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Plants

It’s bluebell time, get thee to a bluebell wood!

It’s bluebell time and there is nothing quite like the heady scent and radiant sky-blue vistas of a British bluebell wood in springtime. The UK plant charity Plantlife is currently running a competition to choose the Nation’s Favourite Wildflower.  Britain is home to many beautiful wildflowers so there are plenty to choose from but it’s probably no surprise that so far, the number 1 position
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What is the point of plants? Or the soldier who preferred flowers to guns

Do you know the muffin man… sorry I’ll start again. Do you know the “Infinite Monkey Cage”? Well, if not it’s a Radio 4 programme with Brian Cox (you know, the Professor of Particle Physics who’s a bit like God, he’s everywhere and everything and probably pretty much infinite too, I’m sure the BBC producers hope so as they seem to be on to a
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Dr M’s Autumn Term botany class #1: Of apps and keys and trees and shrubs

Dr M’s first lesson with MSc Plant Diversity students and MSc SISS included a tour round the woodland known as the Wilderness on the University of Reading award-winning green campus.


Saving UK Botany is team work!

Dr M is stuck in a train somewhere near Slough as he heads to the second meeting of the UK Plant Science Federation working group on training and skills to save UK botany from oblivion! Important work this and fortunately he is not alone, the working group has no fewer than sixteen keen and able people botanically beavering away on the issues and outcomes.
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Botanical selfies take a trip to China (via Bangor) with Sophie Williams

Just as #iamabotanist gets trending on Twitter Dr M’s series of botanical selfies continues with self-confessed non-botanist (!) but definite plantophile, Dr Sophie Williams one of the team developing the new MSc in Plant Conservation at Bangor. Anyone who works so closely with people and plants IS a botanist in Dr M’s eyes and there is much to love in this account, and for Dr M two
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Botany trending on Twitter: #iamabotanist!

At last Twitter is alive with the sound of botany! Or at least the dulcet tones of a podcast from Dr Chris Martine of Bucknell University in the USA and a host of hashtags proclaiming #iamabotanist and #reclaimthename.


Dr M invades Europe: eXtreme botany’s first anniversary tour!

Is Europe ready for eXtreme botany? Well, ready or not, here he comes, and Dr M’s trusty botanical companion Grasshead simply can’t wait! 2014 marks the first anniversary of eXtreme botany and Dr M is celebrating by embarking on a European tour which tracks an eXtreme botanical transect from the Czech Republic, through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and from thence to Finland. While in Finland
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Shed-loads of botany on BBC Radio 4!

You’ve got to admire the timing, just as UK’s most prestigious botanical research centre, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, faces  a public outcry over budget cuts, the new Director Professor Kathy Willis presents not one, not two or three but twenty-five programmes about botany, and all on prime-time BBC Radio 4 – in the hallowed slot just before the Archers!


Garden grass games, great squirting cucumbers and more with Dr Julie Hawkins

Dr M’s new series of botanical “selfies” continues with #3 Julie Hawkins who also admits to a fascination with those squirting cucumbers, read on… I am… Associate Professor of Plant Systematics and Evolution, University of Reading, admission tutor for MSc Plant Diversity. I got into botany… thanks to my Granny, who fought a many-faceted campaign to “make me a botanist”. Highlights included sending a group of neighbourhood kids
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eXtreme botany at the edge – saltmarsh vegetation

Dr M was surveying coastal vegetation recently on the Isle of Grain in Kent and he came across a small semi-circular beach and this set him thinking about (and photographing) saltmarsh vegetation. Most plants on earth are terrestrial and cannot tolerate seawater which has a devastating effect on the osmotic potential and water relations of most land plants, literally sucking the water and life out
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