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...
BSBI Exhibition Meeting 2020
BSBI Strategy 2021-4 published
BSBI's new strategic plan has been published: find out more here.
BSBI Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020 goes virtual
BSBI members can register now for the 2020 AGM which takes place online on 21st November.
British & Irish Botany: issue 2.3 published
The latest issue of British & Irish Botany, BSBI's free, online, Open Access scientific journal has been published. Find out about the authors and their papers here on our News blog or go straight to the new issue and start reading.
Learn how to ID aquatic plants and charophytes
Free training courses on 5th and 12th September. Find out more and register here.
September issue of BSBI eNews published
The September issue of BSBI eNews, our monthly electronic newsletter for botanical recorders, has been published. You can access current and all back issues from the BSBI eNews archive. It's a great way to keep up with all the latest news about BSBI activities and projects, Atlas progress, new pages on this website, new blogposts and much much more.
Road verges and native plants
Interesting opinion piece by BSBI member Josh Styles about road verges and native plants. July's Wildflower of the Month blogpost by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker also focuses on the importance of protected road verges for threatened plants such as Sulphur Clover.
National research project
The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the British Science Association have asked BSBI botanists based in Britain to take part in a citizen science research project they are running with Derby University. The aim is to discover more about how our well-being is affected by noticing and connecting with nature. To find out more and to take part, please visit ‘Nature up close and personal’.
Field meetings cancelled but indoor events go virtual
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, BSBI Trustees have taken the difficult decision to cancel all the remaining field meetings for 2020. We are currently looking at how the Annual Exhibition Meeting and the Scottish Botanists' Conference can go ahead as virtual (online only) meetings. Watch this space!
Guest editors sought!
The Royal Society invites botanists to consider guest-editing a theme issue of Philosophical Transactions B. You can read about the experience of former Guest Editors and download the flyer. If interested, please contact Commissioning Editor Helen Eaton, with your ideas.
Fern ID: new webpage and online course
Our new fern ID page has some useful links and if you missed the recent subscription-only fern ID course by Josh Styles, you'll find an option on the page to access a video recording of the course (BSBI members only, sorry).
BSBI video channel launched
Our new YouTube channel is now live, with in-house plant and habitat videos, training videos and playlists of short videos by BSBI members and partner organisations. We'll be adding more content in the coming months. Find out more here or go straight to the BSBI YouTube channel here.
Irish Grasslands Project launched
Our new Irish Grasslands Project has been launched thanks to funding from NPWS and CEDaR. Find out more and watch out for the free training sessions delivered online via Zoom and then uploaded to our new video channel!
Very sad news
We are very sorry to report that Trevor James, former editor of BSBI News, BSBI joint County Recorder for Hertfordshire, longstanding member of BSBI Publications Committee and a leading figure in British biological recording, has died. This tribute comes from Herts. Natural History Society. We'd like to extend condolences to Trevor's family and all his many friends and colleagues at this very sad time.
Sex and Silene
An interesting article about campions (Silene spp.) in New Phytologist, summarised here in a blogpost on the new Botanical Society of Scotland blog, which features many other notes of interest to botanists across Britain and Ireland.
BSBI in The Telegraph
An article about plant ID apps - based on the recent review for BSBI News by Hamlyn Jones - appeared in The Telegraph on 22nd May, thanks to journalist and BSBI member Ken Thompson; there's also an article about Plant Alert by Helena Horton , published on 1st June.
If you're a gardener, you could help us find out more about plants which have the potential to become invasive in future. The aim of Plant Alert is to find tomorrow's Japanese knotweed or Himalayan balsam, today. Find out more.
English Botanical News: first issue published
The first issue of English Botanical News is out now and you can view or download your free copy from the England page or from the English Botanical News page where we will be storing all subsequent issues. Visit BSBI's periodicals page to find out more about BSBI News, British & Irish Botany, BSBI eNews and all four of our country newsletters.
British & Irish Botany: in print?
Although British & Irish Botany, our scientific journal, was always intended as an online publication, we have received enquiries from some readers who would be interested in having print copies of the journal. There is an option for individuals or institutions to receive a print version of the four issues which comprise Volume One (2019) of British & Irish Botany, bound and in a cover, for £25 plus P&P but we can only do this if enough people request this option. To express an interest, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BSBI and Covid-19
Welsh Bulletin 2020 is published
Apps for plant ID
Read a review of the apps currently available which claim to be able to identify wild plants. The review was published in the April issue of BSBI News. You can also read an interview with reviewer Hamlyn Jones.
BSBI News: April issue published
The April issue of BSBI News, our thrice-yearly membership newsletter, has been published. Print copies have been posted to members, who can also opt to view or download an electronic version from the password-protected members-only area on this website. Contact us if you can't remember your password. Non-members can read about the contents here and can also view or download a sample issue.
Our new Taraxacum page aims to help anyone wishing to identify the c250 species recorded in Britain and Ireland: it includes links to an online 'Introduction to Dandelions' ID course.
Reports from across Britain and Ireland
Definitions: wild? native? alien?
Our new Definitions webpage aims to demystify terms such as native, alien, neophyte, weed... and explains how these terms are relevant to anyone taking part in the Garden Wildflower Hunt or using our Record-a-Plant form.
Stoneworts in Wales
A Red List of Welsh Stoneworts has been published, using data from BSBI and Natural Resources Wales.
Wildflower Seed Mixtures
This opinion piece, by BSBI Head of Science Dr Kevin Walker, considers the 'wildflower seed' mixtures increasingly favoured by municipal councils, and sets outs the pros and cons of this approach to seed sowing.
