Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland – New Year Plant Hunt

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland – New Year Plant Hunt

FCWF committee members led by our colleague and botanist Matthew Jones participated in the BSBI New Year Plant Hunt on Friday 3rd January.

FCWF Botanist Matthew Jones and FCWF President David Holland,  on the hunt for wildflowers.

Each year, early in the new year, people brave the midwinter cold and take to the fields and woodlands looking for wildflowers in bloom. 

The BSBI plant Hunt has been running for several years with 1000s of both amateurs and professionals now involved. The study enables a comparison between the years and across the nation to consider amongst other issues, the impact of global warming on wildflower development. Its more than this however, as every ecosystem is a community of interacting organisms dependent on other species.  The availability of food sources at the time they are needed is key. In short; the insects need the flowers and the birds etc. need the insects. Wildflowers are not just pretty, they are a barometer of species diversity and healthy habitats.

Our results have now been posted on the Botanical Society Britain and Ireland (BSBI) website:

Recording a “Nil” is just as important as finding wildflowers in full bloom. In science, a nil result is still a positive outcome. Subject to factors such as how far north a site is, it may be entirely consistent with other years that there are no wildflowers in full development. The timing of the study is therefore crucial and the BSBI has a set of rules about when and for how long etc the “ Hunt” can be done.

With an “app” for recording the results and the use of modern tech to provide instant analysis, the emerging results are already available and provide a fascinating insight into this snapshot in time of the state of our countryside. Its worth a visit to the website if, like me you find such mass public participation in Citizen Science heartwarming.

For our site of Childwall Woods and Fields: Whilst several species were sighted in one localized position (close to the gatehouse)  there was no evidence of widespread early blooming. Whilst the shoots of snowdrops were in evidence they had yet to produce any flowers. The Childwall Woods and Fields specific results can be found at

I look forward to repeating the event with FCWF colleagues and more in future years.

Author:   John McCombs  Chair of Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields

Some specimens that were found on the site.

Silene  dioica     Red Campion

Primula vulgaris.  Primrose

Poa annua.    Annual Meadow-grass

Pentaglottis sempervirens  Green Alkanete

Heracleum sphondylium.  Hog-weed

Geranium robertianum.  Herb Robert

Cardamine hirsuta.   Hairy Bitter-cress

Bellis perennis. Daisy

Photographs: John McCombs and Matthew Jones

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