Why is Plant Alert so important?
The majority of invasive plants in the UK - such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam - were initially introduced as ornamental plants and then spread from gardens into the wider environment. To prevent further plant invasions, gardeners can help by reporting plants that are spreading in their gardens right now and are proving difficult to control. The aim is to help monitor potentially invasive garden plants over time and hopefully detect species that have up to now not shown clear signs of invasiveness but could do so in a changing climate.
How to get involved with Plant Alert
Send Plant Alert your report of potentially invasive garden plants using the form on the website. You can submit your records from your desktop or smartphone: plantalert.org/app
You don't need to give precise details of your location - a town and grid ref or postcode are requested so your records show up on this map. Records will be archived by BSBI, but you can choose whether to provide your name and email address or to submit anonymously.
The survey asks you to report on how confident you are about the plant's ID (you can upload a photo or ask for ID help if you are unsure); you are asked how the plant arrived in your garden and how it spreads there, how you control and dispose of it, how successful your control attempts are, if the plant grows in your area... It's easy to go back and edit the report if you need to!
Check out the map showing mapped locations and click on the icon to see which potentially invasive plants have been reported from that location.
You can also follow @Plant_Alert on Twitter.
What will happen to the data?
The data submitted to the Plant Alert website will feed into the BSBI Database but Plant Alert data will be clearly marked and won't be included on distribution maps. An annual summary of records will appear in BSBI News. Data will also be used for risk assessments of species as well as in reports to the horticultural industry.
You will be able to find notes about Plant Alert in our monthly BSBI eNews and on our News & Views blog - check out this post from 2015 alerting gardeners to the pilot project for Plant Alert and this post from 2016 where BSBI County Recorders were asked to contribute.