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Tag Archives: botany

Dr M’s mini-quiz answer #3: the mystery wet weekend plant!

OK, the soggy Bank Holiday Monday is over and now we are into a soggy week at work! You’ve had plenty of sodden hours to contemplate this plant so here’s the low down: The mystery plant is in the family Amaranthaceae which includes three genera. (1) Chenopodium which is a genus of annual herbs with grooved, often striped stems and leaves which are often mealy
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Dr M’s botanical mini-quiz #3: something for a wet Bank Holiday Monday!

OK it’s a wet soggy Bank Holiday Monday (as usual!) so why not dry yourself off and warm yourself up with Dr M’s mystery plant mini-quiz #3! This is a plant doing rather well in Dr M’s Mum’s garden in the Wye Valley near Chepstow at the moment. Can you get family? genus? species? Close-up image coming a bit later!


eXtreme botany on tour: Day 1 – Wizzing from Reading to Brno and beyond

2014 marks the first anniversary of eXtreme botany and Dr M is celebrating by embarking on a European tour which tracks a botanical transect from the Czech Republic, through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and from thence to Finland – an eXtreme botanical transect indeed! Day 1 Tuesday was a long day! A very early morning start from Reading, travelling to Luton airport (Lorraine Chase comes to
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Dr M’s botanical selfies #5 – Jessica Shepherd eats, shoots and Inky Leaves…

Dr M has always been particularly fond of art, and although convention wisdom tends to pigeon-hole art and science as separate disciplines Dr M feels that, on the contrary, there is a very natural connection between them, perhaps most obviously seen in the art of botanical illustration, but also much more widely as demonstrated in the recent Symbiosis project. And so Dr M is delighted to continue his series of
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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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To be Cotoneaster or not Cotoneaster? That is the question…?

Cotoneaster is a diverse genus of shrubs and small trees in the family Rosaceae and much beloved of gardeners (but less so by  British conservationists see below!).


eXtreme botany on a plate – with the answers!

From Dr M’s botany field course at the Lizard 2014, here’s Wizard Carter’s Lizard plant ID test on a plate! How many can you do to family? genus? species? Have a go then check the answers below, (taxonomy according to book of Stace): 1. Juncaceae Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush) 2. Poaceae Glyceria declinata (Small Sweet-grass) 3. Crassulaceae Crassula tillaea (Mossy Stonecrop) 4. Cyperaceae Carex echinata (Star Sedge) 5. Calitrichaceae Callitriche stagnalis (Common Water-starwort) 6.
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Dr M Lizard Diary Day 4: The assignment day!

All unusually quiet, even somber, group on the minibus this morning as Dr M drove students to Kynance Cove for their assessed National Vegetation Classification (NVC) assignment. The first taxonomic challenge, was more zoological than botanical: some very fine brown cows were sitting across on the path, Edwina Higginbotham let out a loud sneeze and all bar one struggled lazily to their feet. The
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Another of those damned elusive yellow compositae!

Dr M has already posted (here) on those conspicuous and characteristic yellow dandelion-like plants which we see all around, especially in grassland and on waste ground and which, despite their superficial resemblance to Dandelions (Taraxacum sp), actually include a number of related genera.


Boys and girls come out to play!

We’ve had bluebells galore, so about time for some other woodland plants. Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) is a member of the Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae) and as with other members of this family the flowers are dioecious, i.e. there are separate male and female flowers.