Plants in Beds are tracked in new book that has been produced by village historian

b12-138 Chris Boon of Greenfield has written a book on the flora of Bedfordshire.
b12-138 Chris Boon of Greenfield has written a book on the flora of Bedfordshire.

A PLANT enthusiast has helped to produce a book following the distribution of every plant in Bedfordshire over the last 20 years.

Chris Boon, who lives in Greenfield, led a group of volunteer researchers who have spent the last two decade tracking the population and location of all plants in the county.

The book, called the Flora of Bedfordshire, which is usually produced in each county, has been on sale since just before Christmas and it has already nearly sold out.

Chris, 72, who used to work as a physicist at Wrest Park before he retired said: “It was a massive relief when I finally saw the book in all its glory. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it, but seeing it published really made it all worth it.

“I had a very dedicated team of volunteers who helped carry out all the research and I then analysed all the data and produced distribution maps of each plant.

“My colleague Alan Outen worked on the distribution of the mosses, and Richard Revels, who is a national wildlife photographer, did all the pictures. Credit needs to go to them as well as I couldn’t have done it without their help.”

Chris says he has been interested in botany history since he was a youngster, but he started looking seriously into it in 1970 when he met Dr John Dony, who was a recorder of botany in the county.

After Chris retired in 1996, he then dedicated a lot more of his time looking into the history of botany and decided to start researching for the 700-strong page book.

Chris, 72, added: “Producing a Flora is always something I wanted to do, but never actually thought I could do it.

“After I retired, I realised that we had gathered quite a lot of records and started to think it was possibility.

“I’m really pleased that we decided to carry it through all the way and I’m proud of it.”

The book states that one of the plants that has seen a big increase over the last 20 years is the Bee Orchid, which has increased by more than three times since 1971.

The research has also show that no plants in Bedfordshire have become disappeared completely over the last 20 years, but some have become very rare, including wetland plants.

The book, which has been published by the Bedford Natural History Society is available at Ampthill book shop Horatios.