Sunday, 29 December 2013

VC55 Plant Hunt: our list sets new record!

Some of the Plant Hunt 2013 Team
Image: L. Marsh
It was great to arrive at the Soar Lane site today and find 10 of us assembled including Brian Laney, plant-finder extraordinaire who came over from Northants to join in the BSBI New Year's Plant Hunt. But you want to know the total, don't you? Well... 

Quite a few other counties have submitted their records to the Plant Hunt but nobody has yet matched our total of 63 wild or naturalised plant taxa recorded in flower in town today, including a possible new county record - Geranium rotundifolium

Geranium cf rotundifolium near Vaughan College
Image: L. Marsh
Our specimen certainly has the red-tipped glandular hairs mentioned in Poland, and some expert botanists like Tim Rich and BSBI President Ian Denholm have looked at the photos and agree with Brian Laney, who noticed and ID'd the plant. 
We also have 5 extra species from Russell and still to add are Maggie's and Jack's extra records. And anybody else who still wants to contribute? New Year's Day is final date for inclusion in our total - today it is 68 and counting!  

Brian "Eagle Eyes" Laney in VC55 today
Image: L. Marsh
We have been strict in our definition of naturalised - it must have "jumped the garden fence" and become established without human intervention. But Maggie asks about some plants that do seem to have become naturalised in her wildlife garden and would be unable to jump the fence due to over-tidy neighbours! What do you all think about this - include them or not? 

We are still working on the spreadsheet, and Mike our VCR hasn't seen or commented on it yet, but I've just uploaded the list so far - if you contributed, please take a look and see what you think. It's the latest document on our bsbivc55 Google page and is called Flowering December 2013. 

End of survey - time for tea and cake
Image: L. Marsh
Christmas cake: G. Hall & J. Lindesay
Many thanks to Russell for writing it up so quickly, to new member Rashmi for taking photos which I will upload when she sends them through, to Brian for joining us today and to all of you who have contributed records so far - well done VC55 botanists!

PS Our next meeting will bring us back to earth with a bump - mosses, liverworts and lichens in Rutland. Back to scratching our heads and - like Manuel on Fawlty Towers - knowing nothing! 

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