Tuesday 27 January 2015

New Year Plant Hunt 2015 Star Recorder

Erigeron acris, Pagham Sussex 2/1/2015
Image: D. Nelson
RyanTim, Sarah and I (the New Year Plant Hunt Team) were delighted with every record we received during the Hunt and very pleased that more than 300 of you took part and recorded 368 species in bloom. But some people really went the extra mile to get those records. 

Our Star Recorder is BSBI member Dawn Nelson, who went out recording on each of the four days of the Plant Hunt and came back with a great list each time.

Helleborus argutifolius recorded in flower
 in Midhurst 1/1/2015 & Pagham 2/1/2015
Image: D. Nelson
 I asked Dawn to tell us how she got involved in the Hunt and about her recording forays from her Sussex (VC13) home.  

Dawn said "In the winter of 2012/13 Sarah posted on Facebook about her and Tim doing a New Year Plant Hunt in Cardiff the winter before and encouraging others to do it for 2012/13. So I did my first one in Midhurst/Easebourne, my nearest town. 

Pastinaca sativa
Portsdown Hill, VC11
Image: D. Nelson
"In 2013/14 I kicked off with Tim and Ceri in Pagham (a bit of a honeypot place for winter flowering plants being semi-urban and coastal, with a wide variety of habitats). Then, due to my proximity to three other Vice-Counties (VC11, VC12 and VC17), I thought I would get a list from each. 

"This year I decided to cover Midhurst/Easebourne and Pagham again and was joined by a friend and Jill Oakley for those two, but thought I would also do 4 days again so redid Liss VC12 from last year and added Portsdown Hill VC11.

Cornus sanguinea, Portsdown Hill, VC11
Image: D. Nelson
"Next year I will do the same routes in Pagham, Midhurst/Easebourne and 2 of the other previous ones, hopefully with more people - a few more pairs of eyes really does help. 

For 18 years I have been doing a 'Plants in flower in my garden on Jan 1st' list, so this is in a way just an extension of that. I really enjoy it, it’s so good to get out again after the excess of Xmas indoors". 

Erophila verna, Portsdown Hill, VC11
Image: D. Nelson
So that explains why Dawn is our Star Recorder and here are her Three Botanical Wishes for 2015: 

"First Wish: To see more students and tutors taking up the FSC/BSBI online Identiplant course, for which I am about to enter my 3rd year as a tutor. It is excellent for both students and tutors.

"I have learnt a lot from it by seeing plants again from a novice’s perspective, and becoming much more familiar with the plant families. The feedback from students has also been very positive and inspiring. 
Cyclamen coum near Midhurst,
blooming on New Year's Day
Image: D. Nelson
"Second Wish: To let more people know about the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust which has a very active, friendly and informative flora group known as Hants Plants, with a busy varied programs of meetings and courses throughout the year.  Both the BSBI VC recorders for Hants are active members of this group.

"Third wish: I'm eagerly awaiting the BSBI Viola Handbook, due to be published soon".

Many thanks to our New Year Plant Hunt Star Recorder. I hope all her Botanical Wishes come true this year and that she joins us all again for next year's New Year Plant Hunt.


  1. is the Parsnip photo Alexanders?

    1. Hmm, I wondered about that myself but couldn't make my mind up from the photo. The umbels all look a bit sparse and flat for Alexanders and the yellow looks quite intense. On the other hand the leaves (as far as I can tell) look shiny and don't obviously have many segments, and the petiole sheaths look pretty conspicuous.

  2. A minor bit of pedantry about Dawn's second wish - the Hants Wildlife Trust's Flora Group is actually known, rather boringly, as the Hampshire Flora Group. 'Hants Plants' is a separate web site that I run. It reports on the activities of the BSBI VC recorders and members and the doings of the Hants Flora Group, which are all closely aligned. But you may occasionally see things on there which are the recorders' personal ramblings and shouldn't be imputed to either organisations.

    Anyway, many congratulations, Dawn, for your achievement. You didn't revisit that bizarre "wild flower" planting from last year on Portsdown, did you?


Please leave a comment!