Nature Blog Network

New Year Plant Hunt

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland conducted their fifth New Year Plant Hunt, in which people submit reports of wildflowers and escapes in flower between Jan 1-4th.

It had never crossed my mind that anything would be in flower at that time of year and I certainly don't remember noticing any in previous years. During the first couple of days of the year there was a pretty regular stream of pictures on Twltter of flowers so decided to take part.

Nationally there were over 8500 records of plants in flower, covering 612 different species. This is up from 368 last year, and the highest number ever recorded. But even so - 368? In January? 612 species is approx a quarter of the plants flowering regularly in Britain. about a third are aliens

Over 3/4 of records were autumn-flowering plants still in bloom in the absence of frost. Less than 1/5 were early spring flowers. Apparently both daisy and dandelion are expected to be in flower at this time of year, which was news to me.

Not surprisingly the highest number were seen from the south and west of England where the weather it milder. Urban areas gave higher reports than rural ones.

I surveyed the lane and the field then wandered over Marl Pits. I searched for an hour - a third of the maximum period permitted under the survey.

Not a thing.

The recorder said that they had very few entries from Lancashire. Perhaps that's not surprising, if my findings are generalised.