New Book shows Richness of Urban Flora for Everyone to Discover

Monday 8th July 2013

A trailblazing new publication shows that Birmingham and the Black Country has an incredible diversity of plant life, with the number of species found representing nearly half of the flora found in the UK.

This book, Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country, “takes our knowledge and understanding of urban ecology to new levels and tells a positive story about the beauty and vitality hidden in our urban landscape”, according to author Ian Trueman. It is the first Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country to be published and indeed the first for any of England’s major urban areas.

It has been written by local experts Ian Trueman, Mike Poulton and Paul Reade, who for many years led a team of volunteers recording plants in every part of our conurbation. The result is an exceptional blend of detailed plant recording and a far-sighted model for the future of nature conservation in towns and cities. It also includes a description of one species in Black Country dialect!

Attractively designed and illustrated, this exciting 488-page book makes botany accessible to everyone and will engage you in a fascinating exploration of the interplay between people, industry, geology and climate which has given rise to the rich mix of plants which characterises the urban landscape today.

The work has already been put to practical use, as the preliminary results provided the basis for a successful bid for Birmingham and The Black Country to become a Nature Improvement Area. The results of this are already being felt all over the region as over 30 projects have already received funding to carry out work to improve links between habitats and to strengthen the ecological network.

The book provides readers with descriptive local botanical walks, giving an engaging introduction to the rich variety of plants that exist close to his or her own doorstep. To celebrate the publication of this book, we are offering a free copy to the first 25 school libraries which apply.

Notes to Editors 

The Authors

Ian Trueman taught at the University of Wolverhampton 1970 – 2005 and is still emeritus Professor of Plant Ecology and a Wolverhampton resident. He is also joint author of two other Floras: the Ecological Flora of the Shropshire Region and The Flora of Montgomeryshire. Ian is active in nature conservation affairs in several midlands counties and vice-President of the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.
Mike Poulton has lived in the Black Country all his life, observing many changes particularly in the landscape. A childhood fascination with wild flowers and many other interests led to him travelling widely throughout the British Isles, exploring plants and their habitats and building up a comprehensive personal collection of notes and photographs. This flora is a culmination of a lifetime passion for the natural world and for botany in particular.
Paul Reade is a local amateur botanist whose endless fascination with the natural world lead to many days spent in town searching amongst the mortared cliffs of the older buildings, and the new frontier - the post-industrial landscape with its brick-lined, gated rivers - where nature fashions new and novel botanical interest.

Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country

There are extensive registers of our best nature conservation sites, an invaluable reference for anyone with an interest in local natural history. Further chapters describe the main physical and ecological features of different parts of the metropolis, including references to local history which bring the whole subject to life for local residents. An analysis chapter explores what the Flora data tells us about this major UK conurbation, its hidden ecological network, its key habitats and how we might go about making it a better place to live in. Finally there are the atlases which not only describe the ecology and distribution of over 1800 flowering plants, conifers and ferns but also include details of fungi, lichens, mosses and liverworts, making this one of the most comprehensive of local floras ever produced.

The Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country is published by Pisces Publications on behalf of the Birmingham and the Black Country Botanical Society, EcoRecord, and The Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust.
Size: 285mm x 210mm. £45.00 (including P&P) 488pp. ISBN: 978-1-874357-55-1


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