|Alistair points out a white dead-nettle
Image: C. Pinches
The Hunt has also been appealing to all ages - I've seen records coming in from people in their 80s as well as plant-lovers at the other end of the age spectrum. The photo on the right shows Alistair helping Daddy (who happens to be BSBI's Head of Science!) to find and identify plants in Epping Forest. Great work Alistair!
The New Year Plant Hunt interactive Results map is beginning to fill up nicely, with red markers wherever botanists have been recording and some long lists, and most people are finding the online recording form easy to use (if they hit any problems, members of the Support Team are on hand to help!)
As well as the big islands of Britain and Ireland, we are seeing some nice records from our smaller islands: salmonberry, bilberry and trailing St. John's-wort are blooming on the Isle of Arran; recorders on the Isle of Wight spotted 54 species including hoary stock, seaside daisy, (naturalised) rosemary, hedge woundwort, purple viper's-bugloss and nasturtium; heather and western gorse were flowering on the Isle of Man; while Anne and her team on Jersey recorded 55 species including sweet violet, Mexican fleabane, corn spurrey, small nettle, navelwort and rescue brome, as well as sea mayweed, which was also spotted in bloom along the south coast of England!
|Sweet violet, this patch spotted by Jamie
Warren in Gloucestershire yesterday
Image: J. Warren
Over on Scotland's milder west coast, BSBI Scottish Officer Jim McIntosh found 24 taxa in bloom in Fort William, including sea mayweed which was also recorded in the Aberystwyth area, where Arthur Chater (formerly the County Recorder for Cardiganshire) found 66 species in bloom including field woundwort, sea stork's-bill, weld, common hemp-nettle and two fumitories (tall and Boreau's ramping-fumitory).
|Fay, Chloe & co found Aberystwyth train station
surprisingly fruitful - 31 species in flower!
Image: Chloe Griffiths
Proximity to the coast, especially the west coast, where the sea makes frosts much less likely than further inland, can be seen to be an important factor in finding more species in flower. But over on the east coast Whitby Naturalists still had a good list with 45 species in bloom including musk-mallow, lesser sea-spurrey, alexanders and (again!) sea mayweed
|Jessica's team of plant hunters out in Killarney
Image: J. Hamilton
In Ireland too, people seem to be finding more species in bloom near the coast. Jessica Hamilton, leading a group Hunt at Muckross, Killarney, found 43 species in bloom (the same number she found last year!) including strawberry tree and common valerian, while Finbarr spotted 52 species flowering in Cork, including common ramping-fumitory, Himalayan honeysuckle, scarlet pimpernel and sticky mouse-ear.
|Navelwort blooming today in
Campile, Co. Wexford
Image: P. O'Meara
In Donegal, up near the northernmost tip of Ireland, Carol's list of 27 species included fuchsia, tall ramping-fumitory, common hemp-nettle and marsh thistle in flower.
But don't go thinking that all inland sites had few plants in bloom - Paula O'Meara in Rathnure, around 20km from the coast, spotted 48 species in bloom including meadow foxtail, small toadflax, wild strawberry, Boreau's ramping-fumitory, field madder and bifid hemp-nettle and 46 more, including navelwort and long-stalked crane's-bill, in nearby Campile. We obviously need more data before we can even think of drawing any conclusions yet!
|Large-flowered hemp-nettle captured today
(in windy weather!) by Rebecca Wheeler, the
driving force behind the success of
Wild Flower Hour
Image: R. Wheeler
It has been such a pleasure to watch people taking their first steps in plant-spotting with #wildflowerhour, then progressing to the New Year Plant Hunt and then looking around for training courses (and grant funding to help pay for those courses!) so they can build up their ID skills.
And BSBI will be there to help and support them all the way!