Also known as the Leguminosae or Pea family, the Fabaceae is the third largest flowering plant family in the World with around 18,000 species, and of massive economic as well as botanical importance for the myriad species of edible legume utilised the World over (see Fabulous Fabaceous Facts below!).
Dr M’s series of posts on the Top 20 families of flowering plants kicked off with the three largest families globally: Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Fabaceae.
In Britain the tribe Brachypodieae has just a single genus: Brachypodium with two species. The tribe has affinities to Bromeae (hence the common name false-brome), and Triticeae and also Meliceae (a post on tribe Meliceae coming soon!).
The second largest flowering plant family in the World with about 18,500 species, and a family needing little introduction being surely the most popular and admired plant family in the World beloved of Orchid fanciers everywhere!
Here, Dr M starts his new survey of the top-twenty vascular plant families: Each of these twenty posts will summarise the main ID features of the family illustrated with examples from one or more species from that family.
One of the characters that marks out the Poaceae, the grasses, is the node. Grass nodes are the funny “knobbly knees” on the grass culm (culm=the grass flower stem) and nodes are usually easy to spot. They maybe green or shades of brown or even reddish, round or elongated, hairy or glabrous.
Dr M now turns his attention to the tribe Triticeae with 6 genera in Britain including the domesticated crop species and their wild relatives wheat (Triticum) and Barley (Hordeum) and Rye (Secale).
As part of the centenary celebrations of the British Ecological Society, London hosted the 11th INTECOL Congress entitled “Ecology: Into the next 100 years” from 18-23 August. Dr M is not missing the opportunity to take eXtreme botany to INTECOL to underline the importance of enhancing plant ID skills among ecologists as well as students and the general public at large.
Urban habitats are many and varied! Take the area around the base of lamp posts and street trees for example. These familiar places are somewhat un-picturesquely, though very accurately, described the “dog zone”! This is a great habitat for various weeds which flourish because of what dogs do in the dog zone! One of them is the aptly named grass, Wall Barley (Hordeum murinum),
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Summer is marked out by strawberry season. Botanically there are several summer strawberries to consider! Here’s three options for starters (though only one of them suitable for desert!). Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) are very closely related species in the Rose family – Rosaceae and look rather similar but can be told apart by the following characters: Wild Strawberry:
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