Guide to the A to Z Pages of the Plant List

A typical table has entries which look like this:

Accepted Latin Names Common Name In Kent? Type Kent ref. Status Authority Record No.
Abies alba European Silver-fir Yes A1 20--1--1 Ne Mill. 0920002395
Abies concolor Colorado White-fir Clement A3 20--1--con   (Gordon) Lindl. ex Hildebr. 0920003589
Bidens pilosa Black-jack Stace A2 135--81--pil Ca L. 0920007972
Festuca ovina agg.   Aggregate AK 153--12---      
Dactylis glomerata subsp. glomerata   Other AT 153--19--1--a      

Accepted Latin names

The accepted Latin names incorporate the latest thoughts of taxonomists but do not for instance include the new names being used for some of the orchids by Professor Richard Bateman et. al. For example Orchis morio (Green-winged Orchid) would become Anacamptis morio. These substantial changes to both genus and species which affect the descriptions of hybrids as well as species would probably be incorporated in the third edition of the List of Vascular Plants of the British Isles should anyone take such a task on.

Common Name

These are common names for plants according to the various authors of these lists. They have a convention of their own which for instance doesn't allocate a common name to a plant which is an aggregate. So Rubus fruticosus agg. which is the name we would give for any Bramble seen but not identified specifically, is given no common name in these lists.

Peter Sell and Gina Murell in their new Flora of Great Britain and Ireland Volume 4, have given common names to all the Dandelions and Hawkweeds but on these lists the names are left blank. Common names are very often a personal preference and since they vary around the country can't be selected in the same systematic way. Lotus corniculatus (Bird's-foot Trefoil to me) actually has over 70 different common names. The common names, unsystematic though they are, change far less often than the Accepted Latin names and so are still very useful.

Rarely the common names have to be allocated to a different species when taxonomic information requires it and that has happened in these lists (see Some Interesting Changes).

In Kent?

This is the important column for WFS member who wishes to know whether an identified plant can be entered in the WFS dairy. If the plant has been accepted into either the original Kent list or any of the three supplements then that row will be shaded green and the entry will say Yes meaning it is in Kent and can be counted. If it says Page 79 then that refers to the Page number in the latest edition of the WFS diary.

If the entry says Yes S1 then that means that the plant has been the subject of an entry in Supplement 1 of the Kent list. Such an entry can be an addition because the plant wasn't on the Kent list before or a change to some other aspect such as the Authority or the accepted Latin name.

In the case of at least one entry, the plant has been the subject of changes in all three supplements and so would read Yes S1, S2, S3.

It is also possible that a plant once accepted on Kent's list has now been relegated and so is present on the list with a supplement reference but is not shaded green as it is no longer accepted on the Kent list.

The BSBI list also has other useful information for the botanist. For the plants which are not well established enough to be included on Kent's list, there are references to either Stace (meaning Clive Stace's New Flora of the British Isles) or Clement which refers to two books on Aliens: Alien Plants of the British Isles by Clement and Foster and Alien Grasses of the British Isles by Ryves, Clement and Foster. So even though these plants are not yet included on the Kent list the reference enables the botanist to know where to find information about the plant.

Believe it or not some printed WFS Diary species are not strictly on the Kent list!

Aggregates such as Taraxacum agg. (in the WFS Diary page 91) or Taraxacum officinale agg. (in the BSBI list) refer to a Taraxacum species known to be a Dandelion but which has not been identified at the micro-specific level. Since very few of us (even some County Recorders) record individual Taraxacum species this would be the commonest record for a Dandelion. Neither aggregate is actually on the Kent List. Kent's list rarely includes aggregate names so our WFS diary names such as Taraxacum agg. or Alchemilla vulgaris agg. are not in Kent but because they are a "catch-all" for plants too difficult to identify for the ordinary botanist, have been printed in the Diary and can be counted. On these lists an aggregate species is unsurprisingly labelled Aggregate.

Type

This is the original shorthand notation which you will find on the BSBI list 2007 indicating whether or not the species occurs in Kent A1, Clement and Foster/Clement, Foster and Ryves A3, Stace A2, is an aggregate AK or not in any of the above categories AT.

Kent ref

This is the updated Kent reference which allows you to find the species in the book or in the supplements. On the BSBI list the numbers were separated by a forward slash / but this gave Excel a migraine as it attempted to change some of the Kent references into dates, I changed the way it is present separating the numbers with two dashes. For an explanation of the Kent references see the pages about Using Kent.

Status

These shorthands refer to whether the plant is regarded as Native (N), a Neophyte (Ne), an Archeophyte (Ar) or a Casual Alien (Ca). Many have no accepted status so the column is left blank. The allocations of plants to these categories should not be taken as definitive because it is quite difficult to determine with certainty whether or not a plant is Native. The status of some plants previously though of as Native e.g. Fritillaria meleagris (Fritillary) is now doubted by some botanists but that doubt is disputed (hotly!) by others. This column is therefore ripe for amendment and discussion.

A Native plant is one which has been growing in the area without being introduced by man usually for many thousands of years. It includes naturally occurring hybrids even if those have only recently been discovered.

An Archeophyte is an established plant believed to have been introduced by man before 1500 AD.

A Neophyte has been introduced and naturalised after 1500 AD.

A Casual alien is a plant which grows in an area without being planted but fails to establish itself in the wild for very long.

Authority

The person who introduced the plant to the botanical world is usually quoted in shorthand after the name. This is known as the Authority and there are rules for how this is done and abbreviated. Very often the name is the same as that allocated to the plant by Linnaeus (L.) but a plant like Pilosella officinarum (Mouse-ear Hawkweed) has been the subject of so much revision that the history of Authorities is half a page long (Page 244 in Kent's book). Attributing the correct authority and abbreviating the names according to the rules is a study of its own and so quite a few of the entries in the supplements are changes to the Authority but not to the status of the plant as one included on the list.

Record No

This is the official record number for a plant which appears on the official check lists which botanists use when recording data for their county or 10 km square. It does not appear on the Kent list but is very important to BSBI for the records and mapping databases.

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