Scroll down for: new scientific papers; forthcoming workshops and conferences; news about BSBI books and periodicals; field meetings and training opportunities; BSBI in the media; podcasts; what's new on the BSBI website; job vacancies for botanists; requests from BSBI members; and much much more...
Job opportunities for botanists!
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is advertising for several field surveyors with botanical and/or butterfly and bumblebee identification skills for a Natural England monitoring project. Fixed term contracts, May-August 2019. Locations: various across England. Deadline to apply: 23rd January 2019. Details are here.
BSBI grants for 2019 are now open!
You can now apply for BSBI Training Grants, Plant Study Grants and Science & Research grants; details and application forms are available on our Training page, where you will also find details of short botany courses and grants from other organisations.
BSBI past President John Faulkner recognised in New Year's honours list
Head over to the BSBI Ireland page to find out more.
New Year Plant Hunt
A paper by Tim Rich, Andy McVeigh and Clive Stace has just been published listing new taxa and new combinations in the British flora. Many are in the family Gentianaceae and you can also now download a pdf of Tim's Gentians talk, given at the BSBI Recorders' Conference in October.
Welsh AGM 2019: bookings now open
Head over to the Welsh AGM webpage to see the flyer and to book asap for the BSBI Wales AGM 2019.
Ash die-back: new paper
Interesting open access paper on ash die-back just published in the first issue of a new journal called Plants - People - Planet. Read the paper here.
Focus on herbaria
BSBI President Chris Metherell is behind a new initiative to encourage botanists across Britain & Ireland to use their local herbarium (use it or lose it!). To support Chris's initiative, we've set up a new Herbaria webpage with some great resources - links to articles, videos and a herbarium curators' feed on Twitter; a spreadsheet showing contact details for herbaria across Britain and Ireland; and a direct link to the new Gmail account where you can contact Chris about all things herbaria. If you can help update contact details for any of the 167 herbaria on the list, Chris would love to hear from you.
Botanical Research Fund
Applications have now opened for this fund which makes small grants (usually £200-£1000) to individuals to support botanical investigations. Find out more here and please apply before 31st January 2019.
Twig Key update
Bookings have now opened (1st December 2018) for spaces on this very popular online plant ID course, starting again in February 2019. Find out more here where you can also find details of training grants which could help pay for you to take the course!
BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting...
The December issue of eNews is out!
Download your free copy now from our Publications page.
BSBI Recorders' Conference...
Bookings closed for the Scottish Botanists' Conference
Future botanical projects: consulting BSBI members
"Surviving plants and insects are tougher than we think"...
Big savings on European Garden Flora
Thanks to Martin Rand, County Recorder for South Hampshire, for pointing out that the European Garden Flora, which usually costs more than £700, is currently available here for £100. Many thanks to Martin for tipping us all off to this special offer!
The People's Walk for Wildlife
Find out more about this event, planned for Saturday 22nd September, on the News & Views blog, and decide if it's something you'd like to attend or support via social media.
New paper from Floodplain Meadows Partnership
Thanks to a grant from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the Floodplain Meadows Partnership has published a paper assessing the value of floodplain land-uses; recommendations include grassland management to enhance biodiversity. Download the paper free of charge here.
Volunteering with BSBI
We have a new volunteering page with details of a range of volunteering opportunities, both with BSBI and on BSBI partner projects such as the National Plant Monitoring Scheme and Wild Flower Hour. Check out also our Vacancies page with details of two volunteer vacancies, one for a Treasurer and one for a Company Secretary.
Help with identifying subspecies of Puccinellia distans (Reflexed Saltmarsh-grass)
Sell & Murrell: Flora of Great Britain and Ireland Vol. 1
Volume 1, the final volume of this 5-volume masterwork, has now been published: read more about it on the BSBI News & Views blog here. Cambridge University Press has kindly allowed us to make the discussion on variation, from the introduction to Volume 1, available as a free download. Access it here where you can also read Gina Murrell's tribute to Peter Sell and find out about the special offer open to BSBI members wishing to purchase the Flora.
