Planning your New Year Plant Hunt

Where to hunt?

Plan your route: urban and coastal locations usually have more wild plants in flower, due to the 'heat-island' effect and because frosts are less likely by the sea - but you will find plants everywhere once you start looking.

Who with?

It's up to you whether you go out with friends and family, as part of a local recording group or opt for a solo hunt. There may be Group Hunts happening near you, so if you'd like some company, try our new Group Hunts page, contact your local group organiser or BSBI County Recorder (contact details here) and check on social media to see if anything is planned for your area.


Any time between Saturday 30th December 2023 and Tuesday 2nd January 2024. Get ready to record during a short walk but no longer than 3 hours (you can “stop the clock” for tea-breaks, lunch and comfort stops). You can contribute as many different lists as you like from different areas as long as you don’t exceed the 3 hour limit for each new list. This is so that the data you collect will be comparable across the years.

How to record?

Decide how you'd like to record your finds, so EITHER download the latest version of the recording app on your phone OR have a notebook and pencil ready to make notes while you are out hunting OR if you are an experienced botanist familiar with scientific names, you could use a BSBI recording card for your county.

If you are getting started with botany, we recommend that you try using our recording app to send us details of what you saw. Using the app on your phone means that you can record your finds as you walk; you'll be able to add photos, and automatically include accurate grid references, using your phone's GPS. The app is very user-friendly and we can help you if you run into any problems - just email the Support Team.

What to record?

Record wild and naturalised plants (but not planted or garden species) in flower. More info about this on our Definitions: wild, native or alien? page. Please check that plants are actually flowering – that catkins on trees are open, that grasses have open florets, that stigmas or anthers in the middle of flowers are clearly visible etc. Please don't include ferns, mosses, fungi or lichens - none of these has flowers!

Not sure what your plant is? Using the app, you can upload a photo of an unidentified plant and our experts will try to identify it for you. Some tips here on photographing plants with conservation in mind and to make them easier to ID, but we are also preparing a help sheet which we'll send to everyone who registers for the Hunt. Top tip: take photographs from the side (it's harder to ID plants from above) and take a pic of the leaves too.

If you find nothing in bloom - we still need to know please. Nil records are important too and will feed into the analysis. The app has a facility to log nil records.

Why join the Hunt?

It will be cold out there so wrap up warm and remind yourself why it's worth taking part: the data you collect are crucial for helping us understand more about how British & Irish wild and naturalised plants are responding to climate change. And by joining the Hunt, you'll be shaking off the midwinter blues, reconnecting with nature and keeping your plant ID skills sharp, ready for spring.