By: Christopher R Boon and Alan R Outen
718 pages, 113 colour photos, 50 colour illustrations, colour distribution maps
County floras have been and still are an important feature of Britain's botanical scene. "The Flora of Bedfordshire" will provide an up-to-date account of the status and distribution of the flowering plants and mosses of the county, and place their occurrence in the context of over 400 years of study of the local flora.
For Bedfordshire it follows in a long line of such works, from Charles Abbot's "Flora Bedfordiensis" in 1798, to James Saunders' "Field Flowers of Bedfordshire" of 1911 and, more recently John Dony's masterly "Flora of Bedfordshire" of 1953 and "Bedfordshire Plant Atlas" of 1976.
The authors, Chris Boon for the flowering plants, and Alan Outen for the mosses, have each spent many years studying their fields of natural history, and are not only recorders for the county, but are also involved with their respective national societies. The flora is the culmination of more than 20 years of a comprehensive programme of recording in the county by the BNHS.
There are introductory chapters on many aspects pertaining to the flora of the county including geology, soils, conservation of the countryside and changes in the flora over the last 50 years. Also given are accounts of the history of botany in Bedfordshire, and an overview of the botanical hotspots.
Significant records are listed, and the distribution maps for each of the 2250 species that have ever been recorded in the county show their presence in areas of 2 x 2 km. A unique feature is the indication on the maps of the distribution data from an earlier survey in the 1970s by John Dony, the distinguished former county botanist, showing clearly the changes that have taken place.
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