Presidents' Award 2018
The winners have been announced of the 2018 Presidents' Award, made jointly by the Presidents of the BSBI and the Wild Flower Society. Find out who this year's winners are here.
New paper about Dwarf Birch (Betula nana)
The open access paper 'Genetic diversity maintained among fragmented populations of a tree undergoing range contraction' by J.S. Borrell, N. Wang, R.A. Nichols & R.J.A. Buggs, can be read in full here.
Hugh Synge 1951-2018
Obituary published in The Guardian about botanist and conservationist Hugh Synge who helped set up both the charity Plantlife and (with longterm BSBI member John Akeroyd) the periodical Plant Talk. Listen to John talking about Hugh on BBC Radio 4's 'Last Word'.
New website for University of Reading Herbarium
Great to see a very swish new website for the UoR Herbarium, with sections on the special collections, on related research projects and on how to make a herbarium specimen, and lots of opportunities to get involved as a herbarium volunteer.
New paper in Nature co-authored by Kevin Walker
A new paper 'Extinction risk from climate change is reduced by microclimatic buffering' has been published in Nature, co-authored by Kevin Walker.
BSBI on Instagram!
BSBI now has an Instagram account - click here to view the account, use the link in the header or check out our Instagram feed in the column on the right!
Article in Nature on 'The lost art of looking at plants'
An article published in Nature earlier this year argues that "advances in genomics and imaging are reviving a fading discipline" - read the article here and see if you agree!
Irish Botanical News - 2018 issue published
Download your (free) copy from the Ireland page - scroll down to find the current and all back issues.
Presentations from the 2018 Scottish Conference now available to download
Download the presentations here.
Resources to download
New on the BSBI Resources page: the latest GB Red List for vascular plants, and updated guidance on using or buying a GPS.
Pre-publication offer on BSBI Handbook for Eyebrights: offer closes midnight on 31st May.
Head over to the Eyebrights Handbook page to find out more about this forthcoming BSBI publication. BSBI members can pre-order their copy now and save £5.50 on the cover price - just head over to the BSBI members-only area and have your password ready to log in. If you've forgotten your password, please email us. But hurry, the offer closes at midnight on Thursday 31st May. *Sorry, this offer has now closed but the Handbook is available at a smaller discount from Summerfield Books.
BSBI publishes policies on Safeguarding and on Personal Data
Today (25th May) is the day when GDPR legislation takes effect so, in the pursuit of good governance and to meet our obligations as a registered charity, BSBI has taken the opportunity to publish policies on both Personal Data and also on Safeguarding. Both policies can be viewed and/ or downloaded from our Governance webpage. If you have any questions about these policies, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to offer clarification.
BSBI Head of Science co-authors paper on open data
Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science, is a co-author on 'Overcoming the challenges of public data archiving for citizen science biodiversity recording and monitoring schemes' published this month in the Journal of Applied Ecology. A bit more info about the paper here.
Paper on potentially invasive garden plants
Published in Biological Invasions: 'Working with gardeners to identify potential invasive ornamental garden plants: testing a citizen science approach' by Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz & Judith Conroy. BSBI botanists participated in the survey and are thanked in the acknowledgements.
BSBI expert plant referee assists HRH the Prince of Wales
HRH commissioned paintings of 124 Transylvanian wild flowers and BSBI's John Akeroyd selected the plants to be illustrated. More here.
Paper on the plants of hay-meadows
Published on 22nd May in Folia Geobotanica: 'Long-term hay meadow management maintains the target community despite local-scale species turnover' by Elizabeth Sullivan, Ian Powell & Paul Ashton (Chair of BSBI's Training Committee). Read the full paper here.
Wildflowers and roadside verges: BSBI contributes to news coverage
BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker is quoted in an article published today (14th May) by Roger Harrabin for BBC Science News, about the impacts of nitrogen deposition and over-zealous cutting on plant assemblages found on roadside verges. There is also an article in The Telegraph which uses the same quote from Kevin.
