Fascination of Plants Day 2013

May18th Fascination of Plants Day

Journal of Ecology & Fascination of Plants Day 2013

The Editors of the Journal of Ecology are pleased to honour Fascination of Plants Day 2013  by highlighting the most recent accounts in our Biological Flora of the British Isles series.  The series provides a fascinating insight into both common and endangered plant species. The accounts have their own format in the Journal presenting information on distribution, habitat, communities, responses to biotic and environmental factors, structure and physiology, phenology, floral and seed characteristics, herbivores and disease, history and conservation. The series Editor is Professor Anthony Davy who is always open to enquiries from authors for new accounts.

Since 2011, the Journal has published 11 Biological Flora accounts (see table below) and there are more on the way. These recent accounts illustrate well the diversity of plants covered in the series ranging from the native, but highly invasive elsewhere Spindle Tree to Britain’s rarest orchid, the Ghost Orchid (see photographs).

Biological Flora of the British Isles: Epipogium aphyllum Sw. by Taylor & Roberts.

Biological Flora of the British Isles: Epipogium aphyllum Sw. by Taylor & Roberts.

Many of the plants such as the Marsh Woundwort have traditional medicinal use highlighting their conservation value. Others such as the Burnet Rose have been developed for ornamental use. All are fascinating in their own right.

Latin name Common name Fascinating Fun Fact
Campanula rotundifolia Harebell Circumpolar distribution from the Arctic Circle to northern Mexico and North Africa
Dryopteris carthusiana, D. dilatata and D. expansa Buckler-ferns Native ferns
Epipogium aphyllum Ghost Orchid Britain’s rarest orchid
Euonymus europaeus Spindle Tree Young green shoots fix c. 15% of its CO2.
Fagus sylvatica European Beech Drought susceptible, may show range contraction due to climate change.
Gunnera tinctoria Giant Rhubarb Forms intracellular symbiosis with N-fixing cyanobacteria. The only known Angiosperm to do so.
Gymnadenia conopsea Fragrant Orchid Tubers used in traditional Chinese medicine for asthma, neurasthenia and chronic hepatitis.
Orchis anthropophora Man Orchid Pollinated by sawflies and beetles
Pseudorchis albida Small White Orchid Grows back annually from an underground tuber that is completely replaced every year.
Rosa spinosissima Burnet Rose or Scots Rose Several varieties and cultivars with single or double white or cream-white (commonly), pink, yellow, or pink flowers.
Silene suecica Alpine Catchfly Presence can indicate elevated soil Cu.
Stachys palustris Marsh Woundwort Traditionally used to staunch bleeding and healing wounds

The Biological Flora of the British Isles is a continuing series of monographic accounts of the diverse plant species growing wild in the British Isles; they are published, in the Journal of Ecology, as they become available. Accounts provide information on aspects of species’ biology that are relevant to understanding their ecological characteristics and behavior, all in a standard format: taxonomy, distribution, habitat, communities, responses to biotic factors, responses to environment, structure and physiology, phenology, floral and seed characters, herbivores and disease, history, and conservation. Authors are selected for their special expertise and experience with particular species, and a new account (or occasionally, an updated one) is published in most issues of the journal. The series was initiated in 1941 and currently covers some 300 species in 271 separate accounts. The huge amount of information distilled in the accounts provides a unique, accessible source of reference that is used by scientists for research and conservation purposes all over the world.

Accounts from 1999 onwards are available free online via the Wiley Online Library with older accounts available through JSTOR at a preferential rate for members of the British Ecological Society.

David Gibson
Executive Editor, Journal of Ecology

Anthony Davy
Biological Flora Editor, Journal of Ecology

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2 thoughts on “Fascination of Plants Day 2013

  1. Slightly off at a tangent but if you ever want to see Bee-friendly plants in action, you should visit a field of flowering Phacelia. Last August, I saw a field planted in this crop, literally buzzing with Bees. It is also a very good nitrogen fixer and manure crop.

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