Surrey is fortunate in having a continuity of record keeping which spans a period of almost 160 years. The compilation of
a County flora, or indeed a local flora, is a monumental task which needs a dedicated team to be successful.
The first County Flora was published as recently as 1863 by John Drew Salmon of Godalming (1802-1859) who assembled material for the publication of a Flora containing 984 native species, by splitting the County into nine divisions based on soils. He died before his manuscript was completed. The Holmesdale Society in 1861 bought Salmon's manuscript and his collection of plants native to the County (now in the Society's herbarium) and asked James Alexander Brewer (1818-1886), its first Honorary Secretary, to take over Salmon's work and to prepare the Flora for publication by the Society. Other botanists such as John Stuart Mill and H.C.Watson and some members of the Holmesdale Natural History Society (founded in 1857) made major contributions. Without the Society there might have been an even longer wait for the first Flora.
The second County Flora was the work of an architect, Charles Edgar Salmon (1872 - 1930), but not published until 1931, a year after his death. This Flora is divided into eight districts based on river drainage. It incorporated the work of William Hadden Beeby who handed over his records and manuscripts to Mr. Salmon. After Mr. Salmon's death the Flora was prepared for publication by Mr. W.H.Pearsall. Records were also contributed by such almost legendary botanists as Lady Davy, Dr. G.C.Druce, The Rev. E.F.Linton, The Rev. E.S.Marshall, H.W.Pugsley, The Rev. H.J.Riddelsdell (Rubus) and Colonel Wolley-Dod (Rosa).
Job Edward ("Ted") Lousley (1907-1976) was the author of the third County Flora published in 1976, and based on records collected by the Surrey Flora Committee 1957-1974 (See History). Dr.C.T. Prime and Dr. Petch proof read the typescript and Ted approved the text prior to publication only a few weeks before his death in 1976. Mr Lousley served the Botanical Society of the British Isles as Treasurer, Secretary and President and was associated with the Atlas (1962) and Supplement (1968). It was based on 10km squares and with distribution maps. It was natural that he should use the same bases for the Flora and also the Watsonian Vice-County (VCI7) to define "Surrey" based on boundaries as they were in 1859 - the system used by the BSBI.
Mention should also be made of the 'Supplement and Checklist' by Alan Leslie (1987) providing records supplemental to the 1976 Flora. Almost more valuable than this is the checklist of all species that have ever been recorded in Surrey. Also included is a 10km square distribution list for all species recorded in Surrey from 1950 - 1987. The Supplement and Checklist was updated by the Surrey Flora Committee in 1994. To a field botanist the checklist is the base for all recording and a useful restraining influence when one thinks that one has found something "new"!
In the article by D. E. Allen, Watsonia 24:271-280 (2003), in discussion about the Flora of Surrey by C. E. Salmon published in 1931 he said: "Cases such as these best exemplify the remarkable tenacity that lies behind the compiling of local Floras. For a century and a half now this has been a central activity of field botany in these islands, a way in which the energies of the locally-based - or if not locally-based, at least locally-focused - have been able to be constructively brought to bear on a long-term goal. As a way of imparting a continuity and a sense of direction to the work of a local society (or at any rate of its botanical section) it is an activity that is surely beyond compare. Indeed, without a project of this kind to keep working away at, however distant the ultimate objective, local botanical endeavour would doubtless often have withered or even died away completely."
|Title||Author||Date||Area Covered (Extremities)||Remarks|
|The New British Traveller||James Dugdale||1819||Vice County 17, Surrey||download|
|History of Epsom, Appendix VIII (Catalogue of Plants)||"An Inhabitant"||1825||Epsom||download|
|Flora of Reigate||Luxford, G.||1838||Environs of Reigate||Published by Van Voorst & Allingham, W.
|The Letters of Rusticus||Rusticus||1849||Environs of Godalming||Newman, E.
Salmon, J. D.
|New Flora of the Neighbourhood of Reigate||Brewer, J. A.||1856||Environs of Reigate||download|
|Flora of Surrey||Brewer, J. A.||1863||Vice County 17, Surrey||First Surrey Flora|
|A New London Flora||De Crespigny, E. C.||1877||Including Reigate, Guildford, Frensham, etc.|
|Flora of South-West Surrey||Dunn, S. T.||1893||Leatherhead, Dorking, Guildford, Godalming, Farnham & Haslemere|
|A Flora of Epsom and its Neighbourhood||Hart Smith-Pearse, Rev. T. N.||1917||Wallington, Cobham, Gomshall & Redhill|
|Flora of Surrey||Salmon, C. E.||1931||Vice County 17, Surrey|
|Atlas of the British Flora||Perring, F. H. & Walters, S. M.||1962||Whole of British Isles||Published by BSBI|
|A Study of the Flora of the Hog's Back||The Farnham Museum Society||1965||Seale, Puttenham & Monkshatch|
|Flora of Surrey||Lousley, J. E.||1976||Vice County 17, Surrey ('old' VC 17)|
|Boxhill||Chapman, G. & Young, B.||1979||Boxhill|
|The Natural History of Camberley and District||Camberley Natural History Society||1979||Camberley, Frimley & Lightwater|
|Flora of the London Area||Burton, R. M.||1983||London, including North Surrey - Chertsey, Leatherhead, Redhill & Limpsfield||London Natural History Society|
|Checklist of the Flora of the Croydon Area||Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society||1985||Croydon, Sutton & parts of Tandridge, Bromley, Merton, Epsom & Ewell, Mole Valley, Banstead & Reigate areas||Supplements published in 1985, 1989, 1990 & 1992|
|Flora of Surrey: Supplement & Checklist||Leslie, A. C.||1987||Vice County 17, Surrey||Supplement to Lousley's 1976 Edition. Updated by SFC - 1994|
|Flora of East Grinstead||Coleman, W. H. Editor - Rich, T. C. G.||1994||East Grinstead area, including Hedgecourt & Lingfield||Sussex Botanical Recording Society|
|New Atlas of the British Flora||Preston, C. D., Pearman, D. A. & Dines, T. D.||2002||Whole of British Isles||Published by BSBI|
|Rubus in Surrey||Allen, D. E.||2003||Vice County 17, Surrey||Surrey Flora Committee
|Wild Flowers of Wisley - A Centenary Flora||Phillips, B. & Armitage, J.||2010||Wisley RHS||Published by RHS|
Although not strictly a Flora, The Vice-County Census Catalogue of The Vascular Plants of Great Britain - 2003 published by BSBI, and by the BSBI Maps Scheme - is the most up to date reference available. See www.bsbi.org.uk