Ptyxis Ecology - Our Botany Blog

Friday, 8 June 2007

NEW county record for South Northumberland v.c.67!

John is not one to shout about things, but I think his find of Alchemilla subcrenata new to Northumberland deserves its own blog spot!

Until last week, Alchemilla subcrenata (it doesn't have a common name) was only known in the British Isles from a few sites in Teesdale and Weardale. For a distribution map, see the new flora of the North-East website which is the most uptodate resource for plant records in our area, having had John's record added already!

Finding a native plant new to a vice county is one of those botanical meccas; something we all secretly want to do once in our life! It's not easy as most new county records are for non-natives (or aliens). And to find a species of considerable conservation significance like Alchemilla subcrenata (listed as 'endangered' in the new Red List) is doubly exciting.

Who says that the British flora is all done and dusted?! There are still things to discover and the conservation sector pretty much relies totally on amateur botanists to get out there and record a county's plants.

Alchemillas (or Lady's-mantles) are a group of plants that reproduce asexually and as a result there are subtle differences between the recognised species. Alchemillas can be tricky to identify, so John got this plant confirmed by the BSBI Alchemilla referee, Margaret Bradshaw. Margaret is thrilled with this find, but not surprised, as there was no particular reason why this Durham species should not occur over the county boundary - it was just a matter of someone knowing what to look out for. But we've had to wait 56 years for it to be discovered in Northumberland, as Margaret first found this species, new to Britain, in Teesdale back in 1951!

I hope this find inspires you all to get out and botanise this summer, as you never know what you could turn up!




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