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Dicots

Dr M’s field day diary #3 – eXtreme botany in the water!

This week Dr M has been taking his MSc students on a series of field days, visiting a range of sites and habitats. Here is the third post from Dr M’s field day diary: Day 3: Botany at historical Runnymede


Another of those damned elusive yellow compositae!

Dr M has already posted (here) on those conspicuous and characteristic yellow dandelion-like plants which we see all around, especially in grassland and on waste ground and which, despite their superficial resemblance to Dandelions (Taraxacum sp), actually include a number of related genera.


A tale of two willows

The Willow family – Salicaceae – includes two main genera – Willows and the Poplars – a family of deciduous trees and shrubs with (usually) simple, alternate leaves with stipules. The flowers are in catkins and there is no perianth (i.e. no obvious petals or sepals). There are 2 carpels and the fruit is a one-celled capsule which bursts to release the many silky
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Boys and girls come out to play!

We’ve had bluebells galore, so about time for some other woodland plants. Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) is a member of the Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae) and as with other members of this family the flowers are dioecious, i.e. there are separate male and female flowers.


On Dr M’s Golden Pond – The Solution!

OK it’s not golden and it’s not a pond! Rather it’s a large water-filled plastic flower pot stuffed with aquatic plants! But recently Dr M posted about this “pond”, and despite its diminutive size, there are quite a number of plant species living happily in it at the moment and Dr M presented images of six aquatic plants for your examination and identification.


A voyage round Dr M’s pond!

Dr M says: OK so it’s not a pond, it’s a very large plastic flower pot with the drainage holes bunged up with duck tape and filled with water and aquatic plants! But which aquatic plants and how many species (and are there any ducks)? This is Dr M’s first ever eXtreme aquatic botanical challenge for you! Have a close look at the gallery
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Dr M’s Spring term plant ID test: vascular plants

Dr M’s students have returned from the vacation and spent the first week of the new term on the New Year Plant Hunt in which they and Dr M found 38 species in flower on the University of Reading campus! This week Dr M set his students a plant ID test of vascular plants and bryophytes. This was a formative test which is a
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Go 21st century botany!

Recently, Dr M discovered a botanical website called simply: “Go Botany“, based at the New England Wild Flower Society in the USA. This wonderful botanical site embraces botany in the 21st century with a whole suite of online teaching and learning tools, basic and advanced online keys, plant sharing and interaction with the botanical community young and old alike.


Dr M and student’s “New Year” Plant Hunt – The Results!

Dr M’s MSc New Year Plant Hunt (borrowed from the idea by BSBI) took place on Tuesday 14th January 2014. Three groups of MSc students walked the University of Reading Whiteknights campus for 1 hour each in the chilly sunshine collecting any plant in flower and these were taken back to the lab and identified


Dr M’s Glimpses of Great Botanists: E.J.H. Corner on the Leguminosae

Dr M loves it when this happens! Stumbling upon some writing which leaves him speechless, thinking: “Oh my! What eXtreme creative botanical mind was at work there?”