BBS > Recording > Recording Cards    

Bryophyte Recording cards

  • Visit the downloads page for the 2015 electronic data entry cards (cards RP37, RP38, RP39 and RP40) and the old 2005 electronic data entry cards (cards RP33, RP 34, RP 35 and RP36) if required.

O.L. Pescott ( & C.D. Preston
Biological Records Centre & British Bryological Society


The BBS recording cards

The new recording cards were updated in 2015 by O.L. Pescott and C.D. Preston, replacing the RP33 (SE England), RP34 (Middle Britain), RP35 (NW Scotland) and RP36 (Ireland) cards originally designed and engineered in 2005 by M.O. Hill. 

The nomenclature of the new cards follows M.O. Hill, T.H. Blackstock, D.G. Long & G.P. Rothero (2008). A Checklist and Census Catalogue of British and Irish Bryophytes. Updated 2008. (Middlewich: British Bryological Society), with some additions and amendments.

The four cards that are now available follow the existing vice-county groupings, but are renumbered as below:

  • SE England (RP37) Vice-counties 7-32 and 53-54
  • Middle Britain (RP38) Vice-counties 1-6, 33-52 and 55-95 (ie the areas not covered by the SE England and NW Scotland cards).
  • NW Scotland (RP39) Vice-counties 96-112.
  • Ireland (RP40) Vice-counties H1-H40.

In general, the most frequent species in the vice-counties listed are included on the record cards. T.L. Blockeel, M.O. Hill, D.G. Long and G.P. Rothero also advised on species inclusion. For a map of vice-counties, see the v.-c. map page. In general, the appropriate card to use will be given by the vice-county list above, but there will be exceptions. Recorders in arable lowlands or chalk wolds of S.E. Yorkshire (v.c. 61), for example, might find that the SE England card is more suitable than the Middle Britain card.

Cards are available free of charge to bona fide recorders. Please order via the BRC (, or write to: Biological Records Centre, CEH Wallingford, Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordsire OX10 8BB, citing the code number of the card you want (RP37 etc.) and the number of cards you require. Please don’t just ask for ‘a good number’ of cards or ‘enough to keep me going for a year or two’! Cards are also now available with or without BRC numbers. Please also specify which type you require.

Alternatively, .pdf files of the cards can be downloaded and used to print your own cards. The back with BRC numbers are v1.2 following minor corrections.

There is also a downloadable Excel spreadsheet on the website with the Blockeel & Long (1998) names, abbreviated names and BRC numbers of all species, for those wishing to create their own county cards .

Notes on filling in records cards, on the composition of the aggregates listed on the cards and on the differences between the old and new record cards follow.

Completing field recording cards

The cards are intended for use in the field. They can sometimes also be useful in extracting information from sources such as notebooks, reports and publications, and thus converting such records into a format which can more easily be input into a database. In compiling field cards, please make the place and time of recording as specific as possible. Cards are most useful if they refer to a single visit to a single site or tetrad. Please don’t use different colours on a single card to distinguish different sites or visits – it is much more time-consuming and error-inducing to input four sets of data from one card than it is to input four cards, and of course the colours are lost on photocopies. A cardinal sin is to compile records from various visits over a prolonged period onto a single summary card or ‘master card’. This has caused much frustration for local Flora writers who find that, when writing their Floras years after the cards were completed, they are unable to trace the original details of the records. If you need to record a taxon which isn’t listed included on the species list on the back of the card, use the columns on the front. Don’t annotate the list on the back with tiny comments such as ‘s.s.’ or ‘var. obt’. The records are usually input by the BRC number which refers to the taxon on the list, and it is all too likely that your annotation will be overlooked and the printed number input. Please make full use of the column on the front of the card to record the precise localities of locally or nationally uncommon species, or other noteworthy information. If you have a long list of ‘write-ins’, don’t hesitate to continue it on a second card, repeating the basic site information in the boxes at the top. Don’t cram the records onto a single card so that they become illegible, or write records very close to the margins where they may be lost on photocopies.

The composition of the aggregates on the cards

Aggregates are indicated on the cards by an asterisk; the components of the aggregate are detailed on this spreadsheet .


Differences between the old (2005) and new (2014) cards

Click on the links below to view tables of the changes.

SE England (RP37)

Middle Britain (RP38)

NW Scotland (RP39)

Ireland (RP40)


Copyright © British Bryological Society .