The past twenty years has seen a steep decline in native wild flowers, the latest BSBI Plant Atlas finds.
The overall shocking news is that British flora is now so depleted there are. more non-native plants recorded in the wild than native. Over 50% of native flora recorded over the past 20 years is in decline.
The British have always loved their flora and fauna, and because of this we have some of best studied native wildflower species in the world.
As a nation Britain has had countless amateur and profession botanists creating plant records and nature diaries over centuries.
Theses pages taken from The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady show Edith Holden’s illustrations of every day flowers found in 1906. Both the Devils-bit Scabious and the Heathers have seriously declined.
We also have an amazing botany group, set up in the 1950s. The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), whom every year undertake a comprehensive record of the state of British flora published every twenty years in a Plant Atlas.
There have been two previous national wild plant surveys published, in 1969, 1999 and now in 2023 with records compiled from 2000 – 2019.
The latest, Plant Atlas 2020, is the most in-depth survey of the British and Irish flora ever undertaken and was compiled by P. A . Stroh, K . J. Walker, T. A . Humphrey, O. L . Pescott & R . J. Burkmar, from almost 20 years of field work from over 8000 volunteer botanist recorders and more than 30 million records collected.
Findings also show several ‘archaeophytes’ (plants introduced by humans from around 4000 BC and AD 1500) usually in arable farming, such as Cornflower have dwindled too, with Corn Marigold numbers down by 62%.
These pretty native wildflowers not only look beautiful, plants often have a relationship with insects. There has never been a more important time to grow wildflowers in our gardens.