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Dr M on the trail of the lonesome Mousetail!

Myosurus plant

For the field botanist finding a new plant is eXtreme botany indeed. Until recently, Dr M had never seen the rare Mousetail (Myosurus minimus) in the wild.

But one day, all this changed, for ever!

Previously recorded on the Whiteknights campus but long considered extinct, rumours started going around the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity that this little plant had been spotted in bare, disturbed horticultural land behind the University of Reading glasshouses.

This is a plant that Dr M has always wanted to see, partly because it is cute but also because it is quite a little oddity of the family Ranunculeae as the common name Mousetail suggests.

You can imagine his delight that this little rarity might have returned to the campus and, understandably very excited, set out on an eXtreme plant hunt to try to locate it.

Mousetail is a small hairless annual herb with basal rosette of linear fleshy leaves and erect stems, bearing solitary, erect greenish-yellow flowers with 5 sepals and 5 petals, 5-10 stamens and a cylindrical, mouse-tail-like receptacle which elongates in fruit bearing many tiny achenes.

For the field botanist finding a new plant not seen before is eXtreme botany indeed and Dr M’s video below tells the botanically inspiring tale of the trail of the lonesome Mousetail!

 

Check this additional Mousetail post on the University Whiteknights Biodiversity blog, announcing the original botanical rediscovery

Botanical clarification: Dr M refers to 5 tepals in the video, actually the Mousetail plant has 5 sepals and 5 greenish and inconspicuous petals.

 

2 Comments

  • Alison Bird

    I think I may have seen this on disturbed ground at Merrist Wood last year. I thought it was a Plantago but could not identify it. I thought it might have come from bird seed. I will go and look again but the land is cultivated so may no longer be there. What should I do if I find one?

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