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Monocots

eXtreme botany on the edge: roadside orchids!

Dr M asks: What’s not to love about orchids?  I mean it’s a botanical given, orchids – everyone loves them! OK, Dr M might prefer Poaceae but that’s Dr M for you!


Dr M’s field day diary #3 – eXtreme botany in the water!

This week Dr M has been taking his MSc students on a series of field days, visiting a range of sites and habitats. Here is the third post from Dr M’s field day diary: Day 3: Botany at historical Runnymede


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:


A voyage round Dr M’s pond!

Dr M says: OK so it’s not a pond, it’s a very large plastic flower pot with the drainage holes bunged up with duck tape and filled with water and aquatic plants! But which aquatic plants and how many species (and are there any ducks)? This is Dr M’s first ever eXtreme aquatic botanical challenge for you! Have a close look at the gallery
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Dr M’s Spring term plant ID test: vascular plants

Dr M’s students have returned from the vacation and spent the first week of the new term on the New Year Plant Hunt in which they and Dr M found 38 species in flower on the University of Reading campus! This week Dr M set his students a plant ID test of vascular plants and bryophytes. This was a formative test which is a
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Dr M and student’s “New Year” Plant Hunt – The Results!

Dr M’s MSc New Year Plant Hunt (borrowed from the idea by BSBI) took place on Tuesday 14th January 2014. Three groups of MSc students walked the University of Reading Whiteknights campus for 1 hour each in the chilly sunshine collecting any plant in flower and these were taken back to the lab and identified


Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses – 8 Arundineae

A small and, according to Cope & Gray (2009), controversial tribe with one very useful character – the ligule is not membranous but is a fringe of hairs. Several other tribes also have this, e.g. Cynodonteae which includes the salt marsh grasses Spartina, but Arundineae is the main tribe of native British grasses with this type of ligule. The inflorescence is a panicle, (large
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Tools of the trade for the field botany student!

The new University term is nearly upon us and students enrolling for the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity and MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills will be taking Dr M’s module on Vegetation Survey and Assessment on Thursdays in the Autumn Term.


Common British Plants: the top 30 vascular plants – Juncaceae

Which are the commonest plant species in Britain? Recently Dr M has investigated the 30 most common British plant species based on data in the New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora and the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. The top 30 include species from 10 plant families including nine of the top twenty plant families. The 30 commonest species includes eight species from the Poaceae, seven
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Tools of the eXtreme botanists trade #3: Plant identification guides

The Natural History Bookstore (NHBS) tells Dr M there is a  new flora on the block called Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland