Regeneration of Juniper at Porton Down, Wiltshire

The widely held view that Juniper fails to regenerate in southern England has been overturned by a small group of Wiltshire botanists working on Porton Ranges. Several hundred young seedlings have been located after hours spent on hands and knees carrying out a finger-tip search. The results and conclusions are detailed in a paper that you can download from here . The seedlings have been monitored over three years resulting in an analysis of survival rates in different types of vegetation. The group is also able to suggest reasons for their demise, findings which should be of particular interest to those managing sites with mature Juniper bushes.
Hunting for Juniper seedlings at Porton Down

BSBI Atlas recording yields exciting finds

 Few-flowered Fumitory Fumaria vaillantii is a very rare plant in Wiltshire. It was first found on the Cholderton Estate in the south of the county during Plantlife surveys in 2016. Now Dave Green has extended its range into North Wiltshire by discovering a single plant on newly imported soil at a church in Bradford-on-Avon. Fumitories with very small, pale pink flowers and rough fruits that are no wider than tall are worth checking for this plant.

Dave has also discovered a significant population of the rare Shepherd's-needle Scandix pecten-veneris at Alderton. Around 50 plants were counted in an area used during the winter and spring for goose and duck rearing. Once a common arable weed, this species is very rarely seen in the county these days.

Well done Dave!
Shepherd's-needle (Scandix pecten-veneris)

Tom Cairns

 We're very saddened to report that Tom Cairns passed away in June. Tom was a very active member of the WBS and in the past few years had been enthusiastically recording in Wiltshire for the BSBI's Atlas 2020 Project.

He was a real people person and had a sunny and warm disposition which certainly helped him negotiate his way onto private land to undertake his botanical surveys. He was usually seen in the company of his rather expensive-looking camera, with which he took some amazing photographs of Wiltshire's plants. We will remember him with much fondness.

It is hoped that Tom's obituary will follow shortly.
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