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Dr M’s autumn term extreme botany quiz – the solutions

If you didn’t see Dr M extreme botany quiz check it out here before reading on…

If you did see it, and had a go, then check out the solutions below:

#1 the botany hat – this is an intriguing one to be sure!   Dr M obtained this hat from a much-traveled colleague when he previously worked at Wye College.

Dr M himself was uncertain about the botanical nature of the hat, though he was pretty sure his beloved Poaceae was involved!

So, after consulting with a University of Reading  PhD student from Thailand it seems that the hat is most probably made from two different plant species and two different families.

The main part of the hat, the white part, is likely made from palm leaves Corypha lecomtei or in Thai  it is known as “ลาน”.

This kind of hat is pretty common in Asia, in Thai the hat is called “หมวกใบลาน” – follow the link and you’ll see many pictures of hats similar to this one.

The inner part of the hat is pretty certainly made from a bamboo, in Thai it is called “ตอกไม้ไผ่” but it could be from various species of bamboos.

This and the remaining 14 items plus solutions are listed below, and the photos reproduced and labelled, how did you do?

Dr M says: Remember, in most cases there is more than one possible solution and not necessarily any ultimate “right answer” that is part of the nature, charm and intrigue of extreme botany!

  1. Hat made (probably) of palm leaves (Corypha lecomtei – Arecaceae) and bamboo (Poaceae)
  2. Dry fruits known as achenes (Polygonaceae, Rumex sanguineus)
  3. Dry fruits, known as mericarps (Apiaceae, Heracleum sphondylium)
  4. Node (joint) from flowering stem of grass, Poaceae (Elytrigia atherica) – “sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses have nodes right down to the ground!”
  5. Cranesbill fruiting head of Geraniaceae (Geranium)
  6. Dry fruit, containing the seed (the caryopsis), of a grass (Poaceae, Anisantha sterilis)
  7. Stipules of Rosa sp. (Rosaceae)
  8. Pappus seed head of Asteraceae (Erigeron acris)
  9. Conifer cone (Pinaceae, Cedrus atlantica)
  10. Palmate leaf (Rutaceae, Choisiya ternata)
  11. Fruiting flower head of Juncus sp (Juncaceae) NB 3+3 tepals
  12. Sheathing stipules – ochrea – of Polygonaceae (Persicaria)
  13. Dehisced (split) pods of Fabaceae (Lathyrus pratensis)
  14. Dry flattened fruit of Brassicaceae (Lunaria annua)
  15. Involucral bracts – phyllaries – of Asteraceae (Centaurea sp.)



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