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eXtreme botany

eXtreme botany on a plate – with the answers!

From Dr M’s botany field course at the Lizard 2014, here’s Wizard Carter’s Lizard plant ID test on a plate! How many can you do to family? genus? species? Have a go then check the answers below, (taxonomy according to book of Stace): 1. Juncaceae Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush) 2. Poaceae Glyceria declinata (Small Sweet-grass) 3. Crassulaceae Crassula tillaea (Mossy Stonecrop) 4. Cyperaceae Carex echinata (Star Sedge) 5. Calitrichaceae Callitriche stagnalis (Common Water-starwort) 6.
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Dr M Lizard Diary Day 5: Kynance assignment presentation

Today was the day they have been dreading, the day they hoped Dr M would forget, the day of the student presentation on their vegetation assignment at Horse Rock, Kynance Cove. A group of somewhat nervous students assembled promptly at 10.45, notebooks and lap top in hand they set up their presentation in front of Dr M, Wizard Carter and guest tutor Hermione.

Dr M Lizard Diary Day 4: The assignment day!

All unusually quiet, even somber, group on the minibus this morning as Dr M drove students to Kynance Cove for their assessed National Vegetation Classification (NVC) assignment. The first taxonomic challenge, was more zoological than botanical: some very fine brown cows were sitting across on the path, Edwina Higginbotham let out a loud sneeze and all bar one struggled lazily to their feet. The
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Dr M Lizard Diary Day 3: eXtreme botany come rain come shine!

Awoke today to the sound of heavy rain beating upon the caravan roof and the forecast being for more of the same we took a walk near the camp site and collected material and brought back to base camp for Dr M’s ID workshop, and numerous photo opportunities to catch students using their hand lenses! For the ID Workshop Dr M collected several species
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Dr M Lizard Diary Day 2: Thingummywhatsit in the Whatchermecallaceae

Today the group visited Kynance Cove a botanical haven and wonderful beauty spot, adding many more plants to lists and quadrats to NVC vegetation surveys. There was a bit of a miniature plant theme running through the day, early on  we encountered the immensely tiny Radiola linoides (Allseed in the Linaceae) and mini examples of the annual grasses Aira caryophyllea and Bromus hordaceous ferronii, the
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Dr M Lizard Diary Day 1: To quadrat or not to quadrat that is the question…”

Sunday 18th May: First day at the Wonderful Lizard! Botany starts early with this group, and barely was breakfast over than the group was off in search of Ranunculus parviflorus (Small-flowered Buttercup) in the barer, scuffed areas of the camp site lawns. A species of special interest to this group as it had made a brief appearance on University of Reading campus last year,
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We’re off to see the Lizard, the Wonderful Lizard at last!

After what has seemed an eternity waiting for the MSc Plant Diversity UK Field Course Module to start, finally the day has arrived! At around 10.20 a.m. Dr M and MSc Plant Diversity students set off from Reading in their ample minibus stacked with more plant ID books than you might reasonably expect to find at a BSBI annual exhibition meeting! And there was
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Pomeaceous and Poaceous: A Botanical Fairy Tail!

Yes, it’s high time for another first from Dr M: a botanical fairy tail! And why not? Actually, it’s quite a long tail, so make yourself a cup of tea and settle down all comfy-like… …and Dr M will begin:

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.

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.