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Michael Gove endorses eXtreme Botany

Dr M is spreading the botanical word and he will not rest until there is World Domination by botanists!  Ambitious? You might think so but then you haven’t reckoned with Dr M’s energy and determination! And to help reach his goal Dr M invented eXtreme botany and the cult is on the rise.  Just recently, with an eye to the eXtreme botany vote, Education Minister
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So what exactly is eXtreme botany?

By any reckoning 2013 has been a phenomenal year for Dr M.  2013 is the year when Dr M finally and Officially “Went Wild”.  2013 is also the year that Dr M invented “eXtreme botany”, thereby ensuring that botany will never quite be the same again. Despite its undoubted and growing prominence in the cultural life of Britain, occasionally, very occasionally, Dr M gets
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Poaceae is a family of grasses green and wonderful!

It’s an open secret that Dr M has a soft spot for Poaceae and is currently busy practicing for a new improved version of the infamous Poaceae song!  But here, Dr M turns his attention to having  look at some common grasses.  Spring is here, and although all that is green is not grass, a lot of it is!  On the Whiteknights campus at
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Botanical Zero to Hero!

Difficult to believe maybe, but a few weeks ago we were still in the midst of the chilly late winter. Dr M was blogging flowering Blackthorn because it’s beautiful and he loves it, but also because there was little else to see then!  How different now! The sun has come out, the temperatures warmed, the scent of long unused barbecues fills the air and there are
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The Veg Key!

Dr M’s favourite and highly recommended books for plant  identification include: The veg key – otherwise known as “The Vegetative Key to the British Flora”.  An amazing and botanically life-changing volume by John Poland and Eric Clement and published in 2009.  This is a new approach to identifying plants in the vegetative state i.e. without flowers,


The Book of Stace!

Dr M’s favourite and highly recommended books for plant identification include: “The book of Stace” – This is the affectionate nickname given by Dr M when introducing students to Clive Stace’s “New Flora of Britain” 3rd edition (2010). Advanced and indispensable treatment of the British flora with keys to identify families, genera and species of all native and naturalised species (including hybrids) in the UK. A
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Spring Whitlow Grass

One of the first botanical signs of Spring is the aptly named Spring Whitlow Grass  (Erophila verna) (except it is NOT a grass, not even remotely!).  It’s a very common plant in urban habitats such as pavements, the base of walls and bare disturbed ground but it can be so tiny you might miss it!  Get up close and you meet a very pretty
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Dr M’s upcoming videos

Dr M Goes Wild about video for plant identification and just for fun! Upcoming videos include “the hand lens”, “marvellous mosses”, “liking lichens” and “the top 10 plant families”. Check the course page for information about Dr Ms course “Making plant ID videos”.


New book on vegetation…

Michael Proctors new book on British vegetation will be scrutinised by Dr M once he gets his copy…


Dr M’s common grass quiz – the answers!

Did you have a go at Dr M’s Common Grass Quiz from the University of Reading Harris Garden? If not try it out here and come back to check the answers below. Below are the images of the twelve grass species with common names (click the images for Latin names). Dr M says: how did you do?  Even if you are not yet a grass champion maybe this little
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