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Dr M’s Botany bus diary – Day 2 Godlingston Heath, Dorset

After settling into our accommodation at the Alnatt centre, Swanage, the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity field course continued into day 2 with a sunshine-filled trip to Studland and Godlingston Heath NNR which includes a fine expanse of heathland and bog habitats ideal for the #Botanybus2015 experience!


Dr M’s Botany bus – Day 1 Roydon Woods Hampshire

Dr M plus colleague Alastair Culham and University of Reading MSc students packed luggage, equipment and themselves in the botany bus and set off on the botanical eXtravaganza which is the Plant Diversity field course. From Reading the botany bus wound its way through the Berkshire Countryside to Hampshire, bound for Roydon Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, the first stop on this two
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All aboard! Dr M’s #BotanyBus2015 extravaganza!

Recently Dr M and colleague @RNGBotany plus University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity students loaded the #BotanyBus2015 and headed south from Reading for the annual Plant Diversity field course, the eXtreme botanical excitement was palpable!


We eat, sleep and breathe plants so why are we blind to them?

On Monday 13th April, Dr M appeared at Cafe Scientifique a joint venture between The British Science Association Thames Valley Branch and the University of Reading at Monroes Rock Bar St Mary’s Butts, Reading Town Centre. Cafe Scientifique is the place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (beer if you’re Dr M), anyone can come to explore the
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Eyebrights – so hard to ID?

A notoriously difficult plant group for the field botanist is the Eyebrights (Euphrasia – previously placed in the Scrophulariaceae now in the Orobanchaceae family). Eyebrights are lovely grassland and heathland plants with little zygomorphic flowers, bright white with a central yellow blotch and purple veins (hence Eye-bright). With approximately 22 species and 70  (yes seventy!) hybrids Euphrasia ID is eXtreme botany to be sure! But recently, Euphrasia
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Working for British field botany – young botanist Ryan Clark

Dr M is delighted to welcome this botanical selfie from Ryan Clark who was, until last year, BSc student at University of Reading, and is now busy developing his botanical skills with the likes of BSBI. With keen, enthusiastic and able botanists like Ryan, the future of Botany remains assured!


Dr M on the NVC: how to ID plant communities

In a previous post (here) Dr M explained what the NVC is and how to “do” an NVC survey by collecting quadrat data from representative samples in homogenous stands of vegetation. Here Dr M outlines the procedure for putting an NVC name to your quadrat data. Now, Dr M assumes you have collected your quadrat data, at least five quadrats in each homogenous stand of vegetation.
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From Arthur Tansley to John Rodwell: Dr M on the NVC

Dr M is teaching his MSc students at University of Reading about Phase 2 surveys and The National Vegetation Classification (NVC). The NVC was developed at Lancaster University in the 1980s when Dr M was a post-doc researcher there working with Andrew Malloch and John Rodwell (the editor of the NVC) during the writing of the NVC and so it is all rather close
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Veg plant ID: how to tell if rosette plants have opposite or alternate leaves?

Dr M is used to a lot of questions from his students on the MSc Plant Diversity University of Reading! And once they started using the veg key then there’s been a lot more questions! But one of the most frequent is “Dr M, with a rosette plant how can we tell if the leaves are opposite or alternate?”


Eyes down (the hand lens) for a full house! Dr M’s Botany Bingo!

Finally the day arrived for the latest plant ID test for Dr M’s MSc students, but no ordinary test this one, instead it was to be – Drum Roll – Dr M’s Botany Bingo, yes that’s right Botany Bingo! Unfortunately Dr M was in process of recovering from a flu virus and so instead of the deluxe boxed set of Botany Bingo he had
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