Archive for February, 2010

Skye & Lochalsh Environmental Forum

February 19, 2010

We had a general meeting of SLEF in Breakish on Wednesday.  Projects include Japanese knotweed removal, a mink survey and Rhododendron removal.  Finding core funds for simple admin needs is proving a problem but costs are currently minimal and Highland Council is picking up hire of rooms for meetings etc.

The VPDB and a Hybrid Couch

February 14, 2010

Records from the vice-county are synchronised with the BSBI Hub from where they are added to the Vascular Plant Database (VPDB) at the Biological Records Centre. Other records also end up at the BRC, so every couple of years I obtain a copy of all vascular plant records for VC104 held by the BRC.  Some hours of re-formatting work later, I import these records into a separate dataset in MapMate – the software used to record and map vice-county records and synchronise them with the BSBI Hub.

I have just completed the import of the VPDB from June 2009.  I would love to just combine this into my vice-county database but if I do that and then synchronise with the Hub there will be a huge amount of duplication and this will go round in circles as the years go by.  With luck this will be overcome as data-handling in BSBI and BRC evolves.

There are nearly 123,000 records for VC104 in the VPDB, so spotting interesting ones is largely down to luck.  However, I did find an older record for Dryopteris x complexa on Raasay and have modified my Flora accordingly.  Also I notice that there are a few Raasay records from R. Mackechnie on 8 July 1959.  I have a record card from Raasay dated 7-9 July 1959 with no name on it, so I think that is a mystery solved. Now all I have to do is work out what the different symbols on the card mean…….

Elsewhere, I finally got round to sending a couch grass from Muck to Mike Wilcox and he tells me that it is Elytrigia x laxa, the hybrid between E. repens (Common Couch) and E. juncea (Sand Couch).  I have found this on Raasay but there is also an undated, anonymous record for the 10km square NM48 in the VPDB.  NM48 is mostly Eigg but includes the bit  of Muck where I found this specimen  – so it may have been the same site.

The Naming of Names

February 3, 2010

It looks like there will be a major re-naming and re-ordering job to do on my flora when the new edition of Clive Stace’s New Flora of the British Isles comes out in a month or two.  He has followed the APG III approach, which I heartily endorse, but as well as the upheavals in various families notably Scrophulariaceae and Lilliaceae there are smaller changes such as Ranunculus ficaria being moved to the genus Ficaria.