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Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Orchidaceae

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!


Dr M’s Top-Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Asteraceae

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.


The culms have all the nodes!

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.


Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses – 4 Triticeae

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).


Dr M takes eXtreme botany to INTECOL 2013

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.


Dog zone grasses!

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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Strawberries in the lawn?!

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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How many species of Bryophytes are there in Britain?

Dr M has previously posted about the number of vascular plants in Britain.  In addition to vascular plants are the so-called lower plants or cryptogams including the Mosses, Liverworts and Algae.


eXtreme botany: Dr M’s Manifesto

Since its launch earlier this year, eXtreme botany has created more than a few ripples in the global botanical community.  Here, exclusively and for the first time Dr M explains what eXtreme botany means to him and what it could mean to you…


Whiteknights BioBlitz 2013: The Movie!

Back in June Dr M posted about the University of Reading Whiteknights BioBitz,  a large scale biodiversity event which ran between 7th-8th June 2013. During this 24 hour period a wide range of people got together to identify as many plant and animal species as they could on the prize-winning University of Reading Whiteknights campus.