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...
New BSBI Ireland Officer now in post
The inconstant sex of annual mercury
This post on the Botany One website summarises a fascinating new paper about Mercurialis annua. Subscribe to Botany One's weekly email for a round-up of all the latest botanical news from across the world.
Aquatic Plant Project
A new project has been launched in Ireland to help people get to grips with the identification of aquatic plants. Find out more here.
The paper everyone is talking about
Across the media in recent days, people have been talking about this paper: 'World's largest plant survey reveals alarming extinction rate'
June issue of BSBI eNews published
You can download the June issue and all back issues of our electronic newsletter for botanical recorders from the eNews webpage.
National Plant Monitoring Scheme: latest news
The NPMS webpage has been updated with links to this year's training sessions for NPMS surveyors; a video where Dr Oli Pescott (CEH) explains why the NPMS is such a valuable citizen science scheme; and an interview between BSBI's Communications Officer and the NPMS volunteer co-ordinator which tells you everything you've ever wanted to know about the scheme.
British & Irish Botany: second issue published
BSBI News April issue published
Here's a taster of what's in the latest issue! If you're a BSBI member and your copy hasn't arrived: first check that you remembered to renew your membership subscription (we can't send you anything if your membership has lapsed!) and contact membership secretary Gwynn Ellis if you're still not sure.
Scottish Newsletter: latest issue published
Download the 2019 issue from the new Scottish Newsletter webpage, where you will also find back issues dating back to 1979.
Open Access paper published about the National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS)
Important new paper published 26/4/2019 on the design, launch and assessment of the NPMS. Co-authored by Oli Pescott (CEH, BSBI Records & Research Committee); Kevin Walker (BSBI Head of Science); & colleagues from Plantlife, JNCC and CEH. Download the paper in full here.
Amazing work by BSBI County Recorders!
Our wonderful County Recorders have been working incredibly hard. Read their collated Annual Reports on the England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales pages. They give a taste of what our 150+ (volunteer) County Recorders get up to throughout the year. We'd like to say a great big THANK YOU to them for all their excellent work.
Irish Botanical News: latest issue published
Latest news from the Isle of Arran
Find out here about the new Arran's Flora checklist and news of one of Arran's rare whitebeams.
Conference PPTs available to download
First ever county Flora for the Isle of Bute
BSBI is NHBS Publisher of the Month
BSBI has been chosen as the Natural History Book Service's Publisher of the Month for April. More here.
National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS): spring relaunch
The 2019 NPMS survey season has started. Find out more about the scheme, and what it has to offer for BSBI botanists, here.
Interesting new paper
'Grazing exclusion and vegetation change in an upland grassland with patches of tall herbs' by Sarah H. Watts et al. has been published in Applied Vegetation Science. Find it here.
Videos for plant ID
Paper on species indicators for calcareous grassland
This paper by Markus Wagner et al. is available to download free of charge until the end of March.
County Floras webpage
Our new County Floras webpage offers a quick and easy way to track down 500+ County Floras. Many thanks to David Pearman who put together the County Floras Excel spreadsheet and updated it in February 2019. He has also put together a spreadsheet of Rare Plant Registers.
Stace 4 name changes
Martin Rand, County Recorder for South Hampshire, has very kindly compiled a list of all the name changes in Clive Stace's New Flora of the British Isles ed.4 (2019). You can download a pdf of the list from our new Taxon Lists webpage.
2019 Exhibition Meeting
Welsh Bulletin published
This website underwent a major upgrade in February. We hope that you can still find all your favourite pages but that you will also find lots more to enjoy. We would encourage you to look through the A-Z Site Map. It should also be your first port of call if you can’t find the page you’re looking for. If you have any comments about the upgrades to the website, positive or negative, or suggestions of how we might do things differently, please email Louise to discuss.
Take a FISC in 2019 - 5 new locations
We've just added 5 new locations across England where you can take a FISC (Field Identification Skills Certificate) in 2019. Find out more here.
British & Irish Botany: first issue published!
Head over here to read all about BSBI's new Open Access scientific journal and then go to our British & Irish Botany website to register and start downloading papers. If you want to discuss a submission, if you hit any problems registering or if you want to offer feedback on a paper you've read, email us here.
BSBI grants for 2019
Applications have now closed for BSBI Training Grants, Plant Study Grants and Science & Research grants have now closed and open again on 1st January 2020 but you can still find details of grants from other organisations on our Grants page.
BSBI News: latest issue published
BSBI members can expect to receive their copy of our thrice-yearly newsletter by the end of January. Head over here for a sneaky peek or (if you're not yet a BSBI member) to see some of the delights on offer.
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.
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.
Twig Key update
BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting...
BSBI Recorders' 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 February
We reported the publication of the inaugural issue of British & Irish Botany; the second Botanical University Challenge took place at Univ. Reading and we interviewed founder John Warren, who recently took over the Chair of BSBI’s Training & Education Committee – we reported on that here as part of our regular posts about Byron’s Gin; we told you about the forthcoming Oxfordshire Flora Group conference; there’s a note about BSBI Handbooks in the pipeline; and there’s a report on what’s happening this year for botanists in Wales.
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.