The University of Reading Herbarium has an important collection of British Euphrasia specimens collected by Peter Yeo, a long time botanist at Cambridge University Botanic Garden. This week we are host to a visit by Chris Metherell, the BSBI Vice County Recorder for North Northumberland (v-c 68). He is presently heading up an editorial team preparing a BSBI handbook on the genus Euphrasia – An uphill task!
As part of the background work for the handbook the team is intending to visit as many UK herbaria as possible which house Euphrasia collections. As an alumnus of Reading University Chris has volunteered to inspect the Euphrasia specimens deposited by Peter Yeo at RNG. We have just over three full cabinets of Peter’s specimens, so this is no small task!
In the UK, Euphrasia are notorious for their tendency to hybridise. This means that distinguishing species from hybrids can be a challenge. The new BSBI handbook on the genus should allow better reporting of species and putative hybrids in future and so help map these tiny plants in Britain.