The group was initially launched in the summer of 1997 after discussion the previous year. The structure is a very informal one. We arrange field meetings in the summer and a few indoor winter ones to plan and coordinate recording. The group’s geographical remit is ‘old Somerset’, comprising the two botanical Vice-counties of South Somerset (V-c 5) and North Somerset (V-c 6).
The BSBI County Recorders are key members. They hold past and current botanical records. Two members of the group were co-authors (with Geraldine Crouch) of the Atlas Flora of Somerset which was published in 1997.
The SRPG aims to form a concentration of botanical expertise and to continue the long tradition of botanical recording in the county, but the main aim is to take an active role in vascular plant conservation. Priority is given to species of international and national concern occurring in Somerset, including those listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and the 2005 Vascular Plant Red List. Sites and habitats are visited and the populations of the rare and scarce species are assessed for their strength, health and vulnerability. The mapping of plant distributions is a key function of the group.
We arrange an annual programme of field meetings to survey and record flowering plants and ferns in different parts of the county. Common species are mapped at a one kilometre square level and the rarer plants are recorded at a six or eight figure grid reference resolution. We use MapMate as our vascular plant database and our records are passed on to BSBI through the Vice-county Recorders. The database is being used to compile a Somerset Rare Plant Register for the two vice-counties in our area.
Several of our members are also producing local or parish floras.
All the photographs on the site were taken in Somerset by members of the group.
Please use the contact us to let me (CLo) know of any omissions or other mistakes.