New Year Plant Hunt

The New Year Plant Hunt is a national scheme, organised by the BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland, see bsbi.org/new-year-plant-hunt). Suitable for beginners and experts, they are a great way to get to see some wild flowers and brighten up your winter! We have organised a New Year Plant Hunt at Natural Surroundings each year since 2015 and they have developed into very sociable events with just a hint of competativeness.

NEW YEAR PLANT HUNT   1 January 2021

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we were not able to hold a ‘public’ event this year. Nevertheless, Anne and Simon went out on a ‘hunt’, covering our usual route in the grounds of Natural Surroundings, then towards Glandford and around Manor Farm before returning up the valley. Some sharp frosts in December meant that we did not achieve a really high total, but we were very pleased with the 50 species recorded. The most notable find was a little plant with the unlikely name of Annual Knawel. This is actually a member of the pink family and related to chickweeds and mouse-ears, but it has no petals, just green sepals with a fine white fringe. It is also rather small and low-growing, so all-in-all quite hard to spot. We found around 10 plants in a beet field, which is a significant record for the species, which is typical of open, dry sandy ground and has declined greatly as an arable weed in recent decades. Yet more proof (if we needed it) of how interesting the Bayfield Estate is!

Nipplewort
Feverfew
Groundsel
Musk Thistle
Sticky Mouse-ear
Canadian Fleabane
Guernsey Fleabane
Bilbao’s Fleabane
Spear Thistle
Smooth Hawksbeard

Scentless Mayweed
Annual Meadow Grass
Pineappleweed
Small Nettle
Lesser Swinecress
Field Pansy
Hedge Mustard
Corn Spurrey
Shepherd’s Purse
Common Field Speedwell

Common Chickweed
Alexanders
Annual Mercury
White Dead Nettle
Dandelion

Daisy
Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Slender Sandwort
Ragwort

Bramble
Parsley Piet
Annual Knawel
Wild Raddish
Common Gorse
Yarrow
Red Dead Nettle
Field Madder
Grey Field Speedwell
Creeping Buttercup

Ivy-leaved Toadflax
Petty Spurge
Pellitory of the Wall
Cow Parsley
Dogs Mercury
Marsh Thistle
Hazel
Winter Heliotrope
Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Primrose

Annual Knawel

Annual Knawel – close up

NEW YEAR PLANT HUNT   2 January 2020

Our group of thirteen spent almost exactly three hours in a gentle stroll around Natural Surroundings and then down the valley to Glandford and back. We had a few species in flower ‘staked out’ at Natural Surroundings, including Marsh Thistle, Meadowsweet and Wild Angelica in our wet meadows, but this is to be expected as we work there every day. The grassland along the path to Glanford was not very productive, but at Glandford itself the margins of a beet field were superb, with scarce cornfield weeds such as Dwarf Spurge and Sharp-leaved Fluellen in flower, and among the many rosettes of Corn Parsley, we found one with a flowering stem; this field may well be the only arable site for this scarce species in Norfolk. At Manor Farm the rough carparks were also productive, with many ‘weeds’ as well as Corn Marigold and Corm Chamomile, probably escapees from nearby game cover. It was then back to base as the cloud grey heavier and the wind picked up, and after checking a couple of identifications and a careful count, we had notched up 74 species: pretty good for a bit of grass and a few fields in ‘cold’ Norfolk!

Common Poppy
Common Fumitory
Red Clover
Meadowsweet
Small Nettle
Pellitory of the Wall
Sun Spurge
Petty Spurge
Dwarf Spurge
Annual Mercury
Field Pansy
Dovesfoot Cranesbill
Herb Robert
Hedge Mustard
Rape
Wild Radish
Field Pennycress
Shepherd’s Purse
Wavy Bittercress
Knotgrass
Broad-leaved Dock
Red Campion
Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Common Chickweed
Common Mouse-ear
Scarlet Pimpernel
Field Madder
Green Alkanet
Borage
Common Field Speedwell
Grey Field Speedwell
Wall Speedwell
Sharp-leaved Fluellen
Ivy-leaved Toadflax
White Dead-nettle
Red Dead-nettle
Cut-leaved Dead-nettle

