Owing to its many unique habitats, North East England is home to a diverse and beautiful flora. Explore botany in the North East with NHSN’s passionate Botany Specialist Group.

Botany in the North East

The flora of North East England is incredibly diverse and botanists in our region are spoiled for choice when it comes to observing and enjoying wild plants.

In upper Teesdale, the North East holds one of Britain’s hotspots for wild plants, while the region is also home to many other notable botanical habitats including the Whin Sill, coastal dunes, upland hay meadows, the Durham Magnesian Limestone, calaminarian grassland and wet peat bogs.

Many NHSN members are passionate about botany in the North East and regularly record, observe and enjoy our region’s plants. With your support, they carry out important surveys, submit records and contribute to the conservation of threatened species.

Whether you are a keen beginner or seasoned botanist, NHSN’s Botany Specialist Group provides opportunities for everyone to get involved in the study and enjoyment of plants.

Pyramidal Orchid © James Common

Your Botany Coordinators

Coordinators work to provide opportunities for you to enjoy, observe and learn about different strands of natural history.

Chris Metherell

Botany Coordinator

Chris organises field trips and talks, produces informative videos and leads courses to inspire others about botany.

As a botanist, Chris is the BSBI vice-county recorder for North Northumberland, UK’s national referee for Eyebrights and a former President of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

Mima Cattan

Botany Coordinator

Mima organises field trips and talks to inspire others about botany.

As a botanist, Mima has carried out many notable surveys, including a two-year study of the flora around Loch Lomond. After attending an NHSN botany course, she was inspired to join the Mid-week Botany Group and now leads on coordinating NHSN’s Friday Botany Group.

Mid-week Botany Group

NHSN’s Mid-week Botany Group is a friendly group of members who go out regularly on Wednesdays during the summer to look at plants. They visit a variety of habitats and landscapes across the North East and enjoy studying and identifying the plants they find.

The Mid-week Botany Group organisers are Kevin Charman and Bill Burlton

Useful Contacts

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) appoints recorders for each vice-county who are always delighted to receive records of both common and interesting plant species.

These are:

County Durham (VC 66): Keith Robson (krobsonvc66@gmail.com)

South Northumberland (VC 67): Professor John Richards (hightreesgarden@btinternet.com) and Margaret Rogers (margaretrogers180@btinternet.com)

North Northumberland (VC 68): Chris Metherell (chris@metherell.org.uk) and James Common (jamesmcommon@gmail.com)

Coralroot Orchid © Ho-Yin Wong

Help Identifying Plants

Whether you need a helping hand identifying an exciting find or are simply looking for some interesting reasons, these resources might be of interest:

  • The BSBI’s Plant Crib page includes a host of informative resources.
  • If you prefer to look at photos, Naturespot is a fantastic resource.
  • James Common has a new series of plant cribs covering a host of urban species.

Join the North East Botany Group

Are you passionate about wild plants?

There is now a new Facebook group for those interested in recording and enjoying our region’s wildflowers.

Whether you’re a keen botanist or someone who simply enjoys observing and photographing wildflowers, this group is for you.

Covering Northumberland and Durham, this is a place to share sightings and photographs, discuss, request identification, and meet like-minded people. 

Wildflowers in County Durham

Durham Wildlife Trust’s Botany Group aims to provide an interest in, and enjoyment of, all aspects of flora, within and beyond the Durham area.

Throughout the year, they run a busy programme of field trips to record and enjoy wild plants across the county.

The group has a thriving Facebook group and all are welcome to join.

Your wildflowers

Share your botanical sightings by contacting James at james.common@newcastle.ac.uk

More on North East botany

Explore a range of informative articles and local reports to inspire you about plant life in the North East.

Blog ›
Recently, young naturalists on NHSN’s Field Skills Programme, supported by the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, set out to explore the plant life of Warkworth on the Northumberland coast. Hear how they got on with participant, Ellie Davison….
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NHSN Student Naturalist, Aimee Shovlar, shares her experience at the annual BSBI conference, held in Newcastle for the first time in December…
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In a new blog, Kearti Mondair summarises a recent botanical field trip carried out as part of NHSN’s ‘200 Plants‘…
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Can you help people build their skills in natural history? We’re looking for seasonal course tutors to inspire others about local wildlife….
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Explore some of the region’s beautiful trees this summer, starting with five common tree species. Sessile Oak © Hans Dekker…
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The sight of ferns gracing our garden walls provides a reminder of the tenacity of nature but did you know there are more than one out their to be discovered?…