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Dicots

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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How many Buttercups are there?

In this picture thousands!   But of Buttercup species there are quite a few.  For example, according to the book of Stace, the latest flora of the British Isles, there are 30 species and hybrids of Ranunculus (the Latin name for the Buttercup genus). But there are three very common species which you must learn before you move on to the others!  There is Creeping buttercup
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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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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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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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