This month we have five new species accounts in the Rare Plant Register. These are all plants that are near threatened across England but are fortunately not defined as rare or scarce in Somerset. They are: Marsh Pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris), Marsh St John’s-wort (Hypericum elodes), Ragged-robin (Silene flos-cuculi), Heath Speedwell (Veronica officinalis), and Marsh Speedwell (Veronica scutellata).
Members were able to brush up their skills in identifying winter twigs at the recent meeting near Taunton. The report is available on the Meeting Reports page. Now updated with minor corrections.
New species accounts for Crambe maritima (Sea-kale), Hieracium nemophilum (Grassland Hawkweed), Potamogeton coloratus (Fen Pondweed), and Potamogeton nodosus (Loddon Pondweed) are now available in the Somerset Rare Plant Register. The accounts for Equisetum variegatum (Variegated Horsetail), Hieracium subamplifolium (Balloon-leaved Hawkweed), and Limosella aquatica (Mudwort) have been updated.
Due to the storm warnings today and possible transport or other disruption tomorrow the SRPG field meeting tomorrow, Saturday 19th February, has been postponed. All those who booked have been informed by email. The meeting will now take place one week later on Saturday 26th February. Please contact the meeting leader firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
There has been some re-arrangement of the menus which hopefully will make things easier to find. The newsletters can now be accessed from the top-level menu. We are working on an index to the newsletters which will help with searching for useful information. The former Publications section is now “Somerset Botany” and includes a Help with ID section (containing the old Articles and Presentations). We hope to add a History (of Somerset botany) section here in due course. There is a new section on the work of our Dandelion enthusiasts under Activities > Projects.
Phenology – or the study of the timing of natural phenomena – has been in the news this week with The Guardian reporting “Flowers arriving a month early in UK as climate heats up”. This is based on the dataset created by the Nature’s Calendar project run by the Woodland Trust and the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology. The underlying paper published by the Royal Society is here. The lead author, Prof Ulf Büntgen has also been talking about it on this week’s Inside Science on Radio 4.
Moving from the national to the local picture, Simon has kindly put together a report on last year’s First Flowering project. You can find a link to it at the end of the First Flowering page.
SRPG converged on Bridgwater this year to participate in the BSBI’s annual hunt for plants in flower at New Year. The River Parrett forms the boundary of our two vice-counties here, so we divided into two teams on either side of the river. The VC5 contingent did particularly well and came fourth in the national results. Helena and Fred carried out an additional hunt in Bath, while Simon also explored his patch in Taunton. They came, respectively, third and fifth nationally, which much say something about the keenness and expertise of Somerset botanists. Full report here.
The latest coverage maps are now available at Activities> Recording> Coverage Maps, showing the number of records and the number of different species recorded since 2000 in each of Somerset’s 4658 grid squares. A new addition this year are maps for just the records collected last year – so you can see all the hard work that has happened despite all the disruptions.
Note: updated 02/02/2022 to add some missing data.
The details of our winter meetings programme have now been finalised with some changes to dates from those previously published here. The monthly meetings between January and March are: New Year Plant Hunt (Bridgwater), AGM (via Zoom), Winter Twigs (Taunton), and an indoor meeting focusing on recording and mapping (Shapwick). Full details are available under the Activities > Meetings menu or you can get a printable version here. As you would expect all plans are subject to change should the Covid situation deteriorate.