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Grass Identification: The Tribes of grasses 3 – Bromeae

After posting the two large tribes (Poeae and Aveneae) Dr M is pleased to post this smaller (but perfectly proportioned) tribe Bromeae, the Brome grasses! The Brome grasses are extremely beautiful grasses with rather characteristic oval and awned spikelets, though the main Bromeae genus, Bromus, is rather close to Festuca, read on! The inflorescence is a panicle with laterally compressed spikelets with several to many
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How many vascular plant species are there in Britain?

  Why not  try to answer this question before reading on!     By “plants” Dr M means green plants (containing chlorophyll) and this includes vascular plants (flowering plants, conifers, ferns, horsetails and clubmosses), bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) and green algae.  NB The Plant Kingdom does NOT include the fungi and lichens. Dr M focuses on vascular plants here and will deal with
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A Taxon for all time!

Dr M wrote this post for Catalogue of Life – Taxon of the Day, sign up to CoL Taxon of the Day in future for details of other favourite plants (Mondays) and animals (other days!). Dr M writes: Poaceae is a wonderful and important vascular plant family, the 5th-largest in the World, after Orchidaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae and Rubiaceae.  World-wide, Poaceae is divided into 28 tribes
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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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