Origins of Wild Flowers
English wild flowers can be divided into the following types in terms
of their origin
Indigenous plants which have been around since the last ice-age.
Introduced or alien wild flowers
They are divided into archeophytes and neophytes.
Archaeophytes are non-native plant species introduced into England prior to 1492 and the discovery
of the New World
Neophytes are non-native species introduced after 1492 when the Columbian exchange began.
Some plants introduced prior to 1492 are classed as neophytes because they did not escape into the
wild until after that date
There are a variety of sources.
1. Deliberately brought in as a food plant or as an ornamental garden plant
2. Accidentally brought in by wind or birds
3. Accidently as a contaminant of imported crops or goods
Escapes into the wild
There are two main types of escapes from gardens and estates, casual and naturalised.
Casual - weakly persistent, dying off in a year or two, and not becoming naturalised in the wild
Naturalised - persistent, proliferating and forming permanent populations in the wild
These are plants, which have escaped from gardens and have formed persistent, spreading and
nuisance populations in the wild.
This may happen many years after the original introduction into the country.