Roughly translated that lovely piece of Bristolian rudeness means spin on that one Jack – or in received pronunciation – I think I was right after all, old chap!
So before we came down to Cornwall I had high hopes of finding a few interesting plants because there’s nothing quite as rewarding as getting a tiny square on a species map attributed to you by name (not that anyone except Q or some equivalently highly placed person would be able to access it). I wrote yesterday about the trainspotter infection and today the fix I needed arrived by email confirming my records for two plants that are pretty rare because they only grow here. They are Muehlenbeckia complexa AKA Wireplant, top left going clockwise; which is – in botanical terms – a recent alien from New Zealand but which hasn’t been recorded for 12 years; and then Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii – Babington’s Leek which is also known at the site but I found two new previously unrecorded nearby sites for it.
It may be a bit counterintuitive but in the botanical/ecological world, a plant doesn’t exist if it’s not recorded – which can be crucial when designating protected sites. But in January there aren’t many flowers to go by so we have Poland and Clement’s “The Vegetative Key to the British Flora which is basically a book of leaves”, and very good it is.
Records, however can’t be entered before they’ve been verified by a proper botanist and so we humbly present our finds with photos, measurements and all the rest; submit them and wait for the confirmatory email. Luckily the County Recorders are a brilliant bunch and very friendly , especially to beginners, and so being corrected becomes a positive learning experience rather than a crushing humiliation.
And so it came to pass today that I got the confirmations and two little red squares appeared on the national map. A matter of stupefying unimportance to the mentally sound population but in Chris Packham’s terms worth a good thigh rub! Sadly, Babington’s Leek is sold in packets by many seed merchants but for me that doesn’t diminish the pleasure of finding really wild ones.
So a short but jolly post tonight and tomorrow looks sunny so we’ll be out and about seeing what we can find. Madame has a wonderful eye for plants – we make a perfect team.