UK: Making wildflowers count


As spring begins to take a firm hold on the British countryside the timing is perfect for the launch of Plantlife's Wildflowers Count - the successor to Common Plants Survey.

Red campion flowers by Andrew GaggThere's something for everyone in this year's survey, so whether you're a complete amateur or seasoned recorder there are ways to get involved. The Common Plants Survey has been running successfully since 2000, using a list of 65 common plants. There's often such a pre-occupation with monitoring rarities that more common plants get left behind. This is a dangerous position and with such rapid changes in landscapes, could result in many plants being endangered without us even noticing.

Look out for one of the UK's favourite wildflowers, red campion (Silene dioica) on your survey.

© Andrew Gagg/Plantlife

“Wildflowers and other plants are the fundamental building blocks of our natural environment, sustaining us as well as the birds, mammals and other wildlife that we cherish,” says Sue Southway, Plantlife’s Wildflowers Count Survey Officer. “The wildflowers we see around us help show the health of our environment and factors such as improved farmland stewardship, changes in woodland management, pollution or climate change may all affect the wildflowers seen in positive or negative ways. When members of the public keep a watch and record what they see, particularly if they take part each year, their records help to show what is happening.”

Over the years volunteers who have taken part in the survey have given feedback and it's this that has led to Wildflowers Count.

There are three main ways to take part. All surveys are to be done within a 1km square near your home and this time there are up to 99 wildflowers to count:

Wildflowers Path - take a 1km walk through your square, taking note of any of the wildflowers from the guide along the way.
Wildflower Plots - the basis of the old survey. Plantlife will provide you with a survey plot.
Super-surveyor - for the more experienced there's now a chance to record as many species as possible.

All the information you need is on the Plantlife website. You can either use the contact form, email, or telephone 01722 342755. There's also a series of events that you may want to take part in.

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