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Grasses

The Why and How (and WOW!) of Grass Spikelet Dissection…

Dr M has been posting Poaceae of late.  His series on the Tribes of grasses features details of British grass genera including quite intimate details of the grass spikelet (as the Poaceae song says: the flowers are reduced to spikelets strange yet magical!). But the beginning botanist might find this a touch overwhelming and Dr M can almost hear the cries:  “Dr M! do
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Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses 1 – Poeae

Here is the first of Dr M’s promised grass identification blogs on the Tribes of Grasses and starts with The Poeae because?  Well just because it seems logical, we ARE talking Poaceae after all!  The Poeae is the second largest tribe of British grasses after Aveneae which will be the subject of the next blog in this series. Eleven British genera fall in the
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Some like it hot

This years weather has been varied to say the least!  The coldest spring since 1962 and a wetter than average May was followed by a heat wave which kicked off in July and is currently still with us.  This rather extreme weather has played some interesting games with the plants of our countryside.  The wet May seems to have been great for the grasses
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Getting a grip on grasses – tribes without tribulation!

Dr M continues his focus on Poaceae with a look into the Tribes of grasses.  In his legendary Poaceae song Dr M has already established that the Poaceae is a family of grasses green and wonderful! But notwithstanding this fact, the beginning and even the intermediate botanist often needs some guidance and tips for sorting the genera and species into a framework to help
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Poaceae: what you need to know to ID a grass

Dr M is particularly fond of grasses! Grasses are an important group of plants with more than 10 000 species worldwide. In Britain there are over 150 species of grasses and they are an important component of all habitat types not just grasslands (pastures, meadows), but also woodland, heathland and wetlands. Grasses are important as food for grazing animals. But grasses are also valuable
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eXtreme botany at the University of Reading Bioblitz!

What is a Bioblitz?  A ‘BioBlitz’ is a large scale event run over 24 hours where people come together to identify as many species as possible. Where is this Bioblitz?  At University of Reading we are bringing together scientists, naturalists, local community groups, students and the public to learn about the amazing biodiversity on the glorious, green and prize-winning Whiteknights campus. When is this
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Meadow Foxtail has all the anthers…

Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) on the University of Reading campus is now looking splendid with a myriad anthers protruding from the spikelets (the grass flowers) in this characteristic spike-like inflorescence.  In the previous Foxtail post Dr M promised to explain more about the diverse types of grass inflorescence, all of which are variations on what, in botanical terms, is known as a panicle, it’s
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Poaceous Postcard from the Peninsula

Mid May 2013, and during Dr M’s annual botanical field trip to the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, we found over 300 different plant species during the week! Many plant families delighted us but we made a bit of a special study of Poaceae and, although we didn’t find every genus from Dr M’s legendary Poaceae song, we certainly found a decent number!


eXtreme botany challenge!

Following his post on defining eXtreme botany, Dr M has been asked: “Dr M, so can you identify a grass from just one leaf?” Dr M replies: “Hmmmm, I just love botanical conundrums!  This would surely be tricky if you were given a leaf of a grass at random, not knowing from whence it was plucked.  But if you know its geographical origin, e.g.
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Poaceae is a family of grasses green and wonderful!

It’s an open secret that Dr M has a soft spot for Poaceae and is currently busy practicing for a new improved version of the infamous Poaceae song!  But here, Dr M turns his attention to having  look at some common grasses.  Spring is here, and although all that is green is not grass, a lot of it is!  On the Whiteknights campus at
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