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

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. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Golden dock in Montgomery

Yesterday I joined the Montgomeryshire Flora Group on one of their regular meetings. We saw several scarce species including golden dock Rumex maritimus (not usually a maritime species despite the name), green figwort Scrophularia umbrosa and great yellow-cress Rorippa amphibia. R. maritimus and S. umbrosa are rare plants in Montgomeryshire and indeed in Wales, although they are not scarce in Britain. In fact all these species have their main distribution in England, and so are interesting finds to those of us used to Wales. This sort of day highlights the differences between regions and therefore the value of the county rare plant registers. Thanks to Kate Thorne and the rest of the group for an interesting day out.

Golden dock Rumex maritimus

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Return to work

I am returning to work this week after my maternity leave with Robin. If anyone wishes to contact me I am now back at my desk and responding (hopefully) to emails and phone calls. I am now working three days a week (Wednesday - Friday).

I'd just like to say a big thank-you to Paul Green who did so much good work while I was away (and while I was back part-time in 2013-14).

Hopefully there will be some botanical matters to write about soon.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Brecknockshire Botany Group enjoying cake at Vicarage Meadows NR

 Cake made by Hannah Shaw as a leaving celebration for me (Paul), BSBI Welsh Officer. Only two days left in the job.
Below - group enjoying cake.
Photos below taken by John Crellin

Monday, 1 June 2015

Imperatoria ostruthium (Masterwort) re-found for Wales

 I was driving along and thought I have just seen Masterwort, as I hadn't seen it in Wales before I turned around to make sure my ID was correct! It was! Looking up on the BSBI DDb database I was surprised to see there haven't been any records for Masterwort in Wales for over 70 years. This patch was on the roadside between Bala and Trawsfyndd, VC48 Merioneth. It should be in flower in about a week.