Newsletters and botanical history

Some new sections have been added under the Somerset Botany menu. The Newsletters are now there together with an index to all the articles within. There are over 100 articles on a wide range of botanical subjects across the whole county from the Bath area to Exmoor. These include regular updates on interesting plant finds, reports on projects such as the ongoing renovation of the Taunton Herbarium, alien plants and rediscovered natives.

A History section has been added at the bottom of the Somerset Botany menu which currently contains the late Clive Lovatt’s Joy of Botany columns, composed during lockdown, and a presentation by him about George Garlick and Leigh Woods.

A paper in Joy of Botany #5 by Isabella Gifford (SAHNS 1855) includes the following statement on the importance of field botany, a tradition which the Somerset Rare Plants Group is carrying on over 165 years later. Below are some of the botanists mentioned in the history section who worked in Somerset.

The enclosing of commons and waste land, and progress of agricultural improvements generally, must unavoidably destroy the habitats of many rare plants, and in some instances lead to their extinction … . Therefore, it is particularly desirable that a record should be kept of rare indigenous plants. Some few species there are, such as Veronica buxbaumii [now V. persica], which become naturalized in our fields by the agency of the farmer, who scatters the germ unwittingly along with his clover or other seed obtained from the Continent; and though the botanist may not look with an unfriendly eye upon the foreigner, he still feels that it cannot make amends for our native plants …”