Marsh Thistle
Catsear
Dandelion
Smooth Hawksbeard
Bristly Oxtongue
Nipplewort
Smooth Sowthistle
Prickly Sowthistle
Daisy
Mexican Fleabane
Blue Fleabane
Canadian Fleabane
Guernsey Fleabane
Feverfew
Yarrow
Corn Marigold
Shasta Daisy
Scentless Mayweed
Pineappleweed
Corn Chamomile
Common Ragwort
Groundsel
Winter Heliotrope
Red Valarian
Cow Parsley
Rough Chervil
Hogweed
Fool’s Parsley
Wild Carrot
Corn Parsley
Wild Angelica
Hazel
Gorse
Bramble
Ivy
Cock’s-foot
Annual Meadowgrass

NEW YEAR PLANT HUNT   2 January 2019

We pushed ourselves and the clock to the limit today to get a good total and it certainly paid off. In a three-hour walk encompassing Natural Surroundings, some nearby beet fields (with the kind permission of the Bayfield Estate) and Glandford village, we managed to find no less than 71 wild-growing plants in flower, beating our best total. Although cooler than recent days, the weather was kind to us, with threatening clouds producing just a sprinkle of rain before it brightened up, and the promised northerly winds never really biting.  Here’s the list:

Common Fumitory

Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Small Nettle
Pellitory of the Wall
Sun Spurge
Petty Spurge
Dog’s Mercury
Annual Mercury
Field Pansy
Dovesfoot Cranesbill
 
Small-flowered Cranesbill
Herb Robert
Holyhock
Weld
Wallflower
Flixweed
Hedge Mustard
Wild Raddish
Field Pennycress
Shepherd’s Purse
 
Wavy Bittercress
Broad-leaved Dock
Red Campion
Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Common Chickweed
Common Mouse-ear
Scarlet Pimpernel
Green Alkanet
Bugloss
Yellow Dodder
 
Black Nightshade
Common Field Speedwell
Grey Field Speedwell
Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Sharp-leaved Fluellen
Ivy-leaved Toadflax
White Dead-nettle
Red Dead-nettle
Cut-leaved Dead-nettle
Henbit Dead-nettle
 
Marsh Thistle
Cotton Thistle
Common Knapweed
Catsear
Goatsbeard
Dandelion
Smooth Hawksbeard
Bristly Oxtongue
Smooth Sow-thistle
Common Cudweed
 
Daisy
Blue Fleabane
Canadian Fleabane
Bilbao’s Fleabane
Feverfew
Yarrow
Oxeye Daisy
Scentless Mayweed
Pineappleweed
Common Ragwort
 
Groundsel
Winter Heliotrope
Hogweed
Wild Carrot
Wild Angelica
Bramble
Gorse
Hazel
Annual Meadow-grass
False Oat Grass
 
Cocksfoot

NEW YEAR PLANT HUNT    2 January 2018

A group of 19 of us set out this morning to see how many plants we could find in flower. The New Year Plant Hunt is a BSBI (Botanic Society of the Britain and Ireland) initiative, now in it’s seventh year, and this was our forth year at Natural Surroundings. In good weather we headed down the valley to Glandford, explored an arable field that had been left as stubble over winter and then returned to our café  just as it began to rain. On the way back several of us had a pleasant surprise – we heard loud mewing noises, stopped to listen and three young otters swam down the river beside us!  The following list, a respectable 52 species, are the plants we found in flower.