BSBI is sad to hear of the recent death of Rob Wilson, County Recorder for Northamptonshire. An obituary will follow but for now we'd like to offer our condolences to Rob's friends and family, and acknowledge the huge contribution he made to botanical recording in Northants.
Threatened Plants in Britain and Ireland: reprinted
This BSBI publication from late 2017 proved incredibly successful - the first print run sold out within weeks. We're delighted to tell you that the book has just been reprinted and is available again as of today, 10th May. More here.
BSBI News: latest issue published
BSBI members can expect to receive their copy of our thrice-yearly newsletter by the end of April. Head over here for a sneaky peek or (if you're not yet a BSBI member) to see some of the delights on offer.
Pre-publication offer now open on John Poland's Twig Key.
Read what English, Scottish and Welsh Recorders achieved in 2017
Collated annual reports from County Recorders across England, Scotland and Wales are now available to download from the country pages. Click on the page links to find out what our amazing recorders achieved last year - it's very impressive! Huge thanks to all of you who are contributing plant records as we move towards the final phase of Atlas 2020.
New county webpage for Co. Antrim
A new webpage has been created for Co. Antrim, featuring local contacts (including the County Recorder and the Ulster Botany Group), details of field meetings, information about recording in the county, a very elegant map showing number of species recorded in each Antrim hectad, botanical puzzles, and images of local recorders in action.
New paper on change in Scottish grasslands
Read 'Decline in atmospheric sulphur deposition and changes in climate are the major drivers of long-term change in grassland plant communities in Scotland' by Ruth Mitchell et al. in full here (no subscription needed).
Friends of Oliver Rackham: newsletter
High impact paper on emerging alien species uses BSBI data
A paper co-authored by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker and David Pearman titled 'Global rise in emerging alien species results from increased accessibility of new source pools' is published today 8th February in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. It uses BSBI data which also appear in David's recent 'first dates' book; access the paper here (subscription required) and there is a note about the paper on the IUCN News website here.
New paper on Seed bank dynamics in restored grassland
Just published: 'Seed bank dynamics in restored grassland following the sowing of high- and low-diversity seed mixtures' by Markus Wagner, Kevin Walker (BSBI Head of Science) & Richard Pywell. More here.
BSBI's New Year Plant Hunt in the broadsheets (and on TV!)
A nice article about the New Year Plant Hunt in today's Telegraph. It's by BSBI member Ken Thompson and joins other coverage of the Hunt across the broadsheets: there is also an excellent article by Patrick Barkham in The Guardian and there is a short note in The Times. Also on the NYPH webpage, you can view the footage of the Hunt on BBC Countryfile.
Request for locations where Oak species are growing together
Student Ashley Watson hopes that BSBI botanists can help him find sites across England where Quercus petraea, Q. robur and Q. cerris all grow together. If you know of any such sites, please email Ashley.
Poster of flowering plants showing relationships between families
This poster is proving very popular on social media and looks like an excellent educational tool.
Fortnightly botany podcasts
Are you following the Wild Flower (Half) Hour podcasts? There are five so far and the latest features three BSBI members: Kevin Widdowson on winter tree ID; Dave Steere on his botanical journey from beginner botanist to valued Atlas 2020 recorder in just four years; and Ciara Sugrue talking about the New Year Plant Hunt. Catch up with this latest podcast (and numbers 1-4) on the Wild Flower (Half) Hour podcast page.
Mistletoe on Oak
Have you spotted Mistletoe growing on oak trees? Twenty years ago, ecologist John Box published a paper in Watsonia about any sites he knew about then. Now he wants to update that paper and needs your help to find more locations. More here.
Marsh Botany Award 2017 goes to...
BSBI member Brian Laney was awarded the 2017 Marsh Botany Award for services to the conservation of rare wild flowers at a ceremony at RBG Kew last night. Congratulations Brian!
Field Key to Winter Twigs by John Poland
Publication is imminent for this new book by John Poland and it is now possible to put your name on a mailing list to benefit from the pre-publication offer. Click here to download the flyer with full details.
