A national vote is being launched today to discover the nation’s favourite wildflower.
The shortlist of 25 flowers has been voted for by the membership of Plantlife over the winter and is going live for the public to vote as part of celebrations for the charity’s 25th anniversary. The results will be announced in June.
The public can log onto www.plantlife.org.uk/wildflowervote to see the 25 shortlisted wild flowers, discover their conservation status and cultural importance and, of course, place a vote.
It follows the launch of a poll to find Britain’s favourite bird, in which north Northumberland residents may be inclined to vote for the puffin.
Plantlife expert Dr Trevor Dines said “I love this shortlist produced by Plantlife members – it’s slightly bonkers and in many ways reflects us a nation. There are country icons we can be proud of, like dog rose for England and wild daffodil for Wales. There are familiar plants we all know and love – bluebell, primrose and foxglove.
“But then there some real oddities – who would have thought chickweed-wintergreen, a rare plant of woods in Scotland and northern England, would have made the list? I’ve only seen it once, although that was enough to confirm its undeniable beauty. On the contrary, cow parsley is seen as road-verge weed by some, but is clearly loved by many.
“There are powerful symbols too – we cherish poppies to remember our fallen soldiers – while legend has it that pasqueflowers grow on the graves of Viking warriors, springing up from their blood. It’s an eclectic mix; one that perfectly reflects our countryside and our relationship with it.”
The shortlist is: Bluebell primrose; cowslip harebell; poppy; grass of Parnassus; wood anemone; bee orchid; snake’s head fritillary; red campion; foxglove; chickweed wintergreen; lesser celandine; oxeye daisy; meadow cranesbill; thrift; ragged robin; pasqueflower; dog rose; wild daffodil; viper’s-bugloss; snowdrop; cow parsley; cornflower; honeysuckle.
Plantlife’s new vice-president Rachel de Thame said: “Choosing a favourite wildflower is like being asked to choose a favourite child. For me, though, it would be snake’s head fritillary for its shy beauty and simple elegance. This flower has disappeared from 17 vice-counties so I hope this national vote will show that we want this gradual vanishing of our wildflowers to stop.”