Extinct Flowers

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Flowers and gardening have always been a part of British culture, whether it be a carefully manicured lawn or fields brimming full of wildflowers. The tradition of giving bouquets to loved ones has also proven to be a popular pastime throughout history, featuring in many classic novels.


There are hundreds of different types of flowers growing across the country, but which ones are falling out of favour? By looking at Google search history across the country we can see which flower types have declined in popularity over the past four years, and consequently which are losing public interest.

The flowers British people are losing interest in

To determine which flowers are in danger of extinction in Britain due to lack of public interest, we looked at Google search data for just under 300 different types of species of the common flower in the country. By analysing the difference in searches from 2017/18 to 2020/21 we have been able to identify which are most at risk.

 

1. Mayflower - 26,800 fewer searches

The Mayflower has seen the biggest drop in searches in the UK, with just under 27,000 less searches between June 2020 and May 2021 in comparison to the same period four years earlier. The name Mayflower is often attributed to a variety of different types of flowers, but the one listed here is the trailing Arbutus or Epigaea Repens, a flower which is actually native to America. Named after the infamous ship, the Mayflower, which took the English pilgrims to the New World in 1620. The flower has become the state symbol of Massachusetts, and it is illegal to pick the Mayflowers there.

2. Dietes - 12,300 fewer searches

Dietes, or Wood Iris as it is sometimes known, has seen the second-highest decrease in interest of any flower over the past four years, with 12,300 fewer searches. Between June 2017 and May 2018, there were 35,000 searches for the flower, which dropped to just 22,700 searches between June 2020 and May 2021. The Dietes is native to south-east Africa and flourishes in warm conditions, although it is still a hardy plant and grows in the UK.

3. Pincushion flower - 5,990 fewer searches

The Pincushion Flower, or Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ comes in third place with 5,900 fewer searches. In 2017/18 the flower saw 12,160 searches, in comparison to 2020/21 which saw 6,170 searches. The flower is native to the UK and is a common sight in hedgerows, fields and gardens. The arrangement of petals and stamen make this flower resemble that of a pin cushion, earning its name. Pincushions are tough flowers, lasting until the first frosts appear in the UK and are a popular choice among avid gardeners.

 

The flowers losing popularity in 2021

Whilst some plants have been steadily losing popularity over the past four years, others have only seen a significant drop in the past year. Therefore, they could be in danger of being the next flowering plants to start slipping out of public interest and consequently face disappearing from our gardens.

 

 

1. Mayflower - 86,400 fewer searches

The flower that topped the overall list for the declining flowers is also the one with the biggest decrease in searches in the past year; the Mayflower lost a massive 86,400 searches last year. Before this seismic shift into obscurity, the Mayflower had actually been steadily gaining in popularity for three years. 

2. Echinacea - 76,300 fewer searches

The Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower, lost 76,300 searches in the past year which was the second biggest decrease in this period. Although it is native to North America, the plant grows very well in the UK and its distinctive purple flowers are a sight to behold. It is important to not lose interest in Echinacea as it is believed by many to have medical benefits, including helping to fight the common cold.

3. Wild Rose - 68,000 fewer searches

Wild Roses are colourful flowers that usually flourish in early summer, they are known for their sweet smell and attractiveness for pollination by bees. Unfortunately, interest in the Wild Rose has dropped dramatically in the past year with 68,000 fewer searches. 

The most loved flowers in Britain 

In contrast to those flowers above, some types of flowers are blooming in popularity amongst the British public. By looking at the same search data from 2017/18 to 2020/21 we have managed to discover which flowering plants are becoming more popular with the people over the past 4 years. 

 

 

1. Narcissus (Daffodil) - 1,486,000 more searches

“And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils”. These emotive words from Wordsworth’s famous poem reflect the uplifting scene of the yellow flower sprouting across the country as a big indicator of the arrival of spring. Despite already being one of the UK’s most recognisable flowers, the interest in Daffodils is increasing with just under 1.5 million more searches in 2020/21 than there was in 2017/18.

2. Sunflower - 990,500 more searches 

Although their increase in searches was just under a million, the Sunflower is still the flower with the second biggest rise in popularity amongst British people. In 2018 a poll by the Royal Society for Biology (RSB) named the Sunflower the UK’s favourite flower, however, it would appear now that it has been usurped as the nation's favourite in terms of search numbers.

3. Rose - 880,000 more searches

The flower with the third biggest four-year increase in searches is another of the most famous flowering plants in the country. Roses are often seen as a symbol of love, and they are clearly becoming more loved by the British public as there were almost 900,000 more searches between June 2020 and May 2021 than there were in the same period four years earlier.

 

The flowers growing in popularity in 2021

Whilst some flowers have seen a steady rise in popularity over the past four years, others have had their highest level of growth in the past twelve months. Therefore, these flowers with a recent rapid resurgence in interest are the ones to watch out for over the coming years in terms of popularity.

 

1. Cosmos flower - 566,400 more searches 

The Cosmos flower is the most popular flower of 2021, having received 566,400 more searches than the previous year. Expect to see many more of these dynamic blossoms in public gardens, as they don’t appear to be going anywhere fast.

2. Narcissus (Daffodil) - 420,000 more searches 

The flower with the highest increase in searches over four years is only second for the past year with a 420,000 increase from 2019/20. In the year before that searches for Narcissus had increased by almost 1 million which shows that this increase in popularity for the Daffodil could be waning ever so slightly. 

3. Hydrangea - 327,600 more searches 

Hydrangeas are the third most popular flower of 2021 as there were just under 330,000 more searches for them in the past year. 

Methodology

The list of flowers was compiled from https://www.all-my-favourite-flower-names.com/list-of-flower-names-B.html
We then ran the list of flowers through Google Keyword Planner to discover the number of UK searches from June 2017 to May 2021.
We then separated each year to analyze the growth or shrinkage of searches for each flower over the years.