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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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Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses 1 – Poeae

Here is the first of Dr M’s promised grass identification blogs on the Tribes of Grasses and starts with The Poeae because?  Well just because it seems logical, we ARE talking Poaceae after all!  The Poeae is the second largest tribe of British grasses after Aveneae which will be the subject of the next blog in this series. Eleven British genera fall in the
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Some like it hot

This years weather has been varied to say the least!  The coldest spring since 1962 and a wetter than average May was followed by a heat wave which kicked off in July and is currently still with us.  This rather extreme weather has played some interesting games with the plants of our countryside.  The wet May seems to have been great for the grasses
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Getting a grip on grasses – tribes without tribulation!

Dr M continues his focus on Poaceae with a look into the Tribes of grasses.  In his legendary Poaceae song Dr M has already established that the Poaceae is a family of grasses green and wonderful! But notwithstanding this fact, the beginning and even the intermediate botanist often needs some guidance and tips for sorting the genera and species into a framework to help
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Poaceae: what you need to know to ID a grass

Dr M is particularly fond of grasses! Grasses are an important group of plants with more than 10 000 species worldwide. In Britain there are over 150 species of grasses and they are an important component of all habitat types not just grasslands (pastures, meadows), but also woodland, heathland and wetlands. Grasses are important as food for grazing animals. But grasses are also valuable
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