BSBI Exhibition Meeting: catch up with the exhibits and the talks
We've just uploaded the first batch of exhibits from this year's BSBI Exhibition Meeting and AGM which took place on Saturday 25th November at the Natural History Museum. So even if you weren't able to attend, you can now download ten exhibits (there are more to follow!) and click through to related websites, webpages, email addresses, Twitter accounts and posts on the BSBI News & Views blog. You can also download all eight presentations from the AEM webpage here, you can read what happened here and find out what people said about the event here.
New Code of Conduct published
BSBI's Sarah Whild, and Fred Rumsey (Natural History Museum) have produced the BSBI Code of Conduct 2017, an updated version of the 2010 Code. You can download the new Code from the Resources page and there's some background about it here.
The first Wild Flower Half Hour podcast has now gone live and it features interviews with Leif Bersweden, author of The Orchid Hunter, Dr Trevor Dines of Plantlife talking about their Back from the Brink project and BSBI's Comms Officer Louise Marsh talking about #wildflowerhour, the New Year Plant Hunt and how to get involved in spotting wild flowers in winter. You can listen to the podcast here.
Michael Proctor 1929-2017
Read Peter Marren's obituary of Michael Proctor for The Guardian here.
Training the Trainers
BSBI Scottish Annual Meeting/ BSBI Photographic Competition
Judging of this year's BSBI Photographic Competition took place at the Scottish Annual Meeting and we have two winners. Heather Kelly won in the 'Plants in the Landscape' section and Chris Jeffree won in the 'Archaeophytes' category. A full report to follow but for now you can see updates on Twitter and view Heather's photo on the right-hand side of this page. Thanks and congratulations to Scottish Annual Meeting organiser Jim McIntosh and to Natalie Harmsworth who organised the Photographic Competition.
BSBI Annual General Meeting
BSBI's 2017 AGM took place at 2pm on Saturday 25th November at the Natural History Museum, London, as part of the Annual Exhibition Meeting. Head over to our new AGM webpage to find out about the five new trustees who were elected.
Transparency and good governance
BSBI is always striving to become more accountable and to encourage all our members to take an interest in how the society is governed. We have therefore made our Governance website accessible to all BSBI members, so they can view minutes of all meetings of BSBI Council, country and standing committees and the Board of Trustees. Head over to our members-only area (password required) for access details.
We are hearing very sad news that eminent botanist Michael Proctor, a BSBI member since 1950 and former editor of Watsonia, has just died. We'll let you know when we have more information and there will be an obituary in due course but for now, BSBI sends condolences to Michael's family.
Threatened Plants in Britain and Ireland
This long-awaited publication from the BSBI Science Team can be ordered now by BSBI members and will be available for non-members to buy in November. Threatened Plants in Britain and Ireland focuses on 50 wild flower species surveyed by 800+ volunteers under BSBI's Threatened Plants Project. Find out more here and here.
The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland
A pre-publication offer is now available for this title, the latest book from David Pearman, which attempts to answer the question, who first described our native plants? Over 450 pages, The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland comprises accounts of the first records of 1670 taxa in Britain and Ireland. Find out more here and here.
New BSBI Species Accounts
The Flora of St Kilda has been published
New paper on Field Fleawort as an indicator species
A paper has just been published on 'Longterm changes in lowland calcareous grassland plots using Tephroseris integrifolia subsp. integrifolia as an indicator species'. Authored by BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh and BSBI members Oli Pescott and Owen Mountford, you can download the full paper free of charge here.
Free "Veg Key" for Kindle or smartphone
This special two-day offer has now closed but it was seen by an astonishing 51,000 people on BSBI's Facebook page alone and 2,620 free eBook copies were downloaded. You can still get your hands on a copy of Poland & Clement's Vegetative Key to the British flora but will now have to pay for it, sorry! More here.
New paper on alien taxa
BSBI Head of Science Dr Kevin Walker has co-authored a new paper titled 'Risk management to prioritise the eradication of new and emerging invasive non-native species'. Click here to download the paper, published in the August issue of Biological Invasions.
How will climate change affect our wild flowers?
