Do you love wild flowers? Would you like to know more about them? And help save them for the future? So would we.
About the Wildflower Hunt
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.
Taking part in the GBWFH is a great way to enjoy flowers, whether you’re familiar with them or not. And by letting Plantlife know what you’re found, you’ll help our work to make sure that there are more flowers and that people can enjoy them.
Think of catkins, conkers and buttercups… or bluebell, cowslip and holly.
These are familiar words to many, conjuring up the seasons and the nature we’ve known since childhood.
But these words are no longer in the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Gone too are hazel, gorse and willow. Neither does dandelion feature. Nor bramble and fern.
This is not because the dictionary is anti-nature.
‘All our dictionaries are designed to reflect language as it is used,’ says its publisher Oxford University Press.
The sad fact is that for many children bluebells, acorns and chestnuts are less relevant than broadband and ‘cut and paste’.
As nature writer Robert Macfarlane puts it: ‘Do we want an alphabet for children that begins “A is for acorn, B is for buttercup and C is for conker”; or one that begins “A is for attachment, B is for block-graph, C is for chatroom?”
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question?
You can find the answers for the most common questions we’re asked on this subject here.
Plantlife’s “Code of Conduct” for picking wildflowers
Here are eight things to remember when picking any of the twelve wild flowers marked with the “Twelve to Pick” icon.
- Make sure you’re not trespassing on any private land.
- Never pick flowers from nature reserves or any other protected sites (such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest) without prior permission from the landowner.
- Only pick from large patches of abundant flowers, leaving plenty of flowers for others to enjoy, to set seed, and to provide other wildlife with pollen, nectar, seed or shelter.
- Follow the one-in-twenty rule, picking one flower out of every twenty you find. You should never diminish the display.
- Only pick a small handful of flowers for personal use, you must never pick for commercial gain.
- Don’t trample other flowers or vegetation.
- Never uproot any plant unless you have the landowner’s permission, and be aware that some plants (listed on Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act) cannot be picked without a licence
- If in doubt, don’t pick. If you don’t know the identity of a plant, leave it where it is. Take a photograph instead and try and identify it at home first.
Have a question? You can find the answers for the most common questions we’re asked on this subject here.
Why is the hunt taking place?
It’s fun for us all and it’s useful for nature conservation.
Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower – Hans Christian Andersen
Flowers are beautiful and intriguing. Why not get down on your hands and knees and up close and personal with a flower? Look and enjoy. And find out a bit more. Our parents and grandparents had a closer link to wildflowers than we do today. Familiar words like primrose, clover and blackberry are disappearing from the children’s dictionary, so Plantlife is campaigning to re-connect young people and families with the pleasure and importance of wild plants and flowers. We call this Forget-me-not and there’s more information lower down this page.
Wild flowers are vital to our planet. So much nature depends on them – bees, butterflies and us. Flowers are just not as common as they were a few decades ago. By taking part in the Hunt, you’ll give us more information about where flowers can be found. This will help us to campaign for more wild flowers and help us give more information to people wanting to find more flowers. You’ll help us make the country a prettier place to live and better for wildlife.
How to take part
Simply go outside, somewhere you think there might be wild flowers and hunt! Choose somewhere close to home or travel a bit further if you wish. Records are welcome from anywhere. We’ve split the Wildflower Hunt into two sections –
- Towns and cities, parks, footpaths, school grounds, churchyards and so on
- Countryside walks
Pick which you prefer but only choose your garden if you have a wild area.
Take a walk with your family, with friends or on your own if you want a little peace and quiet. You can walk for just a few minutes or cover a bigger area. See what you can spot.
Remember that your count is useful even if you do not see any flowers. We want to know what’s there – and what’s missing. That will help us campaign for more flowers and help you find more in the future.
Families and groups
If you’re taking part as a family, please let us know when you submit results – we’d really like to know how many wildflowers families find.
There are family activities included in the Wildflower Hunt – once you say where you’re hunting, you’ll see a list of wildflowers you might find. Click or tap on one to find more information about it a family activity to do as well. Just scroll down to find it.
If people you know are hunting as well, why not let us know? When you submit results, you can say which group you’re part of. You can enter the name of your school, guide or scout group, your church, the place where you all work. That will help us compare results.
Who is running the Wildflower Hunt?
Plantlife. We’re a charity dedicated to protecting the UK’s native plants and helping more people enjoy them.
Wild flowers, plants and fungi are the life support for all our wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscapes. But without our help, this priceless natural heritage is in danger of being lost. From the open spaces of our nature reserves to the corridors of government, we work nationally and internationally to raise their profile, celebrate their beauty, and to protect their future.
You can make a donation to help us run the Wildflower Hunt and save more wildflowers here. If you become a Plantlife member, we can do even more – just click here. We’ll send you a more detailed wildflower guide, hints on what to do in your garden and a magazine three times a year.
Get a poster & spread the word!
Help us spread the word and get as many people hunting wildflowers as possible with our free printable poster, available here:
Benefits of nature for children
Of course childhood is different in the 21st century. But we think plants and nature are still hugely important for children. After all:
- The outdoors is a key part of all children’s experience, whether you grow up in a town or the countryside. What are your happiest memories from childhood? Our bet is many of them come from playing outside – in a park, say, or in nearby scrub or woods.
- We care about what we know. Wild plants are the building blocks of nature, which humans rely on for food, materials and many medicines. Plants are part of our culture, from painting, folk music and poetry, to the flowers of the clans of Scotland.
- Nature is good for our health and happiness. There are a growing number of studies that say nature is good for mental and physical wellbeing. Taking part in Wildflower Hunt is a great way to start. Why not encourage friends and family to get involved?