New Year Plant Hunt 2016

The New Year has arrived, and with it came the most botanising I’ve ever done, and I’ve loved it.

The #NewYearPlantHunt, run by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, is an event that anyone can take part in, simply by going out and recording all the natural/naturalised/non-planted plants that are in flower that they see in a 3 hour period during the first 4 days of the year.

My first plant hunt began on patch with the recently created Wild Reekie group, a first meeting of the group and if this one was anything to go by, it’s a good group to be a part of!

We started at the car park by Blackford Pond and worked our way over Blackford Hill to the Hermitage, and then round the hill past the allotments. I won’t take you through the whole walk, but here’s a list of all the species we saw in flower:


Brambles – Rubus fruticosus

Gorse – Ulex europaeus

Yorkshire-fog – Holcus lanatus

Annual Meadow-grass – Poa annua

Common Alder – Alnus glutinosa


Common Ragwort – Senecio jacobaea

Red Campion – Silene dioica

Giant Butterbur – Petasites japonicus

Autumn Hawkbit – Leontodon autumnalis


Daisy – Bellis perenis

Ivy – Hedera helix

Hazel – Corylus avellana

Wood Avens – Geum urbanum

Prickly Sow-thistle – Sonchus asper


Barren Strawberry – Potentilla sterillis

Herb-Robert – Geranium robertianum

Lesser Celandine – Rananculus ficaria

Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium

White dead-nettle – Lamium album

Cock’s-foot – Dactylis glomerata

Dandelion – Taraxacum sp.

Feverfew – Tanacetum parthenium

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium


Smooth Sow-thistle – Sonchus oleraceus

A good haul of 24 species! Although on the next day @warren_maguire managed a staggering 40 species in the same area! A very nice count, although he definitely knows more than any of us in our group knew, so that’s my excuse.

After posting our finds on Twitter, I found myself itching to get out and record more, so I went up into the Braid Hills and managed 7 species in a brief hour long period.

Hedgerow Crane’s-bill – Geranium pyrenaicum

Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium

Annual Meadow-grass – Poa annua

Scentless Mayweed – Tripleurospermum inodorum

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Common Ragwort – Senecio jacobaea

Soft Rush – Juncus effusus

Dandelion – Taraxacum sp.

On the 2nd of Jan I went out to see my dad in Temple, and used that as a good excuse to see if anything was flowering in upland areas. A 5 hour trip to the Moorfoot Hills (only searched in the middle 3 hours, don’t worry) turned up…

Pineapple-weed – Matricaria discoidea

Soft Rush – Juncus effusus

Bell Heather – Erica cinerea

Wild Thyme – Thymus polytrichus

Not a lot but I wasn’t expecting much given the dreich conditions.


With 3 New Year Plant Hunts done, you’d think that I would be all exhausted and planted out… Nope! Into Arniston Estate this morning for a quick 3 hour stint. Results…

Ivy-leaved Toadflax – Cymbalaria muralis

Wood Avens – Geum urbanum

Common Ragwort – Senecio jacobaea

Red Campion – Silene dioica

Gorse – Ulex europaeus

Annual Meadow-grass – Poa annua

Common Reed – Phragmites australis

Hard Rush – Juncus inflexus

Soft Rush – Juncus effusus

Common Alder – Alnus gluntinosa

Pineapple-weed – Matricaria discoidea

Dandelion – Taraxacum sp.

And that’s all the Plant Hunting I’ve done over New Year!.. So far… Planning on going to Arthur’s Seat/Holyrood Park tomorrow for the final day of New Year Plant Hunt! After that, I suspect I’ll just be continually looking for flowers whilst out birding/tracking/etc.! Looking forward to the coastal plants that I’ll get when up in Aberdeen too. Ah a whole new world of things to learn! Well, I’ll maybe do a short write-up of tomorrows results, as this has become one of those long posts that I usually do.

One last thing, thanks to Wild Reekie, BSBI, @RyanClarkNature, the Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland Facebook group, and everyone else who has made the start of my new year as plant filled as possible!


New Year Plant Hunt 2016

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