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eXtreme botany challenge!

Following his post on defining eXtreme botany, Dr M has been asked: “Dr M, so can you identify a grass from just one leaf?” Dr M replies: “Hmmmm, I just love botanical conundrums!  This would surely be tricky if you were given a leaf of a grass at random, not knowing from whence it was plucked.  But if you know its geographical origin, e.g.
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Botanical postcard from Romania

Dr M is busy surveying in Romania north of Constanta on the Black Sea coast, nice work if you can get it, although the swarms of ferocious Mosquitoes are something else!  The vegetation I have been surveying includes coastal sand dunes, marshes and steppe grasslands. From my botanising, I find that the plant families are generally familiar here (loads of Asteraceae and Brassicaceae for
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Dr M: Trick Botanist on Channel 4 TV?

Back in early Spring, Dr M had a call from Channel 4 TV about a new high profile TV series “Ben Earl – Trick Artist” scheduled for the prime-time Friday evening slot.   The producer explained that this exciting new television star would explore a different theme in each episode – Crime, Art, Money. But it was the theme of the Nature, and a trick
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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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