News and Events

A new fern arrives in Hampshire

Polystichum tsus-simense (151K)

©Martin Rand 2008
From the photographer's garden

Fern guru from the Natural History Museum Fred Rumsey spotted a small plant of Tsus-sima Holly Fern (Polystichum tsus-simense) behind a leaking drainpipe in The Square, Winchester in early October. Fred writes: "I have seen it on two walls in London but am aware of no other records for this...yet! The fronds are used by florists and I think it much likely to have originated from spores from a wedding guests buttonhole than from a garden plant given its proximity to the cathedral. Its still young and is reasonably hardy and somewhat protected from cleaning operations being behind a pair of drainpipes in a small will be interesting to see how long it survives!" It is growing with some small plants of Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum) and could easily be overlooked at this stage.

Flora News Index now up to date

Thanks to a huge and meticulous effort by Barry Goater, the Index to Flora News is now up to date to the Spring 2008 issue. All scientific names and all place names are indexed, with grid references given for place names. See the Flora Group Newsletters page.

Help required for Bee Orchid study

I have received the following appeal via BSBI "head office". If you know of a good Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) site and can help, please contact Meriel directly. Obviously you will need a good population, should take care not to damage the rest of the plant in collecting (surgical scissors are good), and only collect where you have permission.

Ophry api 01 (128K)

©Martin Rand 2006

I wonder if you can help me obtain samples from bee orchids (Ophrys apifera) for a University research project into their genetic diversity?

It started when we were very surprised to see one plant outside the front door of our School of Biological Sciences in the centre of Liverpool. Since then, we have learnt of many more around Merseyside and also become more familiar with its fascinating biology. It seemed to me that a number of questions could be answered if we had a good way to identify individuals. Therefore, in collaboration with a colleague who has pioneered genetic fingerprinting systems for over 25 species of animal, we intend to see if this can be done for the bee orchid.

To get a good idea of the genetic diversity in bee orchids in the UK, I would like have some samples from the south of England. Id like one flower from at least 10 individual plants from one site, each with the ovary and picked while the petals and sepals are still in good condition. I obviously would like to know the location of the site where they came from. If we are successful in obtaining suitable markers for genetic fingerprinting, we will then be able to test them on plants from across its range in the UK.

I will, of course, be happy to repay the postage, and to answer any questions by email or over the phone.

Meriel Jones

Dr Meriel G Jones
School of Biological Sciences
Biosciences Building
University of Liverpool
Liverpool L69 7ZB
Tel: +44(0) 151-795-4562
Fax: +44(0) 151-795-4410

Martin Down Gentianella census - June 7th

OK, so it's not an Early Gentian, but this Burnt-tip Orchid was one of the many downland flowers enjoyed by the surveyors on this perfect summer day.

34 people from Plantlife International, Hampshire Flora Group, Dorset Flora Group and Wiltshire Botanical Society converged on the three counties' borderland at Martin Down. We split into two parties, one working the north-west parts of the National Nature Reserve and the other visiting a site in the centre before proceeding to Pentridge Down in Dorset.

The first group had modest success, recording a total of 81 plants of Gentianella anglica on two known sites of disturbed grassland around the rifle butts and northern car park. The second party did not manage to find any; while the site condition on Martin Down seemed satisfactory for the plant, Pentridge Down appeared to be in poor shape.

Orchi ust 05 (135K)

©Martin Rand 2008

Joint Hants Flora Group / BSBI survey meeting - April 26th

Pulmo lon 05 (87K)

©Martin Rand 2006

Eighteen enthusiastic volunteers turned out on a beautiful day to update records of Long-leaved Lungwort (Pulmonaria longifolia) for the Hampshire Rare Plant Register. Five different areas of the southern Forest were covered, concentrating on sites where records were old or there was evidence of decline. Nevertheless over 400 plants were recorded, although it is clear that some sites are being lost both on the open Forest and within the Inclosures.

A fuller report on the outcome of the day will be published here when all the recording sheets have come back to me.

Hampshire Axiophyte Lists

What is an axiophyte? To find out more, go to the BSBI / Hampshire Axiophytes page.

First Hants Flora Group field meeting of the year - April 12th

About twenty hardy Wiltshire and Hampshire botanists braved the frequent downpours of rain and hail to take part in this survey of Dwarf Sedge (Carex humilis). Through their stalwart efforts some 150 hectares of the Martin Down National Nature Reserve were recorded at the 100m x 100m scale, with useful information on abundance, the state of vegetation and physical factors. A full report will appear later, but there was enthusiasm for following the exercise through next year on the western half of the down.

We also had a look at the few Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) here, and counted six plants in two locations. This is excluding those over the border in Dorset. Hairy Violet (Viola hirta) was making a good showing but Cowslips (Primula veris) were surprisingly late. Peter Billinghurst also managed to spot some Spring Sedge (Carex caryophyllea) coming into flower.

martindown (110K)

©Natural England 2005

BSBI Maps Scheme (Atlas Updating Project) in Hampshire

The computerisation of the records for the Atlas of the British & Irish Flora (Atlas 2000) means that the distribution maps can now be updated more frequently. Records are being organised into age bands of 10 years, so the current age band runs from 2000 to 2009 inclusive.

As Hampshire has not had a comprehensive county-wide recording project since Atlas 2000, recent records are now quite patchy in some areas. If you would like to see the distribution maps for South Hampshire and for the country as a whole, and perhaps take part in getting records for the commoner and more widespread species up to date for the end of 2009, go to the BSBI / Maps Scheme in Hants page.

New diary section

Notice that we now have a 'Diary' section for botanical events in and around Hampshire. If you have an event that you would like to publicise, please send an email with details to the site administrator.
Note that as a matter of policy we are not including personal contact details in the diary, so please include a link where people can find out more.

Sending in records

An electronic recording form is now available for spreadsheet users. Please see the main menu bar.