Sunday, 18 February 2018

Work Starts on the RPR for VC64

I have been meaning to start work on the Rare Plant Register (RPR) for Mid-West Yorkshire for a number of years, so am pleased to have finally made a start. Its still in the very early days, but I now have the format set out, a draft cover (sneak peek below, the cover star is of course Thistle Broomrape Orobanche reticulata), and have spent the day adding in the first tranche of species.

For those not in the know, a RPR is a mini Flora, containing details of just the rarest species in the county, together with up-to-date information on how they are faring. It is intended as a reference to actively assist nature conservation planning as much as being a Flora of wider interest for botanists. More detail can be found on the BSBI website, along with most of the RPRs produced to date (including mine for VC31).

My plan at present is to progress the RPR slowly, starting with a first edition largely restricted to species listed in national Red Data Lists, following later by a fuller account bringing in species that are rare and scarce in the VC. This is the approach I took with VC31 and it works well. It allows a start to data collation and dissemination, whilst postponing the decisions on which species meet the county criteria. The data needed to support identification of the latter is far from adequate, many of the historic records are now quite old and there is no side-stepping the fact that the resolution of most of these historic records is very poor. So there is a lot of work still to be done, and the RPR will gradually evolve as the records come forward to support its development.

So what can local and visiting botanists do to help? To be honest I would be grateful for any support, big or small, that can be offered. Detailed records of any species listed as Near Threatened or worse status in the England Red Data List will be very welcome (you can find my contact details in the BSBI list of members or on the website), most especially if they come from locations away from the usual botanical hotspots for recording. Its a large county with much to offer.

A few photos of species coming forward in the first draft below.

Mousetail (Myosurus minimus) - extinct in the VC unless anyone knows otherwise

Greater Water-parsnip (Sium latifolium) - extinct in the VC unless anyone knows better

Rye brome (Bromus secalinus) - Vulnerable in Great Britain

Hound's-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) - Near Threatened in England and Great Britain

Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum) - Vulnerable in England and Great Britain

A Cinquefoil - (Potentilla sp.) - one of the atypical populations in the Yorkshire Dales that is probably an endemic apomict weighting for a name. Almost certainly threatened if this is the case.