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Field botany

Creative approaches to teaching field botany skills

STOP PRESS: Dr M and his colleague Alastair Culham  presented a workshop on teaching plant ID skills at the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning workshop in collaboration with the British Ecological Society, and supported by the Society for Experimental Biology, at the Isis Education Centre in Hyde Park, London 7-8 September 2015. Building on four previous Showcases, the event aimed to share ideas and practice for innovative
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Dr M’s Poaceae quiz: Part the Second

Dr M says: Your patience is rewarded and here at last is Part the Second of Dr M’s long-awaited Poaceae quiz! Grasses, so the Poaceae song goes, and as Dr M’s students on University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity know well, have “flowers reduced to spikelets strange yet magical”. The grass spikelet is indeed a wondrous thing and has an intrinsic beauty and fascination
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Dr M’s Poaceae quiz – Part the First: a family of grasses green and wonderful!

Ah, the English Summer, that time of uncertain sunshine and certain hay fever! Hay fever or not, regular visitor to these pages will know that Dr M is particularly fond of grasses – or Poaceae or Graminea or whatever you like to call them! And to celebrate all that is green wonderful Dr M’s first Poaceae ID quiz is coming to these pages –
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Dr M’s summer botany quiz is a comin’ in!

Summer was a comin’ in but for sure it is here now and that can mean only one thing: it’s high time for a Dr M summer plant ID quiz! Recently Dr M has been out and about checking what’s in flower and what’s not and below are images of thirty-six common species currently in flower. Can you ID the family, genus and species of each
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Dr M’s Botany bus Diary – Day 5 Wistmans Wood, Dartmoor

Day 5 of Dr M’s University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course and our eXtreme botanists head from the coast of Dorset to Cornwall making a diversion through the uplands of Dartmoor, and a stop off at Wistman’s Wood – a rare relict example of the ancient upland woodlands of Dartmoor. Wistman’s Wood, situated amidst acid grassland heath and bog, is a famous botanical site situated on
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Dr M’s #Botanybus2015 spot test – the answers!

On day 10 of the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course – otherwise known as #Botanybus2015 – there was a spot test at the lovely Mullion Cove in the Lizard District, Cornwall. As they walked the cliffs and adjacent areas Dr M pointed his trusty Dutch auger at 30 plants in turn and students had a couple of minutes to ID them
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Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 4 Chesil Beach and Lulworth Downs

Here’s a report of Day 4 of Dr M’s University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course held in April in which the intrepid group of eXtreme botanists were out and about checking the botany of saltmarshes on the Isle of Purbeck… …and the adjacent great shingle spit of Chesil beach – fascinating geomorphological form comprising 18 miles and 180 billion pebbles (allegedly!) – but not
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Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 3 Studland Sand Dunes

Day 3 of #Botanybus2015  – University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course headed toNational Trust Studland beach to investigate the plants and vegetation of the sand dunes which have developed over the past 3 or 4 centuries forming a large part of the South Haven Peninsula, near Poole Harbour, Dorset. After parking the #Botanybus2015 in the carpark the group walked the length of Studland
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Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 2 Godlingston Heath, Dorset

After settling into our accommodation at the Alnatt centre, Swanage, the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course continued into day 2 with a sunshine-filled trip to Studland and Godlingston Heath NNR which includes a fine expanse of heathland and bog habitats ideal for the #Botanybus2015 experience!

Dr M’s Botany bus – Day 1 Roydon Woods Hampshire

Dr M plus colleague Alastair Culham and University of Reading MSc students packed luggage, equipment and themselves in the botany bus and set off on the botanical eXtravaganza which is the Plant Diversity field course. From Reading the botany bus wound its way through the Berkshire Countryside to Hampshire, bound for Roydon Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, the first stop on this two
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