Tuesday, 13 January 2015

New Year Plant Hunt: evidence of climate change?

Feverfew, VC59, 3/1/2015
Image: P. Gately
Regular readers of these pages may be getting a bit Plant Hunted out at this point and I promise you, normal botanical service will soon be resumed, but for now, the world and his wife are asking about what we found on our New Year Plant Hunt

Yesterday saw Tim on BBC Radio Wales and me on BBC Radio Kent (both start ~90 minutes in), while Co-ordinator Ryan and local recorder Oisin were on BBC Radio Foyle (starts at 1 hr 45 mins) this afternoon. 

They've all asked us to remind them about the Plant Hunt next year so their listeners can take part.

White Dead-nettle, VC59, 3/1/2015
Image: P. Gately 
We are being asked if our list of 368 species in flower is proof of climate change but, as botanical recorders, we are stressing that a lot more evidence is needed - you can't draw many conclusions from one or two years of records. 

But the dataset we are starting to build up of what is in flower each New Year will become increasingly useful over time. So we hope that even more people will contribute next year.

Other scientific societies are running this story, as here on the Society of Biology/UK Plant Sciences Federation website And not just in Britain and Ireland: a French journalist contacted us about the Plant Hunt and you can click here to read it (in French, naturellement!)

But back to the plants we saw, and our first Plant Hunt prize-winner - watch out for the next post ;-)