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Asteraceae ID from New England!

Dr M is pleased to share this  plant ID video about identification of the large plant family Asteraceae starring one of Dr M’s previous Plant Diversity Masters students, Molly Marquand!


More to Brambles than meets the eye (and the taste buds!)

Dr M has been admiring the super-abundance of developing Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.) in the hedgerows and it seems that the unusual combination of spring and summer weather has helped provide a bumper crop for the coming weeks!  Have your collecting baskets to hand and don’t miss out on this delicious food for free! The genus (actually sub-genus, see below) Rubus includes a number of
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Where are all the botanists?

Recently Dr M was struck by an article entitled “The Death of Botany” in the “Rant and Reason” section of the June 2013 edition of the magazine of the British Ecological Society.  Dr Markus Eichhorn is a botanist at the University of Nottingham and he is not a happy Dr!  In the article he bemoans the loss of botany degree programmes from our Universities. 
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Dr M’s Favourite YouTube Videos 2: Dr Fred Rumsey’s Botanical Walks

Dr M loves these videos by Dr Fred Rumsey of the Natural History Museum, London! Dr Fred is a great botanist and his expertise and natural enthusiasm is a winning combination in this series of seasonal botanical walks in which he introduces a range of plants from different habitats through the seasons. Very inspirational!


Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses 2 – Aveneae

Here is the second in Dr M’s blog posts on the Tribes of grasses and a bit of a marathon this one, enjoy! The Aveneae is the largest grass tribe in Britain with twenty-two genera. The inflorescence is a branched panicle which may be spike-like, contracted or open. Spikelets have 1-several fertile florets which are laterally compressed. The glumes are persistent and often papery,
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Books for British grass identification: Hubbard’s “Grasses” and the BSBI “Grasses of the British Isles”

Dr M’s favourite and recommended books on grass identification: Dr M’s Agrostological training was honed by the marvellous volume entitled simply  “Grasses” by Charles Hubbard (1954, 1968, 1984). Often affectionately referred to as  “Hubbard“, i.e. “Let’s go and ID some grasses this weekend?”, “Yes! and don’t forget to bring Hubbard!”  Hubbard’s keys were notoriously tough going, there was a key to grasses in flower, even
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The Why and How (and WOW!) of Grass Spikelet Dissection…

Dr M has been posting Poaceae of late.  His series on the Tribes of grasses features details of British grass genera including quite intimate details of the grass spikelet (as the Poaceae song says: the flowers are reduced to spikelets strange yet magical!). But the beginning botanist might find this a touch overwhelming and Dr M can almost hear the cries:  “Dr M! do
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eXtreme botany down under…

“Extreme Botany” by Dave Williams Not so long back, Dr M was Googling eXtreme botany to check out developments in the global botanical community.  Imagine the surprise and delight when he came across this fabulous painting with the familiar title “Extreme Botany”! So, where was this painting?  Who had painted it?  Where did this familiar and memorable title come from? Checking out a bit
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eXtreme botany in the Ice Age?

Dr M was listening to Radio 3 on his way to carry out botanical surveys in Norfolk yesterday, it is National Countryside Week (did you know?) and the Radio 3 studio guest was Richard Mabey – the well-known nature writer and author of many books, including Flora Britannica which is all about plants and their history and uses in Britain (shed loads of eXtreme
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Gentianaceae: Rare Gentians and Common Centauries

The Gentian family has an air of the exotic about it, all those lovely deep blue arctic alpines seen on holiday in the Alps! Gentianeaceae are quite easily recognised by their opposite, entire and glabrous leaves, 4-5 petals (famously blue of course in Gentiana, but other genera are white, yellow or pink) with the petals fused into a corolla tube with 4-5 stamens borne
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