Botany: vascular plants

The Botany Group

Wood Calamint at Rowridge

Wood Calamint at Rowridge (MC)

Contact the species-group Recorder

The Botany section of the IWNHAS meets at least once a month between January and October of each year.

Some of our recent meetings –


The Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) has a very useful website where one can identify a plant

There is a long history of botany on the Island see Isle of Wight Botanists

What to look out for early in the season, Spring in the hedgerows.

What to look out for in autumn, Autumn in the hedgerows.

Also recorded by our Group are Galls and Leafminers


In the winter we carry out conservation tasks at the site of one of the Island’s rare plants – Wood Calamint. We spend a Sunday morning clearing back coarser vegetation from the site to reduce competition when active growth of the plants begins. We also monitor the population of the rare Field Cow-wheat annually on the reserve owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust.

Indoor meetings

In January we have an indoor meeting to review the previous year, and to look forward to the coming recording season. We also use this meeting to look at other areas of interest such as the Interactive Flora of the British Isles on DVD, or plants from other countries photographed by members of the group who have travelled there.

Field meetings

The field recording season is generally from March to October, and takes place at sites all over the Island – woodlands, meadows, salt marshes, sand dunes and other habitats. Some of the places we visit are accessible to the public but quite often we are able to arrange visits to private land. Sometimes we have requests from landowners who are interested in knowing what they have growing on their land and our findings are helpful to them in managing the area.

We generally do not walk long distances during our meetings but spend our time making lists of all that we see, which afterwards are put together to make as complete a list as possible for the site. We all have different amounts of expertise and you will always find someone to help you work out what you are looking at. If you have a wildflower book with illustrations or written ‘keys’ to help you identify plants it is useful to bring it with you.


We took part in the BSBI (Botanical Society of the British Isles) Local Change project during 2004 both as a group and as individuals. The survey, which was carried out countrywide, is being used to help assess how the wild flora of the British Isles is changing.


A Botany report which gives lists of all the species we have recorded is produced at the end of each year by one of our members. In 2003 ‘The Isle of Wight Flora’ was published, and members of the section contributed to the recording for this as well as in many other ways. Copies of the Flora, see Publications, are available from IWNHAS office in West Cowes.


There are recording aids available, some of them specific to the Island’s own list, others useful in a more general way. Visit Downloads