Botanical Society News

Shropshire Botanical Society Newsletter - Spring 1999 - page 2

Sarah Whild


Welcome to the first newsletter of the Shropshire Botanical Society. I trust that our long-standing members will not notice more than a subtle change in the newsletter and hope that our more recent members will enjoy the range of articles.

As many of you will now know, we held a most successful inaugural meeting last November that was attended by over fifty people. The draft constitution was accepted unanimously by the members, as was the change of name from the Shropshire Flora Group to the Shropshire Botanical Society. There was a short discussion on the progress towards Atlas 2000 and field work for this year and following the business Professor Clive Stace gave an excellent talk on hybridization. Thanks again to Sue Townsend and the staff at Preston Montford Field Centre for their hospitality.

Following on from the inaugural meeting, we will be holding the first AGM on Wednesday 21st April at Rowleys House Museum. The guest speaker will be Franklyn Perring, talking on 'The Amazing Flowers of the Cape', andthere will be refreshments after the business. We will need to elect a chair, secretary and treasurer plus two ordinary committee members. Nominations have already been received and these are printed in the central section together with the business such as the formally adopted constitution and the accounts. Any further nominations must be sent to me as acting secretary at least fourteen days before the AGM. Any nominee must have been nominated by two members, and remember that prior consent of nominees is required.

Well, that's the business out of the way. On the botanical side, foremost in my mind this year is the looming deadline for Atlas 2000 returns and here's a quick reminder for those in the know and a brief introduction to those who are new to botanical recording. Members of the Botanical Society of the British Isles have been working furiously over the past few years to update the Atlas of the British Flora (Perring and Walters 1962). This is a huge recording scheme, the results of which will stand for many years, so it is important that we fill in as many gaps as possible in this final field year, and that our data is as reliable as possible. The final distribution maps for the British Isles will be published as ten kilometre (hectad) dots. Current dots are from 1987 onwards, with an intermediate date range of 1970 - 1986, and before that all records will be regarded as historical (mapped with an open circle). Our Shropshire Flora was published in 1985, so none of those records can be considered in the current date class for the Atlas. We do, luckily, have reasonable coverage for Shropshire since the Flora, but there are some black holes, notably along Corvedale and the Clun Valley.

If you are new to the group and would like to become involved in recording, we are holding a session at Preston Montford Field Centre on recording techniques (see Field Meetings). I will also be getting in touch with my group of stalwart recorders in the hope of directing them to some of the under-recorded areas this summer.

The Atlas work involves not just collecting new records, but considering the accuracy of our existing records. To this end, I've highlighted a few dubious dot maps for some species that may have been either under- or over-recorded for the Shropshire Flora. There are some hints on identification for these species; perhaps I'm wrong, and great burdock Arctium lappa really is present throughout the entire county, but I've only ever seen it in the Teme valley in Shropshire. Similarly, is orange foxtail really present at all those other locations in the county? I've only seen it at Brown Moss and we are talking about a pretty uncommon species here. Go on, prove me wrong - I'll be waiting for your voucher specimens!

Happy recording!

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