spleenwort)

Genista pilosa (Hairy Greenweed)

Antennaria dioica (Mountain Everlasting)
Two days later I found myself balancing along ledges high on the slopes of Cribin, in pursuit of the Attenborough's Hawkweed, along with Tim Rich, who found and named the new species. There was plenty else to see up there though. 
Ledge vegetation - Sedum rosea (Roseroot) in centre with Scabiosa columbaria (Small Scabious)

Tim Rich with the Hieracium Attenboroughianum (Attenborough's Hawkweed)
Back in Brecon there were excellent talks each evening - James Cresswell gave us a potted geological history of the Earth, illustrated by Brecknockshire; Mike Porter talked about the history of botanical recording in Brecknockshire (preceeded by a short talk from me about Welsh Rare Plant Registers) and Ray Woods talked about the conservation of plants and fungi - stressing the importance of good knowledge of our rare plants and fungi - and of joined-up thinking in terms of sharing the knowledge. 

There were a range of interesting exhibits including an impressive collection of live plants grown by Andy Shaw, some Hedge Brambles in Brecknockshire from Mike Porter, photographs from John Crellin illustrating the activity of the Brecknock Botany Recording Group and Brecknock Mistletoe records, some hybrids with missing parents from Andy Jones, and some details of the Polypodii of Flintshire by Martyn Stead. 

It was an impressively organised few days as ever, and the weather was remarkably good for a field meeting. 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

A visit to Carmarthenshire

I managed to join the recording group at Glynhir for one day out a week ago. We were assigned a monad with only two post-2000 records, so it was all a surprise. We began walking along a lane and then a footpath across fields - and some lovely fields they were, like this for example with the Carmarthenshire (and South Wales) speciality, Carum verticillatum (Whorled Caraway) turning the field white.
Carum verticillatum, Whorled Caraway, in a meadow.
Eventually having had enough lanes, and to increase our potential species list, we ventured up onto a hillside, which at first glance seemed unrewarding, covered in bracken and coarse grass. But determination was rewarded when we stumbled across a small but delightful bog, where this Drosera rotundifolia Round-leaved Sundew was spotted, amongst a host of other delights. 
Drosera rotundifolia, Round-leaved Sundew, with Narthecium ossifragum, Bog Asphodel
By the end of the day the tetrad had (I think) well over 200 species, so that was one small contribution to the Atlas 2020 coverage for the county. Meanwhile, my children had a great time chasing the ducks at Glynhir!

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Eyebrights, cowbane and a busy July coming up...

Last week I met up with a number of botanists in Dolwyddelan who were equally brave or foolish as I am - it was pouring with rain. Luckily some had come prepared with specimens, so after a brief half-hour foray we called discretion the better part of valour and retired with a hot drink to go through some Euphrasia keys. This was for me the first proper attempt since the workshop in February, and there are still some big challenges there! But I do now have some specimens pressing to take to some upcoming events to see if anyone can confirm the identification. We hope to repeat the day, perhaps in Denbighshire in August, so if you are interested in informal Euphrasia identification please do get in touch for more details in the near future.

When I got home (early) the rain was pausing and I decided to investigate a site I've wanted to return to for a while. A new housing estate has been built adjacent to a pond which was the only county site for cowbane (Cicuta virosa). It had been fenced off for a few years during the building works and I was hoping that it would still be there. Luckily, it seems that this time the developers have been advised well, as the pond remains, as does the cowbane, well fenced off and next to a meadow which looks like it may be left for conservation. At least from the point of view of the cowbane, this development does not seem to have been a bad thing.
Cowbane (Cicuta virosa) happily by the pond with new housing in the background.
July is a busy month for botanists in Wales. This week is the annual Glynhir recording week in Carmarthenshire (which I shall be joining briefly at the end of the week). Next week is the Welsh AGM in Brecon. The programme for this looks great, and currently the weather doesn't look bad either. Due to a cancellation, there is a double room (in fact a one-bedroom cottage) available for a late booking! If you can come for several days it is great value - so please contact John Crellin, the organiser. At the end of the following week, the Caerdeon recording weekend in Merionethshire also promises great botanical excursions, a chance to contribute to local recording, and a nice chance to socialise with some friendly botanists. If you are unable to commit to the whole weekend, the organisers will still undoubtedly be glad to see you for a day of botanising.

Wednesday 8 June 2016


One of the top species we hope to monitor this year is Trollius europaeus, globeflower (cronell in Welsh). Trollius is listed on the Welsh Section 42 list (Section 42 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 lists species of principal importance for conservation of biological diversity in Wales). Trollius is not nationally scarce (it is widespread in northern England and Scotland) and is not red-listed, but it may still be declining.

