DCSIMG

Clueless at gardeners’ question time

Women consistently scored higher than men for all examples they were quizzed on. Picture: Getty

Women consistently scored higher than men for all examples they were quizzed on. Picture: Getty

  • by EMILY BEAMENT AND ILONA AMOS
 

The majority of people struggle to recognise most familiar trees, shrubs and wild flowers found growing in the British countryside, according to a poll.

Just 2 per cent of those surveyed were able to correctly identify all five of the common trees they were shown, while only one in 20 was able to name all the most prevalent shrubs.

Scores were better for wild flowers, with a third of those questioned being able to pinpoint five everyday blooms they were shown in pictures.

Older people were shown to have a much wider knowledge of plants than youngsters, with the over-50s able to name twice as many as those aged between 16 and 34.

A gender gap was also revealed as women consistently scored higher than men for all examples they were quizzed on, while respondents were generally clueless as to which species were native or alien.

The results were revealed in a survey of more than 2,000 readers carried out for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.

In the wake of the findings, leading gardener and television presenter Alan Titchmarsh warned that many people were now more familiar with technology and social media than common plants, and urged the public to get more experience of the outdoors.

“It is worrying that the next generation is not being awakened to the delights of the great outdoors – once common knowledge but now a mystery to millions more familiar with Facebook and Twitter,” Mr Titchmarsh said.

“I was born in an age when tweeting was something that sparrows did and a mouse was something that made a hole in your skirting board.

“But to modern eyes, the sight of birch, campion, horse chestnut and hazel is now alien. Yet if we have no knowledge of the world around us, how are we to defend its future properly?

“We can’t turn back the clock, but we can ensure that our knowledge of the living world is not lost. It’s high time the population was reconnected with nature.”

Lucy Hall, editor of the magazine, added: “Things that used to be common knowledge and part of our common folklore seem to be passing people by.

“The world around us is more amazing than any screen – it’s the best 3D experience of all, and we are urging people to go out and experience it. Connect with nature.”

 

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