Saturday 23 February 2019

Get involved in the Atlas 2020 project by recording wild plants

Jim Hurley

Wood Anemone is in flower at present in woods and shady places but does this early-flowering, native wild plant grow in your neck of the woods?

The obvious answer is, of course, for you to visit your local woodland and to search for the white-flowered relative of the buttercup that cannot really be confused with any other woodland wild plant at this time of year.

An alternative is go online, visit the webpages of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) and access their excellent maps at The Wood Anemone map shows that the plant is very frequent in the north of Ireland but its distribution is patchier elsewhere throughout the country.

Why?, you may ask. Are there sound scientific reasons for its presence or absence in your area or has nobody bothered to look for it, record it and report it from your particular neck of the woods?

The BSBI traces its origins back to 1836 and is a society for everyone interested in wild flowers. The society has many strings to its bow and one of these is the production of maps and atlases showing the distribution of plants.

The first atlas was published in 1962. A repeat atlas was published in 2002 and the BSBI is now planning its third publication: 'Atlas 2020'. Fieldwork will be completed in 2019 so there are a few more field seasons remaining during which people can contribute plant records.

Atlas 2020 is the largest BSBI project running and there is a dedicated atlas page on the BSBI website. When completed, the project will provide maps for all of our native and introduced plants thereby summarising the state of the flora in both Britain and Ireland in 2020.

People interested in nature are strongly encouraged to get involved in Atlas 2020 by recording wild plants in their local patch or indeed anywhere else of their choice.

Most counties have a 'County Recorder' who collects and co-ordinates plant records. Some counties have two county recorders. Some counties even have a 'Local BSBI Group', a group of like-minded people interested in recording wild plants.

All current county recorders and local groups are listed at In the event of there being no local contact in your area, contact Maria Long, BSBI Irish Officer, at the National Botanic Gardens, e-mail or 'phone (087) 257 8763.

It would be great if you would confirm if Wood Anemone grows in your neck of the woods.

Wicklow People