BSBI's Head of Science Dr Kevin Walker is a co-author on a newly published paper in the journal Biological Conservation which assesses the impact of climate change on the distribution of over 3,000 British plants and animals across 17 taxonomic groups. Click here to download the paper in full.
Click here to download 'Long-term vegetation monitoring in Great Britain - the Countryside Survey 1978-2007 and beyond'.
Garden plants and invasive species
In 2015, BSBI members contributed to a survey aimed at trying to identify garden plants likely to become invasive in future. The authors have now published a paper based on the data collected. You can read 'Integrating invasive species policies across ornamental horticulture supply chains to prevent plant invasions' in full by clicking here.
Are Beech trees native to Scotland?
New paper on change in Scottish grassland vegetation
Click here to see the abstract of 'Forty years of change in Scottish grassland vegetation: Increased richness, decreased diversity and increased dominance' by Mitchell et al. newly published in Biological Conservation.
The State of the World’s Plants 2017 report has been published by RBG Kew
The 2017 report builds on its predecessor (2016) by highlighting emerging trends threatening our global flora, examining likely future ‘winners and losers’ and looking at how the international community is taking action to maintain diversity and sustainable use. Download the report here: www.stateoftheworldsplants.com
BSBI and five other wildlife organisations call for action to cut air pollution
Letter from BSBI and five other organisations published in The Guardian today, 15th June. More here.
And the Presidents' Award for 2017 goes to...
The award, which is presented annually by Presidents of BSBI and the Wild Flower Society, was this year given to Tom Humphrey in recognition of his work on the BSBI Database. Click here to read about the presentation, made by BSBI President John Faulkner at the BSBI Summer Meeting and here to read about the history of the Presidents' Award and some of the past recipients.
Lots of botanical activity in Co. Kerry
Co. Kerry played host in June to one of the highlights of BSBI Ireland's recording year: read about the #KerryBSBIevent here and here. There is also a new webpage for Co. Kerry here which links to the new local group's Facebook page.
Welsh 'domesday book for plants'
Wales has become the first country in the world to have published a Rare Plant Register for every county. Read the press release here and see reports on both the Welsh Officer's blog here, here and here and on the BSBI News & Views blog here, here and here.
New paper in Nature using BSBI data
BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker is a co-author on a paper published in the latest issue of Nature. Kevin tells us the paper is "based partly on David Pearman's first records database". The paper is titled 'No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide' and you can download it here.
BSBI County Recorder awarded MBE
Vascular plant Red List for Ireland
A new Red List for the vascular plants of Ireland has just been published and can be downloaded here. The Red List is dedicated to BSBI's County Recorders and the foreword says: "This work could not have been undertaken without the huge contribution made by the BSBI Vice-county Recorders, past and present, whose records, gathered both in the field and from the literature, form the bulk of the BSBI’s Vascular Plant Database and Distribution Database used in this analysis, and who kindly provided them for the Red List project – to them this Red List is sincerely dedicated."
Vegetative Guide to British Orchids
Mike Waller's 'Beginner's vegetative guide to orchids of the British Isles' has now been published and can be downloaded free of charge here.
Back copies of botanical journals
We have received several offers from members around the country of print runs of botanical journals, available free of charge to anybody willing to collect them. Titles include: Journal of Botany; The Naturalist (both from late 19th/early 20th century); Watsonia; BSBI Yearbook; and Botanical Society and Exchange Club Proceedings. If you are interested, please contact us and we can let you know what is available for collection in your area.
New paper on food for pollinators
Interesting new paper by BSBI member
New service launched
CEH has just launched a new service for assessing the risk of the presence of Japanese Knotweed. This new service is based in large part on data collected by BSBI members. Find out more here.
Markus Wagner (CEH) et al.: Cereal density and N-fertiliser effects on the flora and biodiversity value of arable headlands. More here.
The State of Nature report 2016 has been published...
... and BSBI is proud to be a partner. More here about how BSBI's volunteers contributed plant data and our Science Team helped with the analysis. See the State of Nature infographic here and download the full report here.
