The Garden Wildflower Hunt is a new initiative by BSBI, launched in spring 2020.

BSBI has always focused on the appreciation, understanding and conservation of the wild and naturalised plants that grow throughout Britain and Ireland. We usually ask you to share your records of plants found outside the garden gate, but now we're asking you to tell us about the wildflowers ("weeds"?) in your garden, on your balcony, in that planter by your front door...

Garden Wildflower Hunt

As with all BSBI projects and activities, there will be lots of plant identification help and useful tips available for you.

Garden Wildflower Hunt has two main aims:

  • To help us find out which wildflowers are growing in gardens across Britain and Ireland so we can understand more about their distribution and ecology.
  • To help you improve your plant ID skills and get more enjoyment out of your garden while you're at home under the Covid-19 restrictions.

Find out more about why we've set up Garden Wildflower Hunt and what we're hoping to find out.

How does Garden Wildflower Hunt work?

We'll be asking you to:

  • Note any features or habitats e.g. lawn, hedge, stone wall, pots or troughs
  • Record any wildflowers in those habitats.
  • Use our recording app to send us your plant records, either via your smartphone or on your computer. The app (a kind of online recording form) is not yet available from app stores - it can only be accessed from the Garden Wildflower Hunt website.
  • For your safety and the safety of others please record only within your own garden, avoiding public areas and observing strictly the government's guidance limiting social contact.

Then you can check the records submitted by you and all the other Garden Wildflower Hunters on this interactive map.

What will happen to my plant records?

All your plant records will appear on this map where everyone can see them mapped at 1km definition. They will also go into a special Garden Wildflower Hunt area on the BSBI Distribution Database, one of the world's largest biological recording databases and the data will be analysed by Dr Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science.

We'll be producing regular updates, based on your data, about the wildflowers in our gardens. These will be similar to the New Year Plant Hunt blogposts and reports we produce each year based on your records of which wild plants are flowering in mid-winter. The updates will be made available via this page so everyone can read them.

We respect your privacy

The exact location of your garden will NOT be made public: your plant records will be logged within a 1km x 1km grid square.

You can choose whether or not to attach your name to the plant records you submit. They will be stored in the BSBI Distribution Database, access to which is granted to academics and researchers on a case by case basis. But you can choose to use a pseudonym if you prefer or you can opt out altogether and submit your records anonymously.

Tools & Links to help you

Our new 'Definitions' page guides you through terms such as wild, native and alien and how these apply to the Garden Wildflower Hunt.

Our plant identification pages: plant ID: getting started; ID for the more experienced botanist; Plant Crib; videos.

Our 'Getting Started' page has some helpful hints.

Type the plant name into the Online Flora of the British Isles to find out if your plant is native or alien.

Type the plant name in to our maps page to generate a distribution map; zoom in and find out if the plant has ever been spotted in your area before.

On social media, you can find BSBI on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram and ask us for information about wild plants.

You can also contact the @wildflower_hour team, ask for #wildflowerID help or go straight to the #gardenwildflowerhunt hashtag

And you can email us: [email protected]

Frequently asked questions

Yes you can if you have a patio, roof terrace, balcony,  driveway/forecourt... even a window box! We can also accept records from allotments. Stuck in a flat and don't have any of these? Grab your binoculars and see what you can see from your window: we'd be astonished if you couldn't see any wild plants at all!

No, the Garden Wildflower Hunt is just for native wildflowers which arrived in your garden under their own steam, although we do have a category for anyone who has planted wildflower plugs or sowed seed from a "wildflower seed" mix.

Yes you can record trees and shrubs for Garden Wildflower Hunt as long as they are native species. You can also record ferns (even though they don't actually have flowers). Please don't include any alien species that you've bought from a garden centre. But do look closely on any walls or gravelly areas in your garden or on your balcony, as some native ferns tend to become established in these sorts of habitats.

If you know what your plant is, check it on the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. If you aren't entirely sure what terms such as 'native' and 'alien' mean, check out our new 'Definitions' page. If in doubt, take a photo and send it to us: [email protected] or tweet a photo with the hashtags #GardenWildflowerHunt and #wildflowerID

That's subjective! Some say a weed is a plant growing in the "wrong" place, eg a dandelion growing in your vegetable plot. Others look at a dandelion and see a beautiful wild plant which supports pollinators and other wildlife early in the year. We say: if it's wild, it counts for Garden Wildflower Hunt, so let's record it!
There's lots of help available: plant ID resources on this website, support across our social media platforms (see links below) or the online recording form will accept photos of unidentified plants and the Garden Wildflower Hunt team will help you identify them.

Yes! When you record your plant, you'll be asked if it's in leaf, in bud, flowering, fruiting/seeds, dead or other. So whatever stage your plant is at, you can record it 🙂

Yes you can. On the app, go to 'Survey' in the header, click on the little triangle and select your list from the drop-down menu. It will show up with the location and date you gave us.  Then go to 'Your plant records' and start editing.

Either is fine but we particularly welcome repeat lists, which will help us find out more about the phenology of wild flowers in gardens. To add a new list, open the app, go to 'Survey' in the header, click on the little triangle and select 'new survey'. Then go to 'Your Plant Records' and start a new list.

You can email the team at [email protected] or phone us on 07725 862 957: leave us a message if we're not there and we'll get back to you asap.

Who is behind Garden Wildflower Hunt?

The Garden Wildflower Hunt is a BSBI project. The staff members supporting the Garden Wildflower Hunt are Tom Humphrey, BSBI Database Officer; Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science; and Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer. You can contact us at [email protected]

If the Garden Wildflower Hunt proves popular (and we think it will!), we will be recruiting volunteer help from among our members and supporters. Let us know if you'd like to join the Garden Wildflower Hunt Support Team.