Trollius likes wet environments, but is not so fussy about pH and nutrient status. However, it seems to be vulnerable to over-grazing, and although it is perennial it may not reproduce easily (it requires a specific fly to pollinate it, seedlings are vulnerable to slugs, and the seedbank is not long-lived. For more information see the BSBI Species Account.

Two weeks ago I visited two sites - firstly a river site with Lucia Ruffino, where we found one site on a small rocky island, and then two more smaller sites upstream. These rocky river sites must be protected from grazing, but they must also be vulnerable to winter floods... they must have deep roots to survive last year. But it is hard to see these small clumps as anything but a relict population. I would envision a scheme to collect seed and reestablish it in riverside pasture, but creating the right conditions for germination and survival would be challenging!
Trollius on a small island...
There are plenty more small riverside plants not far away along the Afon Conwy.

The next day I went out with some of the Merioneth Nats group, on the shores of Llyn Tegid, where we found a much larger population, with hundreds of plants flowering in lakeside woodland. This appears a much more sustainable population; I visited nearly 2km of lakeshore and there was one large population and several smaller outliers. It is hard to imagine it wouldn't be found on other sections of the lake shore.

Trollius widespread in lakeside woodland...
It would be really good to receive details of other populations of Trollius - to get an idea of the different populations in Wales, and how healthy they seem. Please do get in touch if you would be interested. I'll be visiting several sites (especially in North Wales - Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, Denbighshire) over the next few months and if you'd like to join me just drop me an email! 

Wednesday 18 May 2016

More North Wales Limestone

Still in North Wales on the limestone outcrops, here is the green-winged orchid. The only previous detailed record I had seen said 16 spikes, but last week I found around 70, and a few more just into the next 10km square. This is a great time of year to visit your local populations and check on them - a count is useful.
Anacamptis morio - Green-winged orchid

Thursday 12 May 2016

A day on the Orme

I had the joy of spending a day on the Great Orme with Wendy McCarthy, the county recorder (and others) yesterday. Wendy lives on the Orme so her knowledge is unrivalled. We began with a visit to the sole remaining plant of Antennaria dioica - mountain everlasting. Another population on the Orme seems to have disappeared - after grazing was reduced the sward is so much longer and thicker. Could Antennaria still be present but invisible? We would hope so, but the reintroduction of sheep grazing is an urgent need. 
Antennaria dioica - mountain everlasting
 We paid a visit to the Cotoneaster cambricus - wild cotoneaster, behind its rabbit-proof fence, which appears to be doing well, although propagation efforts are paused while an investigation into possible hybridisation is carried out. Nearby, we saw the Hieracium cambricum - Welsh hawkweed - spotty with big teeth!
Hieracium cambricum - Welsh hawkweed
 Back at the southern end of the Orme, Helianthemum oelandicum - hoary rockrose - was coming into flower and preparing for a fine show. We visited some of the other specialities of the Orme - although Cerastium pumilum - dwarf mouse-ear - was drying up and past its best.
Helanthemum oelandicum - hoary rockrose
 Hippocrepis comosa - horseshoe vetch - was in fine flower, glorious yellow. We tried a count of flowering plants, although these varied in size from one or two flowering shoots to ten or more. Then we realised there were plenty of small, non-flowering plants, including seedlings - this seems to be a healthy population structure.

Hippocrepis comosa - horseshoe vetch
 Finally, something that is not really a rarity, though it is only found on western coasts. Scilla verna - spring squill. I love this little plant, but I would definitely describe it as blue. The "Rough Crew" in Ireland reported a sighting but described it as a delicate pink. Are Irish squills a different colour to Welsh ones?
Scilla verna - spring squill

Friday 22 April 2016

Spring is finally here!

Up in the woods in Denbighshire this week, leaves are beginning to appear. Only just out, can you recognise these? I'm not sure I would if I didn't know the spot and wasn't looking for it specifically (scroll down for a more unfurled picture)!

I love this time of year when the woodland spring flowers really are coming out. Bluebells are now beginning to open in their masses, the verges of the A55 are yellow with cowslips, the primroses are everywhere and I do love wood anemones. 

Wood anemone - Anemone nemorosa
 Sadly I can't join the Merioneth naturalists on their visit to Coed Dolbebin today, and I also missed the BSBI meeting at the Great Orme last weekend. But nevertheless the field season is beginning and I do hope to get out a lot more and meet plenty of Welsh botanists in the field this year.

And that seedling I saw at the top of the page? Scroll down if you want to see - one of our really distinctive and certainly not a common plant...

Herb Paris - Paris quadrifolia

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Bright eyes at Treborth...

