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Dicots

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.


Asteraceae ID from New England!

Dr M is pleased to share this  plant ID video about identification of the large plant family Asteraceae starring one of Dr M’s previous Plant Diversity Masters students, Molly Marquand!


More to Brambles than meets the eye (and the taste buds!)

Dr M has been admiring the super-abundance of developing Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.) in the hedgerows and it seems that the unusual combination of spring and summer weather has helped provide a bumper crop for the coming weeks!  Have your collecting baskets to hand and don’t miss out on this delicious food for free! The genus (actually sub-genus, see below) Rubus includes a number of
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Gentianaceae: Rare Gentians and Common Centauries

The Gentian family has an air of the exotic about it, all those lovely deep blue arctic alpines seen on holiday in the Alps! Gentianeaceae are quite easily recognised by their opposite, entire and glabrous leaves, 4-5 petals (famously blue of course in Gentiana, but other genera are white, yellow or pink) with the petals fused into a corolla tube with 4-5 stamens borne
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