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Author Topic: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland  (Read 1657 times)

FrazerHenderson

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New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« on: December 08, 2023, 08:02:46 PM »
To all Rock Gardeners will you be in Britain or Ireland at the New Year? If so, then here's a way to embrace winter's beauty, learn more about our wonderful wildflowers and make a difference to our knowledge and understanding of climate change.

The New Year Plant Hunt is a remarkable citizen science venture that unveils winter's floral secrets and sheds light on climate change. And it's also great fun.

Warmer winters may be changing the flowering times of plants but help is needed to track this phenomenon.  Perhaps surprisingly, many plants are still flowering in midwinter. Many of these are widespread, common and easy to identify, and armed with a handy spotter sheet to help identification everyone, including total beginners, can recognise at least the top 20 species recorded in previous years.

Interested? Itís easy to take part. During the four days around New Year, 30th December - 2nd January, take a leisurely walk outdoors, noting wild flowers in bloom. Then submit your finds via an online form and contribute to vital climate research.

You can register now at bsbi.org/new-year-plant-hunt

Start 2024 by joining the journey to uncover nature's response to our changing world.
Yemen, what a country ... Haraz mountains, Socotra, Sana'a, Hadramaut, the empty quarter.... a country of stunning, mind altering beauty...and the friendliest of people.

Redmires

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2023, 02:59:07 PM »
Thanks for  posting this. I didn't know about it, but will certainly take part.  I'm also going to pass the link on to a couple of people I think will be interested.

FrazerHenderson

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2023, 04:44:03 PM »
I undertook a local walk today as part of the BSBI Plant Hunt and only saw, in three hours, Bellis perennis in flower!

However, I did find a large patch of Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss) which was more than adequate compensation.
Yemen, what a country ... Haraz mountains, Socotra, Sana'a, Hadramaut, the empty quarter.... a country of stunning, mind altering beauty...and the friendliest of people.

Redmires

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2024, 07:20:35 PM »
I wasn't out for as long as you, but my only flowering plant was a very anomalous Anthriscus sylvestris. I've been walking more than usual this year thanks to a knee injury that limits how much I can run and the only compensation has been that I've paid much more attention to the plants along my routes.  When you posted about the survey I thought I might manage 3 or 4 species, as there were still Geranium robertianum, Lamium album and some very small Silene dioica flowers to be seen on one of my regular routes, but by Christmas they'd all given up and I didn't even see a dandelion in flower - and that's usually the best bet for flowers at this time of year. No catkins yet and Ficaria verna leaves are only just beginning to emerge in one or two places.


FrazerHenderson

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2024, 05:37:32 PM »
I also undertook a walk on New Year's day across a couple of former coal/shale bings (only two flowering plants - Gorse and Daisy) and then a shoreline walk on the 2 Jan (managed three species Gorse, Daisy and Dandelion) - some folk in the south of England recorded 100 flowering species!!!!
Yemen, what a country ... Haraz mountains, Socotra, Sana'a, Hadramaut, the empty quarter.... a country of stunning, mind altering beauty...and the friendliest of people.

Margaret Thorne

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2024, 07:13:05 PM »
I did only two walks, but on both days included places where there was gorse Ė always reliable for a few flowers; this time I was surprised just how floriferous it was. The heather looked good too, though probably not eligible for inclusion as the flowers weren't new. At least the plants we recorded are all native. A lot of those 100 from the south of England look to be non-native and if naturalised, just weeds!!



718099-1

Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

Jeffnz

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2024, 10:49:09 PM »
Here in New Zealand we do not rejoice at the sight of gorse growing, the introduction of gorse by the original settlers turned out to be a problem for on going generations as the growing conditions here were perfect to rampant un controlled growth.
Visitors marvel at the sight of hill sides of gorse in full flower, if they only knew.
Growing up on a farm I remember my Dad regularly spraying gorse on the farm and never achieving total eradication. The sound of gorse seed heads popping during summer was always a audible clue to future trouble. 

Redmires

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2024, 08:58:40 AM »
I have to admit I'm curious about how flowering time is governed in gorse. I assume it must be at least partly genetic, because the flowering times of the patches I'm most familiar are variable, but seem to be consistent from year to year for a given patch. I pass one patch several times a week on my regular lunchtime stroll and I've yet to see a single flower outside the summer months. In spring there will be a fabulous display from what I assume is a hedge of cultivated gorse - it's very floriferous and flowering is closely synchronised in a way you don't see in wild stands. My impression is that winter flowers seem more frequent at sites that are higher up and more exposed - perhaps because this correlates with more winter sunshine, but I haven't tried to observe systematically, so it is only an impression.

I can't help finding the idea of 100 species in flower in the dead of winter disconcerting.

ian mcdonald

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2024, 12:34:04 PM »
An old saying, which many people will know, is when Gorse is out of flower kissing is out of season. I read somewhere that the only month gorse is not in flower is July but this is not the case.

Jeffnz

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2024, 07:03:40 PM »
Gorse flowers here May-November.
As a member of the nitrogen-fixing family, gorse can promote healthy soil-nutrient levels for native plants. Where native trees are to be planted, gorse can act as a nursery plant as it will die-off due to its shade intolerance, as native species will begin to create cover as the canopy develops.


Margaret Thorne

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2024, 10:25:00 PM »
Gorse isnít very popular with farmers round here, either, and although itís relatively rare (though not unknown) to see it being burnt, the grazing pressure seems sufficient to prevent any of the local populations from expanding.  Itís very important for providing cover for small birds and yellowhammers nest in it just above our house at 275 metres asl, but that patch is quite exposed on open hillside and isnít as floriferous as the slightly lower, more sheltered plants in the photos.
100 native plants taking the opportunity to flower during a mild spell in winter might be OK, but when so many of them appear to be naturalised, itís really concerning.
Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

ian mcdonald

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2024, 12:54:01 PM »
According to the latest BSBI Survey there are now more foreign species of plants in the UK than native plant species.

FrazerHenderson

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Yemen, what a country ... Haraz mountains, Socotra, Sana'a, Hadramaut, the empty quarter.... a country of stunning, mind altering beauty...and the friendliest of people.

alant

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2024, 07:20:20 PM »
In Scotland gorse is widely called whin.  On the Braid Hills in Edinburgh there is always the odd flower showing at any time of the year, but in Spring it puts on quite show. Sadly I couldnít find any other wild flowers during New Year walks.

Redmires

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Re: New Year Plant Hunting in Britain and Ireland
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2024, 08:20:46 AM »
Thanks for those links Frazer. It's nice to know I was right about there being a genetic component to flowering time and very interesting to read about the seed weevils. Since the distribution of the weevils doesn't tally with our anecdotal observations of early flowering there's presumably other selective pressures involved as well. Oh to be able to go back to university and do a doctorate in ecology!

 


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