On Saturday I was amongst a group of botanists - apparently one of us was the 100th to participate in Chris Metherell's introduction to Eyebrights (Euphrasia).

With no prior knowledge of the genus, I was a little nervous about the course, but I was delighted to find the day whizzed past.

Chris gave us an introduction, which largely explained how to look at eyebrights - and there really is a great deal of detail. I have a much clearer idea of the distinction between upper cauline leaves and lower floral leaves, but I think I still need practice in looking at the tips of leaf teeth to discriminate between acute, acuminate and aristate! However, the new keys that Chris has produced take you through which are the most important features.

After the introduction we spent the middle part of the day (with a break for lunch) looking at various herbarium specimens - some fairly old and brown from the Bangor University herbarium, and some still relatively green from Chris' own herbarium.

I began to really look forward to summer, when I hope to test my new-found skills in the field - and I hope that many of the characters will be much easier to determine on fresh specimens.

We were lucky enough to be using the teaching lab at Treborth Botanic Garden, a place familiar to Bangor alumni and locals. And this course was very much aimed at locals, with most of the participants coming from North Wales (a few from North West England). Chris focussed on the species we would be likely to encounter in Wales.

A big thank-you to Chris - who left us all full of enthusiasm - and we hope to practice our skills in the field before long. I for one am also looking forward very much to the publication of the new Euphrasia handbook, hopefully within the next year.

Thursday 18 February 2016

Field meetings 2016

It's been a few weeks now since the Yearbook arrived on my doorstep, and there are a great selection of field meetings for this year. For me it is now a matter of juggling my calendar with my family to decide how many I can manage to get to.

My first priority will be the Welsh AGM (12th-15th July), which is always a great event. This year it's down in Brecon, and there is a great offer for accommodation, with a single price £160 for a room for up to four nights - a great price if you can stay all week and even better if you can share a room. There will be some great excursions - chances to explore the Brecon Beacons or the canal and Wye, and some special sites including Stanner Rocks and Vicarage Meadows. For more details click here. 

I'm organising a couple of training meetings in Wales - there may still be one or two places on the beginners' Euphrasia workshop on 12th March (and more places on 13th if there are any improvers out there?). However, the Drypoteris course in October (1st-2nd) is now fully booked - although I will add names to a waiting list if desired. There is also a grass training weekend in Glamorgan with the excellent Arthur Copping (25th-26th June) which I suspect will provide more than the advertised introduction, and a brambles weekend at the end of July (29th-31st) in Denbighshire which should be very interesting.

The recording weeks in Merionethshire (22-25 July) and Carmarthenshire (4th-11th July) are always very enjoyable - and for me, a great chance to keep my field skills polished up.

Hopefully I will see plenty of you at some of these meetings - but do send the organisers an email if you are interested and haven't done so yet!

Sunday 3 January 2016

New Year Plant Hunt 2016

Despite a much less than pleasant weather forecast, I met Georgina and Martyn at Acton Park in Wrexham to begin our attempt at the New Year Plant Hunt. 

Plant Hunt Selfie!
The rain stayed away for a few hours; we found a number of plants around the edges of the park and the surrounding area.  Can anyone help identify this garden marigold wandering into Acton Park? 

After a lunch break we decided to move on a bit to the Wrexham Industrial estate, which did indeed provide more variety; including four species of Vicia (tetrasperma, cracca, hirsuta and sativa; also Medicago lupulina and arabica) and also Euronymus europaeus. By the end we had totted up 57 species, not a record for Wales but satisfying nevertheless. The top family was unsurprisingly Asteraceae with 14 species; second place more surprisingly was Fabaceae with 7 and third was Brassicaceae with 6. We also found four grasses open and flowering (Poa annua, Arrhenatherum elatius, Dactylis glomerata and Lolium perenne). My photos are not up to much but here is a selection as a collage... 

For more information or to take part in your own New Year Plant Hunt (up to the 4th Jan) see BSBI News and Views

Other Welsh hunts have been Tim Rich with 59 species in Cardiff; John Warren with 27 in Aberystwyth, and a whopping 67 in the Chepstow area from the Monmouthshire Botany Group. 

Friday 1 January 2016

New Year Plant Hunt

Happy New Year! Would anyone local-ish like to join me tomorrow on Saturday 2nd January at Acton Park in Wrexham for a New Year Plant Hunt? The aim is to find as many plants in flower as possible in three hours, although we could also do some general recording. 

Meet at 11 am at SJ345 518. Let me know if you plan to come (if the weather is appalling we'll cancel or possibly postpone to the Sunday. I'm prepared to go in moderate weather but not driving snow or rain! Warm clothes and thermoses?

If you're not local why not have your own hunt? For more information see the BSBI publicity blog