Botanical Society honour for Len

Author recognised for his lifetime contribution after helping to discover a number of new plant species.

A plant expert has been recognised by the Botanical Society for his contribution to the study of plant life.

Len Margetts, who moved to Honiton in 1983, was made an honorary member of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, which, he admits, was a surprise to him.

He told The Herald: “An old friend rang me up to say ‘congratulations’ and I said ‘what for?’.

“It was the first I had heard of it.”

The 88-year-old has written a number of publications over the years, including Review of the Cornish Flora, Plants of the Lizard and a supplement on Cornish Flora.

The journey into the study of plants was sparked during a walk in Bedfordshire when he came across a rare species of fern, which is what ‘triggered me off’, says Len.

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He became a recorder for West Cornwall and later for the Devon Association of the Botanical Society after he moved to Honiton and would help collect, check and monitor plant records.

In addition to his recording duties, he also assisted with a research project by the University of Bristol, which looked into the rare plants of the Lizard in Cornwall.

Over the years, he has discovered a number of new species, including dandelions and brambles, and both Len and his wife Rona have dandelions named after them - Taraxacum Margettsii and Taraxacum Ronae.

Len added: “It has been an interesting life and I have been pleased to help people. I have met a lot of interesting people.”

For those interested in getting involved in the study of plant life he said: “My advice is not to work alone and join a local natural history group.

“Then you find other contacts that can help you.”