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Advent Botany 2017 – Day 11: Let it Sloe, let it Sloe, let it Sloe!

This is Dr M’s contribution to #AdventBotany for 2017 the fourth fantastic year of this true botanical original from Alastair Culham and Dr M at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading!  The 2017 edition is curated by Alastair Culham and you can it all here. For day 11, ironically as I wrote this post it is snowing here in deepest darkest urban
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Spring is: more than 50 shades of green!

Did you notice this last weekend (mid April) was the first real sign that the countryside is awakening from its winter slumbers and the trees are coming into glorious leaf? Certainly Dr M saw that it was so in and around Reading and across into Wales. That transition – from the starkly beautiful bare twigs on tree and hedge to the emerging haze green
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A tale of two willows

The Willow family – Salicaceae – includes two main genera – Willows and the Poplars – a family of deciduous trees and shrubs with (usually) simple, alternate leaves with stipules. The flowers are in catkins and there is no perianth (i.e. no obvious petals or sepals). There are 2 carpels and the fruit is a one-celled capsule which bursts to release the many silky
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Online resources for plant ID: NHM key to trees and shrubs

In Dr M’s survey of online plant ID aids he has already taken a look at the SAPS key to trees and shrubs from Cambridge University. Here Dr M has a look at an interactive key to 88 species of trees and shrubs from the Natural History Museum key to Nature project.

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.

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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