Which are the commonest species in Britain? The answer to Dr M’s question depends on what Dr M means by “common” and what Dr M means by “Britain“!
The Ranunculaceae takes its name from Rana (the latin name for the frog) due to the aquatic nature of many Ranunculaceae, e.g. The Spearworts (Ranunculus lingua and R.flammula), the Water-crowfoots (Ranunculus spp.), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris). But there are also terrestrial species such as Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa), Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), the climber Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba) and the Hellebores (Helleborus spp.). Ranunculaceae are
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Juncaceae is the rush family, in Britain most commonly represented by Juncus (True Rushes) and Luzula (Wood Rushes). The common name “Rush” has been used for many unrelated plants of wet places with stiff, upright stems or leaves, such as Sweet Rush (Acorus, Acoraceae), Flowering Rush (Butomus), Scouring Rush (Equisetum, Equisetaceae the Horsetails!) and Bullrush (Typha spp., Typhaceae) also the name Bullrush has been
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“A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. If we delve into this phrase, from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is saying more important is what something IS not what it is named! A bit of a snub to taxonomy really but we can cope!
The Devil has the best tunes but the Poaceae surely has all the best words – LIGULE, AURICLE, GLUME, SPIKELET and LODICULE!
Also known as the Leguminosae or Pea family, the Fabaceae is the third largest flowering plant family in the World with around 18,000 species, and of massive economic as well as botanical importance for the myriad species of edible legume utilised the World over (see Fabulous Fabaceous Facts below!).
Dr M’s series of posts on the Top 20 families of flowering plants kicked off with the three largest families globally: Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Fabaceae.
The second largest flowering plant family in the World with about 18,500 species, and a family needing little introduction being surely the most popular and admired plant family in the World beloved of Orchid fanciers everywhere!
Here, Dr M starts his new survey of the top-twenty vascular plant families: Each of these twenty posts will summarise the main ID features of the family illustrated with examples from one or more species from that family.