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Top 20 plant families

Dr M welcomes a new MSc student cohort to the joys of botany!

Dr M says: It’s that time of year again! Last year’s University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity students (class of 2016 pictured above) are just about finishing their dissertations and we are already wishing them well as they get ready to move on to botanical pastures new, while the class of 2017 are soon to be on their way to Reading for a new exciting
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Do you know your yellow clovers?

So you’re walking through the grass and at the edge, where it’s all trampled, there’s this yellow clover, or is it, and is it only one? Well in Britain we have at least four common yellow flowered small to medium clover-like plants. Although they all have trifoliate leaves (three leaflets) they are not called clover, at least the commonest common names are not clover
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Dr M’s common grass quiz

It’s no secret that Dr M is raving potty about Poaceae! This time of year (early June) is wondrous for Poaceae (but not hay fever sufferers!) as the vegetative shoots spring into action and come alive with flowering inflorescences bearing those strange yet magical spikelets, there is a freshness and a magic to this Poaceous time for sure! And it’s a great season to start
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Dr M’s in-Hyde Park spot test – the answers!

Have you tried Dr M’s spot test from the BES/EFL workshop in Hyde Park? If not check it out here have a go then come back for the answers! Check the pictures against the answers below, give yourself 2 marks if you got the answer correct. If you didn’t quite get the answer correct but were part way there you can still get a mark,
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Botanical hello’s and goodbye’s at the University of Reading!

Dr M says: It’s that time of year again! Last year’s University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity students (class of 2015 pictured above) are just about finishing their dissertations and we are already wishing them well as they get ready to move on to botanical pastures new, while the class of 2016 are soon to be on their way to Reading for a new exciting
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Dr M’s garden flower quiz the answers?

How did Dr M’s garden quiz go for you? If you didn’t try it yet please here – even if you are not so familiar with garden plants and weren’t exactly sure what was what Dr M urges you to have a go at least to ID the family in each case and then the genus and species if you were feeling more confident
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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 autumn botany class: lovely bit of Asteraceae on campus

Dr M’s second botany lesson for his MSc Plant Diversity and MSc SISS students was all about getting to know the top-twenty plant families in Britain. Students divided themselves into smaller groups and set out to different parts of the University of Reading campus to collect material of flowering plants and to bring them back to the lab.


Dr M’s botany class homework – a key to common plant families

Dr M has set his students some homework. Having already started to look at the top-twenty plant families this term, Dr M has asked his students to construct a key to the top fourteen families of dicotyledons (broad-leaved flowering plants).


Dr M’s mini-quiz from Maiden Castle: answers part 2 – vegetative ID!

If you arrived here and have not completed Dr M’s Maiden Castle mini-quiz and you would like to, then check it out here! and then the answers here! If you have, well, with Part 1, the easy bit, out of the way, here’s the real eXtreme botany bit: vegetative plant ID and in chalk grassland – one of the most species-rich communities in Britain – to
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