Parsley Piert
Petty Spurge
Dwarf Spurge
Dog’s Mercury
Field Pansy
Tutsan
Small-flowered Cranesbill
Hedge Mustard
Rape
Wild Radish
Swine Cress
Wavy Bittercress
Shepherd’s Purse
Flixweed
Broad-leaved Dock
Red Campion
Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Common Mouse-ear
Scarlet Pimpernel
Field Madder
Green Alkanet
Common Field Speedwell
Sharp-leaved Fluellen
Small Toadflax
White Dead-nettle
Red Dead-nettle
Selfheal
Marsh Thistle
Common Knapweed
Dandelion
Smooth Hawksbeard
Nipplewort
Smooth Sowthistle
Prickly Sowthistle
Daisy
Blue Fleabane
Canadian Fleabane
Feverfew
Scentless Mayweed
Common Ragwort
Groundsel
Winter Heliotrope
Small Teasel
Field Scabious
Cow Parsley
Hogweed
Hazel
Annual Meadow Grass
Cock’s-foot
Hybrid fescue x Schedolium braunii
Perennial Ryegrass
False Oat Grass

NEW YEAR PLANT HUNT   2 January 2017

Despite a keen wind on the ‘high tops’ and a couple of showers, we were joined by a dozen or more friends and visitors for a lovely walk around the Bayfield Estate, surprising ourselves by finding 43 species of wild plant in flower. This is not as good as last year but, given the recent hard frosts that had put paid to many blooms (we did not even find Herb Robert in flower), our  total was pretty respectable. We were helped by the presence of several children – not only keen and sharp-eyed, but also closer to the ground! As usual, the best areas were arable margins, where late-flowering annuals could still be found. Highlights included Flixweed, Sharp-leaved Fluellen and lots of Dwarf Spurge, all scarce arable weeds that would be good to find at the height of the season in August or September. We also found good numbers of Blue Fleabane in full flower on a temporary bank, a reflection of the chalk that lies close to the surface in many parts of the estate. The full list is as follows:

Common Gorse
Small Nettle
Sun Spurge
Petty Spurge
Dwarf Spurge

Dwarf Spurge

Dog’s Mercury
Field Pansy
Small-flowered Cranesbill
Common Mallow
Flixweed
Hedge Mustard
Black Mustard
Wild Raddish
Shepherd’s Purse
Red Campion
Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Common Chickweed
Common Mouse-ear
Corn Spurrey
Field Madder
Green Alkanet
Common Field Speedwell
Wall Speedwell
Sharp-leaved Fluellen
Ivy-leaved Toadflax
White Dead-nettle
Red Dead-nettle
Cut-leaved Dead-nettle
Musk Thistle
Dandelion
Smooth Sowthistle
Daisy
Blue Fleabane
Canadian Fleabane
Feverfew
Yarrow
Pineappleweed
Scentless Mayweed
Groundsel
Hogweed
Ivy
Annual Meadow Grass
Cock’s-foot

NEW YEAR PLANT HUNT   2 January 2016

As part of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s New Year Plant Hunt we took a 3-hour walks from Natural Surroundings down to Glandford and back. We managed to find the impressive total of 67 wild-growing plants in flower (and could have added a few more if we had hopped over a barbed wire fence into a nearby beet field!). Here are the 67 species recorded:

Common Poppy
Bulbous Buttercup
Creeping Buttercup
Meadowsweet
Creeping Cinquefoil
Wood Avens
Small Nettle
Pellitory of the Wall
Sun Spurge
Petty Spurge

Field Pansy
Hybrid pansy V. x contempta
Dovesfoot Cranesbill
Herb Robert
Flixweed
Hedge Mustard
Rape
Wild Radish
Swine Cress
Lesser Swine Cress

Field Pennycress
Shepherd’s Purse
Wavy Bittercress
Red Campion
White Campion
Common Chickweed
Scarlet Pimpernel
Green Alkanet
Black Nightshade
Common Field Speedwell

Germander Speedwell
Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Ivy-leaved Toadflax
White Dead-nettle
Red Dead-nettle
Black Horehound
Musk Thistle
Catsear
Dandelion
Smooth Hawksbeard

Bristly Oxtongue
Nipplewort
Smooth Sowthistle
Prickly Sowthistle
Daisy
Mexican Fleabane
Blue Fleabane
Canadian Fleabane
Feverfew
Yarrow

Scentless Mayweed
Pineappleweed
Common Ragwort
Groundsel
Winter Heliotrope
Red Valarian
Hogweed
Alexanders
Wild Angelica
Common Gorse

Cherry Plum
Bramble
Hazel
Ivy
Wild Oats
Cock’s-foot
Annual Meadow Grass

Total 67