WILDLIFE enthusiasts took advantage of the hot weather to count one of Britain’s rarest flowers yesterday.

Staff and volunteers from the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) completed their annual count of Snake’s head fritillaries in Iffley Meadow.

Colin Williams, the trust’s reserve ecology officer, said staff were hoping to beat the record count set last year when 84,000 fritillaries were found.

The 44-year-old, who has done eight counts before, said: “We organise the count for when the flowers are at their peak, and luckily they have been at their best this week.”

Two members of staff and 13 trainees took part. Fritillaries often have nodding bell or cup-shaped flowers and most are spring flowering. They flower for a two-week period every April.

Jude Hartley, 28, the trust’s catchment partnership officer, said: “The fritillaries are easier to see because they are such distinctive colours and climb above the other flowers.

“Some people come from miles away to take part in the count, and it does help to bring more people into Oxford.”

Fritillaries only grow in about 30 locations in the UK, including Iffley Meadow and the gardens of Magdalen College. BBOWT is holding an open event for visitors at Iffley Meadow on Sunday, from 11.30am to 3pm, offering guided walks for people to help them learn about the flowers.