Posted by: lensweb | December 5, 2011

The Flora of Derbyshire Project

distribution map

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The Derbyshire Flora Project began life in 1994 when botanists across Britain responded to a proposal from the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) to produce a new national atlas of vascular plants covering the whole of Britain and Ireland. Derbyshire’s botanists joined forces to help, and began recording the distribution of this county’s wild plants in a scheme they called Derbyshire Flora 2000. Their work ended in December 2000 and the UK Atlas itself appeared two years later (Preston et al, 2002).

The second aim of the Derbyshire Flora Project was to collect enough data to publish a completely new book on our own wild plants, offering coloured distribution maps and accounts of each species. It would take the name of the previous work – The Flora of Derbyshire – which last appeared thirty years before (Clapham, 1969).

Since 1997 the project has been led by two people. Dr Alan Willmot is Derbyshire’s County Plant Recorder for the BSBI, and a recently retired lecturer in biology at The University of Derby. Computerisation and preparation of data has been overseen since the project’s inception by Nick Moyes, former Keeper of Natural Sciences at Derby Museum & Art Gallery. Both have undertaken much of this work in their own time, working closely over the years with around 100 volunteer recorders and data inputters.[source]

There has been speculation over the future of the Derbyshire Flora project since Nick Moyes’ departure from the Derby Museum, and the recent ‘resource cannot be found‘ message when attempting to access the Flora of Derbyshire online database prompted LENS to contact Nick to discover the current position. Fortunately our fears for the worst turned out to be unfounded, as we now understand that the Flora of Derbyshire webpages will not be lost and will reappear in due course. In fact the original pages can currently be accessed via this archive link. New Flora of Derbyshire home page.

Further good news is that Nick has new, updated species distribution maps for the website and he assures us that both he and Dr Willmot still want the project to be brought to a conclusion, although he admits that the final flora publication may not have quite the polished finish that they otherwise might have hoped for (I’m sure it will be excellent). We will be keeping an eye on Nick’s blog for future updates and wish him every success for the future.

For anyone interested in historical records, there is also a searchable copy of Flora of Derbyshire by W.A. Linton (pub. 1903) available for online viewing or in several download formats courtesy of Open Library. Also see A contribution to the flora of Derbyshire by W. H. Painter (pub. 1889). Wikipedia also have an interesting article on Joseph Whittaker. Joseph Whittaker (1813–1894) was a British Botanist who visited South Australia in 1839. Whittaker has 300 plants from that trip in Kew Gardens and 2,200 pressed British plants in Derby Museum and Art Gallery and in the late 1880s gave valuable assistance, and supplied a range of plant specimens, to Rev W.H. Painter who was preparing to publish a book on the Flora of Derbyshire. Many of Whittaker’s specimens and records were also used by William Richardson Linton, vicar of Shirley in a further Flora of Derbyshire in 1903.


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