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eXtreme botany

Dr M welcomes a new MSc student cohort to the joys of botany!

Dr M says: It’s that time of year again! Last year’s University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity students (class of 2016 pictured above) are just about finishing their dissertations and we are already wishing them well as they get ready to move on to botanical pastures new, while the class of 2017 are soon to be on their way to Reading for a new exciting
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Arachnoid choreography live and kicking in Dr M’s garden!

Dr M went all entomological this weekend filming this dramatic real time choreography from a garden arachnid. This beautiful Crab Spider has recently made its home in Dr M’s wild betony patch, a surprising choice of home since the vivid purple blooms contrast dramatically with the yellow of the spider! Normally, so Dr M understands, this spider selects more concealing blooms, however it seems quite
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Forget Brexit, here is Dr M’s 52% leaves quiz!

OK, so amidst all the hype, the story telling, the agony and the extacy, it’s great to know that we can still rely on plants to pull us through! So in the spirit of Brexit, Dr M offers his 52% leaves quiz, fifty-two of the finest British, European and International leaves for your botanical edification and welcome distraction! These 52 leaves were all found in
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Gatsby Plant Sciences Summer School 2016

Dr M is the University of Reading mentor for Gatsby Plant Science (part of the Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme at the University of Cambridge) and each year he selects three undergraduate science students on a competitive basis to attend the inspirational and potentially life-changing Gatsby Plants Summer School. The summer school (established by the University of Leeds in 2005) is a unique opportunity for first year BSc
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Dr M’s common grass quiz – the answers!

Did you have a go at Dr M’s Common Grass Quiz from the University of Reading Harris Garden? If not try it out here and come back to check the answers below. Below are the images of the twelve grass species with common names (click the images for Latin names). Dr M says: how did you do?  Even if you are not yet a grass champion maybe this little
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Dr M’s 30 Days Wild 2016!

Dr M has been going wild about plants and nature even way before he launched drmgoeswild.com in April 2013, and so naturally he is delighted to see that The Wildlife Trusts are repeating their 30 Days Wild campaign for June 2016: As the people at the WLT say: “Feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature by doing something wild every day for thirty days this June. No matter
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Spring is: more than 50 shades of green!

Did you notice this last weekend (mid April) was the first real sign that the countryside is awakening from its winter slumbers and the trees are coming into glorious leaf? Certainly Dr M saw that it was so in and around Reading and across into Wales. That transition – from the starkly beautiful bare twigs on tree and hedge to the emerging haze green
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Dr M talks more rubbish: brownfield botany answers!

Did you have a go at Dr M’s brownfield botany quiz? If not try it out here and come back to check the answers below. Post-industrial brownfield land is home to a host of colonising species both native and non-native species.  Amongst the non-natives are many non-invasive naturalised species as well as some more pernicious alien invasive species, several of which are listed on Schedule 9 of
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Dr M talks rubbish!

Perish the thought that Dr M would ever talk rubbish, but recently a survey in the Dagenham area lead to this close encounter of a post-industrial kind, replete with the results of endless fly-tipping, accompanied by a diversity of ruderal plants which you commonly find colonising such places, as well as one or two less common! Below, Dr M shares images of twenty of the
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Travelodge botany quiz!

Dr M says: Botany is everywhere, yes even at Travelodge! Dr M had the pleasure of staying at a Travelodge near Crewe recently. Nice comfy bed and a pleasant view across a meandering stream to a fragment of wet woodland with Salix fragilis (Crack-willow). But be warned: the view will be quite different once summer approaches, but more of that later! Dr M had
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