Join the Great British Wildflower Hunt!
Do you love wild flowers? Would you like to know more about them? And help save them for the future? Then check out the Great British Wildflower Hunt, says Plantlife’s Jane Gazzard
People have less contact with wild flowers than previous generations. There are fewer flowers around us and we seem to have less time to enjoy them. But taking part in the Great British Wildflower Hunt could change all that. It’s a great way to enjoy flowers, whether you’re familiar with them or not. And by letting Plantlife know what you’ve found, you’ll help our work.
In June, Plantlife launched the first-ever Great British Wild Flower Hunt, designed to encourage all ages to enjoy and learn about their local wild flowers.
The Hunt is part of Plantlife’s Forget-me-not campaign to reconnect people with our wild flora, which was born from the decision to drop 26 common plant names from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.
The words in the OJD simply reflect a modern child’s life. But while many of us have read the headlines that kids today don’t know their wildlife and spend more time indoors than any generation before, there is something stark about children simply not needing to know words like ‘bluebell’ or ‘blackberry’. .. they have become irrelevant to their lives.
What was even more arresting is that so many of these words are synonymous with childhood; - what are conker and buttercup if not for competitive whacking and looking under chins with?
We know Plantlife’s members value wild plants and want to protect and conserve them. This is probably because you know a little something about them – perhaps their place in the world supporting pollinators, perhaps as old friends on well-trodden walks or growing in your garden. Perhaps they are inextricably linked to your childhood? If we want our wild plants to carry on being protected and conserved, we need to make sure there are people who want to do this – who value their beauty, intricacy, cultural value and, yes, their ecosystem services.
This is where you come in... The Great British Wildflower Hunt is a way of encouraging that connection, that relationship with wild flowers. It comes with two online guides: Around town and A country stroll and we are launching a third next spring; Down to the woods. Between them, they cover the names, facts and folklore of nearly 70 wild flowers.
Each flower is scored so the Hunt is fun to do with children. The website will automatically detect your location and mark this on a map and you can move the location pin and give the location a suitable description.
You can also provide your name or team name which will be publicly displayed on the results map.
When you select a hunt pack (currently 'country' or 'town') you are presented with a list of wildflower photos to help you identify any flowers you see. You can filter this list by colour and then tick off the ones you've spotted. You are also encouraged to share photos of the wildflowers you've spotted on social media.
Each wildflower scores between 1 and 3 points and you are presented with a total score at the end which you can share with friends on Facebook and Twitter via #wildflowerhunt.
We need more people to care about wild flowers.
This is an easy way for you, the wider Plantlife family, to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with friends and family. You can do the Hunt walking the dog, with toddlers in the park, family walks in the woods or on a hike in the hills - simply take the Wildflower Hunt with you and get people hunting.
Old favourites, new delights
Red clover will earn you one star and finding a rare gem such common spotted orchid earns three stars, and with each flower you’ll find folklore and facts to share with fellow hunters.
The mauve flowers appear in a band that gradually 'moves' up the flowerhead as new blooms open and old ones close. You can collect the flowerheads and dry them
Did you know there’s always a golden glow when you hold a buttercup under your chin? The outer layer of cells in the petals trap a thin layer of air, creating a mirror-like effect and reflecting the yellow pigment below.
A rarer find, despite its name. The individual flowers are so small but they’re densely packed into an impressive spire.
Exceptional plants may have over 120 flowers
Here are three questions we are asking our friends and family to try to understand more about our attitudes to wild flowers. We’d love to hear your answers at #WildFlowerHunt
- What’s your earliest memory of wild flowers?
- Do you remember picking wild flowers as a child?
- If you saw someone picking a few common wild flowers, how would you feel?