Friday, 9 February 2018

Lincolnshire Plants - Past and Future

A talk by Aiden Neary, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Wildflower Meadow Project Officer, Friday 23rd January 2018.

Aiden's talk looked at the history of botanical recording in Lincolnshire, the creation of a historic herbarium and its recent conservation, and the project to create a new herbarium and flora for the county, with the attendant needs for training a new generation of botanists.

We were introduced to the Reverend Edward Adrian Woodruffe-Peacock, (1858-1922) Vicar of Cadney, botanist. His "The natural history of Lincolnshire; being the natural history section of Lincolnshire notes & queries, from January, 1896, to October, 1897" is a fascinating glimpse into the understanding of Lincolnshire's natural history in the late 19th century. It is available to view here.

The other key figure in the history of recording Lincolnshire's wild plants was Joan Gibbons (1902-1988), hers being "The Flora of Lincolnshire" 1975. Her remarkable life is recorded in the BSBI obituary.

We learnt a little about Joseph Burtt Davey, who, aged 20, walked from Alford to Horncastle and on to Dogdyke, making careful notes of his observations.

Liberty Gray, at Lincoln University, is researching UV patterning of the herbarium specimens, in this case a Field Scabious.

Much of Aiden's talk focussed on the work of the Joseph Banks Society, which held the historic herbarium, now transferred to the Natural History Museum and the work to create a new herbarium that will be held jointly at the NHM in London and in Horncastle. There is a small matter of collecting some 4500 plant specimens and conserving them for a permanent collection. To this end a team of volunteers are being mustered and young botanists are being trained to carry the work forward. The Love Lincolnshire Plants project has been granted significant Lottery funding to carry out the work. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is playing a central role in this new 'plant archive for the next generation', the other major partner being the Lincolnshire Naturalists' Union. Keep up to date with day to day progress by following #LovelLncsPlants on twitter.

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