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Tag Archives: Plant identification

Online resources for plant ID: the SAPS key to trees and shrubs

As the University teaching term gets closer Dr M has been investigating plant ID aids which might be tested by his students and some of which might even be useful! Here Dr M has a look at an interactive key from the Science and Plants for School project (SAPS), Cambridge University.

Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Geraniaceae

Geraniaceae includes around 800 species in 7-10 genera World-wide. The most important genera are Geranium (Crane’s-bills – 430 species), the garden Geranium (Latin name = Pelargonium – 280 species – native to the Cape region of South Africa) and Erodium (Stork’s-bills – 80 species).

In praise of big trees

Dr M is particularly fond of the University of Reading campus which extends over 123 ha of grassland, open water and woodland. Known as Whiteknights Park, it is home to over 400 species of native plants and many more planted and naturalised and is an ideal setting for Dr  M’s teaching of plant identification and vegetation survey methods.

Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Apiaceae

It’s high time for another of Dr M’s top 20 flowering plant families, this time it is the turn of the Apiaceae. Maybe you know this family by the older name – Umbelliferae – a name very evocative of the typical inflorescence – the umbel or umbrella-like inflorescence.

The fruits of autumn beckon

Spring came late this year, jostling with glorious summer (while it lasted).  Now, as temperatures drop and nights draw in, autumn makes its way centre-stage. Summer’s legacy of sunshine (recall the heatwave?) seems rather fruitful in our countryside and a host of blackberries has now given way to a myriad acorns (2013 is looking like a mast year for oaks), haws (Hawthorn berries) and
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Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses – 8 Arundineae

A small and, according to Cope & Gray (2009), controversial tribe with one very useful character – the ligule is not membranous but is a fringe of hairs. Several other tribes also have this, e.g. Cynodonteae which includes the salt marsh grasses Spartina, but Arundineae is the main tribe of native British grasses with this type of ligule. The inflorescence is a panicle, (large
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Common British Plants: the top 30 – Lamiaceae

Which are the commonest plant species in Britain? Recently Dr M has investigated the 30 most common British plant species based on data in the New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora and the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. The top 30 include species from 10 plant families including nine of the top twenty plant families. With this post Dr M has reached number 30!
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Tools of the trade for the field botany student!

The new University term is nearly upon us and students enrolling for the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity and MSc Species Identification and Survey Skills will be taking Dr M’s module on Vegetation Survey and Assessment on Thursdays in the Autumn Term.

Common tree and shrub identification – these are a few of our favourite leaves!

On Monday Dr M attended a continuing professional development training session on trees and shrubs ID for ecology staff given by our resident Arboriculturalist trio Rob, James and Luke: AKA The Arb Boys!

EFL Showcase Event: Doing your George Best – “Planning a student-led field trip”

Dr M’s Diary: Day 2 Saturday morning and evening This was a very tough day! Saturday was “Building and running a ‘student-led’ field trip” day and the EFL delegates were divided into 7 teams and all asked to kick off by naming their teams after super heroes.