message from Steve

Hi everyone,

We know these are difficult times and it was with great sadness that the committee of the Somerset Rare Plants Group had to cancel all planned meetings of the group until further notice. You will know that for everyone’s benefit we have been asked by government to behave in a manner that does not increase the threat of people catching this horrid virus.

None the less the natural world carries on as normal, many plants are now coming into flower, birds are nest-building and insects are active.  Therefore, the committee of the SRPG have been working hard to come up with alternative ideas for recording and just learning a little more about the wonderful flora of Somerset.

We will be adding various activities that you might like to take part in over the next long months to the website over the next few weeks, so have a look to see what might take your fancy.  There will be species to look for, personal species research, Ikm surveys that you can do near your home and some historic botany articles to keep you interested when you can’t go out.

I hope you are able to take part in some of these little activities. For me I will be recording the few 1km squares around my home in my early morning and early evening walks.

Keep well and I hope to see you all when we get back together again in the near future.

Steve Parker

Current activities:

  1. Simon Leach’s First Flowering

A weekly list of species to look out to be looked for in first flower during that week, and would anyone venturing out to let me know if they’ve seen any of them, by means of email to No need for lengthy details: just the species, date and a rough location will do. And then, following the first email, weekly round robin emails would summarise highlights of the previous week, and give a list of the next species to be targeted.  Weeks run from Thursday to Wednesday. 

2. Liz’s Target Species

Notification will be sent round when the first species list is ready

As per last year, Liz is industriously compiling past records from multiple sources for selected species for focused survey – can we re-find the plants at the old sites or add new ones?  The scope for this will depend on how much mobility is left to us in the coming weeks, but perhaps one or two locations might lie more or less along the route to the supermarket or other essential journeys? 

3. Clive’s The Joy of Botany:  a weekly column for the socially distanced botanist

Clive has kicked off with an introductory article and has asked for contributions.

“I can edit contributions – normally a page – to the attached (basic) format. I’m sure you’ve all got an uplifting botanical story or two to tell, and there may be some ‘current affairs’ from the limited fieldwork possible as well as things further back into history.  Shared out, it wouldn’t be too demanding and I can always give you some ‘interview’ questions and work out how to generate a queue.”                                                                                   

Clive Lovatt

4. Single person recording

Your local 1km squares can always use another “bash” so keep recording while you take your exercise. Recording changes in the species you see through the year can be illuminating. Recording cards can be downloaded from the website and it will be most helpful if as many people as possible can print their own for the time being.  Contact Helena for paper copies if you need them.

Please will postal members phone Liz or Simon for further details of their projects and me (Ellen) if they would like any of the lists.  I hope to circulate the weekly Joy of Botany column to you in monthly instalments.