A real favourite of Dr M, and a sure sign that spring is with us, is Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa. Its pure white blossoms emerge before the leaves and so are set against the very dark, leafless, spiny twigs, surely one of nature’s simplest, coolest and mouth watering colour combinations.
Dr M’s second botany lesson for his MSc Plant Diversity and MSc SISS students was all about getting to know the top-twenty plant families in Britain. Students divided themselves into smaller groups and set out to different parts of the University of Reading campus to collect material of flowering plants and to bring them back to the lab.
Dr M has set his students some homework. Having already started to look at the top-twenty plant families this term, Dr M has asked his students to construct a key to the top fourteen families of dicotyledons (broad-leaved flowering plants).
It’s one thing to rampage the ramparts and scale the slopes of Maiden Castle, but have you survived Dr M’s chalk grassland mini-quiz?
Dr M was in Dorset recently and took the opportunity to visit one of the largest and most complex of Iron Age hillforts in Europe, Maiden Castle, whose huge multiple ramparts once protected several hundred residents. It’s an old, old site and excavations famously carried out in the 1930s and 1980s revealed the site’s 4,000-year history, from a Neolithic causewayed enclosure to a small Roman
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OK, the soggy Bank Holiday Monday is over and now we are into a soggy week at work! You’ve had plenty of sodden hours to contemplate this plant so here’s the low down: The mystery plant is in the family Amaranthaceae which includes three genera. (1) Chenopodium which is a genus of annual herbs with grooved, often striped stems and leaves which are often mealy
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OK it’s a wet soggy Bank Holiday Monday (as usual!) so why not dry yourself off and warm yourself up with Dr M’s mystery plant mini-quiz #3! This is a plant doing rather well in Dr M’s Mum’s garden in the Wye Valley near Chepstow at the moment. Can you get family? genus? species? Close-up image coming a bit later!
It’s the weekend and Dr M is just back from eXtreme botany European Tour 2014 and has got a touch behind with posting on drmgoeswild so a good time to launch a new series. Dr M’s weekend mystery plants is a mini-quiz posting a mystery plant for you to ID then in a few days comes the answer and some botanical info for your
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This rather magnificent member of the Pea family – Fabaceae – is very conspicuous on roadsides and waste ground around Reading and much further afield at the moment.
For the field botanist finding a new plant is eXtreme botany indeed. Until recently, Dr M had never seen the rare Mousetail (Myosurus minimus) in the wild. But one day, all this changed, for ever!