Exmoor Meeting

You can now read about the recent meeting based at Simonsbath led by Graham Lavender. There are many fine plant photographs by him and Fred Rumsey including Somerset rarities such as Cranberry, Oak Fern, Stag’s-horn Clubmoss, Fir Clubmoss, and several rare aquatics from Pinkery Pond. All the meeting reports can be found here. All photos below © Fred Rumsey.

Two species re-found in Somerset after many years

Diligent searching in the south and west of the county (VC5) has led to the rediscovery of two plants previously thought to be lost (just mislaid as it turns out). Simon Leach (Joint VCR for VC5) found a single plant of Early Gentian (Gentianella amarella subsp. anglica) at Thurlbear Wood, the first VC5 sighting since 2006, which he was delighted to be able to show members of Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society during their recent field meeting. Despite a thorough search during the meeting, only the one tiny plant was found, but it may be worth looking again at this time of year. Meanwhile, Ian Green, co-author of The Atlas Flora of Somerset, rediscovered Mountain Pansy (Viola lutea) on Exmoor, not seen since 1999. A photo of this species adorns the cover of the flora so it is brilliant news that it is not lost after all.  The Rare Plant Register has been updated accordingly.

Another handful of species accounts

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).

New Species Accounts for RPR

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.

Website updates

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.