New Edition of An Irish Flora Honours Late Trinity Botanist Professor D.A. Webb
Apr 05, 2012
A publication on the standard flora of Ireland, edited by Professor of Systematic Botany, John Parnell, and Research Associate in Botany, Dr Tom Curtis, with illustrations by Elaine Cullen of the School of Natural Sciences, was recently launched in Trinity College Dublin. The latest edition of An Irish Flora has been renamed Webb’s An Irish Flora in honour of the late Trinity Professor D.A. Webb who was involved in all of the previous seven editions and was a leader in Irish botany for decades.
The new edition of the book, which has taken about 10 years to compile, describes all native plant species as well as all those that are relatively commonly introduced. The extensively revised publication also provides information on their distribution, taxonomy, ecology, conservation and any unique features of interest. The order of plants in Webb’s An Irish Flora now utilises the latest phylogenetic arrangement of the flowering plants – the so-called APG III system of plant classification - which has also been used to reorder the Irish and British plant collections in the Trinity College Dublin Herbarium and other major herbaria.
Launching the book, Professor Steve Blackmore, CBE, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and Queen’s Botanist, commented on the essential need for continued flora production worldwide thereby facilitating sustainable planning and economic development, and enhancing our knowledge of biodiversity. The new edition of Webb’s An Irish Flora, he believed, was one of the first, if not the first in the world to be structured around the APGIII scheme and that this complemented the new layout, easy-to-read authoritative text and enticing, accurate and informative illustrations by Elaine Cullen.
Head of Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, Professor Celia Holland, said: “Trinity’s Department of Botany maintains a unique position through its research in systematic botany and the unique resources it has been able to accumulate over time to facilitate that work – notably the large collection of preserved plant material kept in its herbarium. Writing any flora depends on a large repository of reference material and the Trinity Herbarium is such a repository – an unique university resource in Ireland and almost so in Britain and Ireland.”
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