New Year Plant Hunt: what and when it is, how to take part, and which species to look out for
Take part in this annual event to find out how our wild flowers are responding to changes in autumn and winter weather patterns.
What is the New Year Plant Hunt?
The New Year Plant Hunt is an annual event when people – whether absolute beginners or experienced naturalists – across Britain and Ireland head out to see how many wild or naturalised plants (not garden plants) they can find in bloom in their local area at midwinter.
Who runs the New Year Plant Hunt?
The New Year Plant Hunt started in 2012 and is organised by the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI).
When is the New Year Plant Hunt
Dates vary slightly each year but they always include New Year’s Day! The 2023 Hunt takes place between 31st December and 3rd January.
How to take part in the New Year Plant Hunt
Head out for a walk of no longer than three hours but your walk can be as short as you like and you can “stop the clock” as many times as you wish for tea breaks or comfort stops.
There is an app or online recording form that you can use to record your finds, either on your phone or on your computer. So you can either submit your records while out hunting or wait until you are back home where it’s nice and warm. You can also photograph the plants you see – so it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what the plant is, we will help you identify it from the photos you upload.
Usually people can choose between going out alone, with friends or family, or with a group.
Find out more about taking part.
Which wildflowers am I likely to see during the New Year Plant?
The three most frequently recorded species are usually daisy, groundsel and dandelion. Gorse, yarrow, hogweed and dead-nettles (both red and white) also usually appear in the ‘Top Twenty’.
With more and more people taking part each year across Britain and Ireland, we are receiving records of 500+ species in bloom each winter. In January 2020, there were 115 species on the longest list which came from a plant hunter in Swanage, Dorset.
Learn more about the 2020 New Year Plant Hunt: frequently seen species and longest lists, and a detailed analysis.
More information on wildflowers:
- Get started, on the BSBI website
- Definitions: wild, native or alien? On the BSBI website
- How to identify early spring blooms
- What is an ancient woodland indicator?
- How to sow a wildflower mini-meadow
- How to identify common ‘weeds’
Main image: Daisy in winter. © Minh Hoang Cong/500px/Getty
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