New site found for Killarney Fern
Hybrid Flora awarded Engler Silver Medal and short-listed for Marsh Book Award 2016
J.P. Grime: Scaling up to Communities and Ecosystems
Sharing images of plants in bloom: #wildflowerhour
Every Sunday, 8-9pm, hundreds of people are using this hashtag to share images of wild plants seen in bloom during the previous week across Britain and Ireland. A few of those images are shared (with permission) down the left-hand side of this page. You don't need a Twitter account to see the images flooding in every Sunday - just click on the BSBI Twitter account or the #wildflowerhour live tab at 8pm.
Plant species richness is increasing - according to long-term environmental studies
UK Environmental Change Network has published the results of studies carried out over the past twenty years. More here.
Preliminary findings from the Orchid Observers project
Read the results so far: they are here on the Natural History Museum blog.
Two new Rare Plant Registers published
Download the Rare Plant Register for Ayrshire and for Dumfriesshire here - you can also see all the counties for whom a Rare Plant Register has been produced.
Arable wild flower App launched
Collecting seed for the Millenium Seed Bank
Read more here about BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh's experience of seed collecting for the Millenium Seed Bank and how you can get involved.
National Plant Monitoring Schemes: launched in Ireland, flourishing in Britain
A Plant Monitoring Scheme has now been launched in the Republic of Ireland: more info here. Meanwhile the UK's National Plant Monitoring Scheme goes from strength to strength: check out the Spring newsletter here (article by Kevin Walker on page 5); read what Pete Stroh spotted while out surveying for the NPMS; find NPMS training sessions here.
Five Island Bioblitz held in Ireland
New population of Teesdalia nudicaulis found at Thursley Heath NNR
New technical handbook on floodplain meadows
Now available to download from the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.
Conference: National Recording Schemes and Societies - celebrating the past, looking to the future
The National Forum for Biological Recording's 2016 conference was organised in partnership with the Biological Records Centre and held on the 12th-13th May at Lancaster University followed by a field trip to the Forest of Bowland AONB on the 14th May.
Are agricultural management and climatic change the major drivers of biodiversity change in the UK?
A recent Open Access paper in PLOS ONE titled 'Agricultural Management and Climatic Change Are the Major Drivers of Biodiversity Change in the UK' is available in full here. The paper is co-authored by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker and BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV was published on 24 March 2016. Early View access has now ended but the paper is available on pay-to-view here.
Millennium Seed Bank
Can you help collect seed for Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank? There are 500 species still to collect for. Read more...
The Robert Pocock Herbarium Project
Robert Pocock was Gravesend's first local historian, printer, creator of its first public library and botanist. In the early 1800's he began a collection of local plants for his herbarium or dried plant collection. Long after his death, the herbarium was donated to the Natural History Museum in London. The herbarium sheets are still there, amongst many thousands of others, effectively 'lost' to us for 200 years! The aim of the project is to find this unique record of Gravesend's botanical heritage and make images of the plant specimens available to us all. To date we have found over 180 specimen sheets.
Follow our progress at www.pocockherbarium.blogspot.co.uk and on our Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Pocock-Herbarium-Project/333265860142783. See images of the plants on Facebook and Flickr (links are on the website, or search for Robert Pocock Herbarium).
On the BSBI News & Views blog in November
We reported on the unveiling of a blue plaque to botanist Agnes Arber – many thanks to Roy Vickery who represented BSBI at this event; we pointed out a botanical anachronism and asked if you have spotted any similar televisual howlers; we welcomed BSBI’s new Welsh Officer; we told you about the QGIS plug-in and invited you to join in a consultation about it; this month’s blogpost about Byron’s Gin looked at aspen in poetry and in folklore; and we reported on the Scottish Botanists’ Conference.
Hawthorn photographed by Geraldine Murray, May 2018
For even more botanical news...
News from the Science Team
Kevin Walker is quoted in an article published today (14th May) by Roger Harrabin for BBC Science News, about the impacts of nitrogen deposition and over-zealous cutting on plant assemblages found on roadside verges. There is also an article in The Telegraph which uses the same quote from Kevin.