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Dicots

The top 30 vascular plant species in Britain?

Which are the commonest species in Britain? The answer to Dr M’s question depends on what Dr M means by “common” and what Dr M means by “Britain“!


Test Tube Trees!

  Dr M continues his quest for botanical videos… This time Dr M has come across the Test Tube videos which includes a series about trees in Britain by Markus Eichhorn a botanist from Nottingham University.


Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Ranunculaceae

The Ranunculaceae takes its name from Rana (the latin name for the frog) due to the aquatic nature of many Ranunculaceae, e.g. The Spearworts (Ranunculus lingua and R.flammula), the Water-crowfoots (Ranunculus spp.), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris).  But there are also terrestrial species such as Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa), Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), the climber Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba) and the Hellebores (Helleborus spp.). Ranunculaceae are
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Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Rosaceae

“A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.  If we delve into this phrase, from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is saying more important is what something IS not what it is named! A bit of a snub to taxonomy really but we can cope!  


What makes a good botany video?

If you have read Dr M’s eXtreme botany manifesto you will know that Dr M is an advocate of video as a medium for teaching botany, for example learning species identification. Dr M is discussing these issues at INTECOL in London today and in September at the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase Event.


Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Fabaceae

Also known as the Leguminosae or Pea family, the Fabaceae is the third largest flowering plant family in the World with around 18,000 species, and of massive economic as well as botanical importance for the myriad species of edible legume utilised the World over (see Fabulous Fabaceous Facts below!).


Dr M’s Top 20 flowering plant families in Britain – a resume

Dr M’s series of posts on the Top 20 families of flowering plants kicked off with the three largest families globally: Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Fabaceae.


Dr M’s Top-Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Asteraceae

Here, Dr M starts his new survey of the top-twenty vascular plant families: Each of these twenty posts will summarise the main ID features of the family illustrated with examples from one or more species from that family.


Strawberries in the lawn?!

Summer is marked out by strawberry season.  Botanically there are several summer strawberries  to consider!  Here’s three options for starters (though only one of them suitable for desert!).  Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) are very closely related species in the Rose family – Rosaceae and look rather similar but can be told apart by the following characters:   Wild Strawberry:
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Whiteknights BioBlitz 2013: The Movie!

Back in June Dr M posted about the University of Reading Whiteknights BioBitz,  a large scale biodiversity event which ran between 7th-8th June 2013. During this 24 hour period a wide range of people got together to identify as many plant and animal species as they could on the prize-winning University of Reading Whiteknights campus.