The British wild flower conservation grou0p has a new policy that is leaving beekeepers more than a little riled.
Plantlife launched its annual Great British Wildflower Hunt with a new code of conduct that says it’s okay to pick some of them.
The hunt, in its second year, sees participants finding wild flower varieties and checking them off a list.
Vice president Rachel de Thame says there is a prevalent sense that picking flowers is a bad thing.
“Many of us are unsure what’s OK and what’s not and so err on the safe side,” she says. “Plantlife’s new code of conduct shows us that wild flowers don’t have to be out of bounds – and out of our lives.
“We are very used to picking some species – daisies, dandelions and wild garlic – but there are other wild flowers that are commonplace and even increasing in number.”
There are 68 species on the list for this summer’s Great British Wildflower Hunt and 12 of these can be picked.
It remains illegal to dig up any wildflower on a legislated endangered species list.
National Beekeeping Center for Wales spokesman Pete Barrar told reporters he believes Plantlife is wrong to allowing some flower picking.
“We have a Countryside Code that is simple and very clear, and it says that we should not damage or destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees from our environment,” he said.
“If you go into the woods just now and have a look at the beautiful primroses, when does picking a primrose cease and digging up a primrose start?” Plantlife chief executive Marian Spain said on a British Broadcasting Corp. program that she knew it was an unusual move from a conservation charity.
“We work very hard to save flowers and keep them growing, but actually wild flowers are quite resilient and picking one or two from a big patch won’t actually harm that population.,” she said.
“We’ve published a list of 12 that are very common and very easy to recognize and also a Code of Conduct on what to do and we understand one of the reasons we are publishing this is because people are going to ask us, they are confused and they don’t know and we think it is important that children do have contact with nature.
“We are saying something unusual, but actually as a nation we’re facing an even bigger risk that our children have less and less contact with wildlife and we think that if we say to children ‘you can’t touch flowers, you can’t pick them’ we turn them off.
Plantlife works nationally and internationally to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi. It owns almost 4,500 acres of nature reserve across England, Scotland and Wales with more than 80% of the UK’s wild flowers.