One of the roles of the University of Reading Herbarium (RNG) is to support the activitites of research students, by providing material, which may be sampled under supervision. While Sue Mott (RNG Deputy Curator) was looking for a specimen for Widad Aljuhani, who is conducting PhD research on developing molecular tools for identification of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars, she came across this slightly unusual specimen in the North African date palm folder (pictured below). One of the aspects of Widad’s project is to include date palm cultivars from other countries, to look for similarities at the molecular level.
This lovely camel was collected some twenty years ago by former RNG curator, Dr Stephen Jury whilst collecting in Morocco with B. Tahiri and T. Upson. It is a splendid example of applied use of date palm leaf material. It looks to have been purchased from a local entrepreneur (small boy) outside the hotel after a hard day of collecting in the field.