Irish Botanical News 2020 is published
The latest issue of Irish Botanical News is out now and you can view or download your free copy from the Ireland page or from the Irish Botanical News archive where you will also find back copies since 1993.
There's a new archaeophytes page on this website, with a table listing all the British archaeophytes (non-native plants introduced before AD1500), as recognised by various authorities.
Scottish Newsletter 2020 is published
The latest issue of the Scottish Newsletter is out now and you can view or download your free copy from the Scotland page or from the Scottish Newsletter page where you will also find back copies since 1979.
Garden Wildflower Hunt
BSBI's new initiative aims to to keep botanists entertained during lockdown and to help us find out more about the distribution, ecology and phenology of wild flowers ("weeds?") in our gardens. Find out how to take part in the Garden Wildflower Hunt and then click through to the app and start recording the wild plants in your garden.
Stuck at home and feeling restless?
While we are all at home following the guidance on Covid-19/ Coronavirus, BSBI can offer lots of ideas and activities to keep botanists entertained and connected with the botanical community! As well as the Garden Wildflower Hunt, you will find some more suggestions on our Activities 2020 page.
Ragwort Study Project
Read about the launch of a new study project to look at the involucres of ragworts Senecio and Jacobaea; find out how you can contribute right now from your own back garden.
Illustrations of Alien Plants
Our new Illustrations of Alien Plants page should help you track down illustrations of 2000+ alien plant species by scientific or common name.
Status & ecology of Scots Pine in Ireland
Interesting paper by Jenni Roche in Irish Forestry Journal: 'Recent findings on the native status and vegetation ecology of Scots pine in Ireland and their implications for forestry policy and management'.
BSBI Handbook #20 coming soon
Our latest BSBI Handbook is due out in April 2020. Find out more about Hawkweeds of south-east England and place your order here at a discount price, saving you £9.50 compared to RRP. Offer ends 31st May.
BSBI and Covid-19
18th March: Following guidance from UK and Irish Governments, BSBI's public programmes have been cancelled until the end of May. For more information, please visit this page: https://bsbi.org/covid-19-coronavirus
Roadside vegetation management and plant diversity
This paper has been around since 2018 but it's Open Access and there's some interesting stuff in there: 'How does roadside vegetation management affect the diversity of vascular plants and invertebrates? A systematic review'. On a similar subject but bang up-to-date, this blogpost by Martin Allen reports from the recent conference on 'The importance for wildlife of our roadside verges'.
British & Irish Botany: latest issue published
Volume 2 issue 1 of British & Irish Botany has just been published. Read about the articles and authors featured in this issue here on our News blog, along with comments from Editor-in-Chief Dr Ian Denholm. Or go straight to the B&IB website and start reading the latest issue: https://britishandirishbotany.org/index.php/bib
BSBI mentioned on BBC Countryfile
BSBI and the Wild Flower Hour initiative were name-checked on BBC Countryfile last night. Catch the feature on iPlayer here (starts c8 minutes in) and read an interview here with BSBI member Rebecca Wheeler, the woman behind Wild Flower Hour's recent success.
Wildlife losses and gains
A new paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution by Charlie Outhwaite et al. focuses on wildlife gains and losses; tribute is paid to volunteer biological recorders, citizen science and recording schemes including BSBI. The paper is behind a paywall but there is a summary here by Damian Carrington in The Guardian.
Gigi Crompton 1923-2020
We are sorry to report the sad news that Gigi Crompton, Cambridgeshire botanist and long-term/ honorary BSBI member, has died. An obituary by Cambridgeshire County Recorder Alan Leslie will be published in a forthcoming issue of BSBI News; an obituary has already appeared in The Guardian.
New Year Plant Hunt in the media
New Year Plant Hunt
BSBI County Recorder in New Year’s Honours List
Trevor James, longterm BSBI County Recorder for Hertfordshire, member of BSBI Publications Committee and Receiving Editor for BSBI News 2008-17, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of his service to nature conservation. Here’s the report in Trevor’s local newspaper. Congratulations to Trevor from everyone at BSBI!
Non-native plants can provide habitats for a variety of British insects
Some interesting new research from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology: read about it here.
BSBI addresses plant ID skills gap in ecological consultancy
A new paper 'Plants in Practice' argues that the importance of plants is not sufficiently reflected in the professional practice of ecological consultants and looks at how BSBI might help address the plant ID skills gap. Authors are BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker, BSBI County Recorder for Oxfordshire David Morris, BSBI committee members Jo Parmenter, Jonathan Mitchley and Oli Pescott, and Nicola Hutchinson, Director of Conservation Programmes at Plantlife. View the paper in full here.
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.
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'
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
J.P. Grime: Scaling up to Communities and Ecosystems
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.
Arable wild flower App launched
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.
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).
Hybrid goosefoot Atriplex prostrata x glabriuscula spotted at Arnside by BSBI member Howard Beck, October 2019. New for Cumbria
BSBI on Instagram - click on the image to see the post
On the BSBI News & Views blog: August 2020
Read about the steps botanist Sarah is taking to boost biodiversity in her Somerset village and the obstacles she is having to overcome; in the latest of a series of blogposts from BSBI President Lynne Farrell, find out what Lynne is spotting in her local area; take a look at Howard’s find of a very strange Frog Orchid and respond to Mike Wilcox’s request for seeds of the two forms of Prickly Lettuce; August’s Wildflower of the Month, chosen by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker, is Autumn Lady’s-tresses; and you can find out about the eight papers and three short notes published in the latest issue of British & Irish Botany.
For even more botanical news...
Hawthorn photographed by Geraldine Murray, May 2018
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.