The latest arrivals to the tropical greenhouse are a set of Pinguicula species originating in Mexico and some hybrids and cultivars derived from them. These add to the plants of Pinguicula laueana we have been growing there for the past 6 months. This kind donation from Dianne Riddiford of the Carnivorous Plant Society will allow some interesting new ideas to be taught. The Mexican Pinguicula species are a monophyletic group (all come from a single evolutionary origin) and have diversified in habitats that are not just unusual for Pinguicula but also for carnivorous plants in general. They are quite succulent and fleshy plants that form a tight rosette of overwintering leaves that can survive very dry conditions. Some have even been seen growing side by side with cacti. The weather in Southern Mexico, where these plants grow is warm throughout the year but the rainfall is highly seasonal.
Species: Pinguicula agnata, Pinguicula ehlersiae (Santa Catarina), Pinguicula ehlersiae (Ixmianilpan, Hidalgo, Mexico), Pinguicula esseriana, Pinguicula laueana, Pinguicula moranensis
Hybrids: Pinguicula laueana x P. emarginata, Pinguicula gigantea x P. moctezumae
Cultivar: Pinguicula ‘Aphrodite’
1800 Arrivals and refreshments (Guests are requested to enter the University via the Pepper Lane entrance and follow signs to car park 13. The entrance to the Harris Garden will be signposted.) Refreshments will be served upon arrival in the Harris Garden
Please see link for directions and car parking information.
1820 – Welcome and introduction to the University of Reading, Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor
1825 – Tours of the Harris Garden and Tropical greenhouse
The Tropical Biodiversity glasshouse
Guided tours of the Harris Garden and Tropical greenhouse, led by:
Giles Reynolds, Head of Grounds
Dr Alastair Culham, Curator, University of Reading Herbarium (RNG)
Each tour will be 40 minutes in length
1945 – University update and Q&A, Harborne Building
2030 – Approximate end time
If you have any questions or queries in advance of the event, please contact us on email@example.com or 0118 378 4313. If you need to make contact with us on the day of the event itself please call Ellie Gotay on 07595 088265.
This gallery contains 9 photos.
Commonly known as the scaly tree ferns, Cyatheaceae are a clade of ca. 600 plant species within a group of plants known as the monilophytes or ferns (Smith et al. 2006). All ferns are spore-bearing and share a highly distinctive … Continue reading
Following two terms worth of data gathering for my final year project I have got an idea of the diversity of pests and their rate of spread int he tropical greenhouse. Below are two figures with the compiled total counts of each different pest type on leaves and fruits/ stems; from August to November 2012.
Total counts of individual insects on the leaves of plants in the display
The purple bars or ‘other’ pests include Thrips, Scale insects, Spider mites, Fungus gnats and the aphid species; Aulacorthum solani. These pests were present in significantly lower numbers than ‘the top 3′ so have been grouped together. Continue reading
A group of six Zebra Danios (Danio rerio) have been living in the Tropical Greenhouse pond for several months. Two weeks ago we added some new waterlilies to the pond and top dressed their pots with coarse gravel. This seems to have provided the ideal breeding ground for our fish as we found young in the pond about one week later. Now, two weeks on, they have grown just about big enough to be photographed.
One of the young Zebra Danios that have appeared in the tropical pond. The red circle is around the fish!
The pond has a volume of around 2500litres and is filled with rainwater so our fish have plenty of space. It is also planted with a large papyrus, waterlilies, water lettuce, water hyacinth and water fern.
You can read more about this species on many web pages as it is a popular hobbyists fish. There is a lot of detail at Seriously Fish and a very detailed document on their housing in laboratories produced by the RSPCA. This fish is one of the select group of species for which it’s entire genome has been sequenced. You can find out about its classification and the huge range of common names at Catalogue of Life and in FishBase.
These fish form part of our IPM strategy as they eat mosquito eggs and larvae, preventing mosquitos breeding in the pond.
This blog was originally established to report on developments during our tropical glasshouse refurbishment, paid for by the Annual Fund, however it has proved popular and received a steady stream of readers. On 30th April 2013 we reached the 10-thousandth view of the blog so this seems an ideal opportunity to thank the many students involved in this project for their work, but particularly Justin (tireless earth moving), Sarah and Emily (design of signs), the MSc Plant Diversity classes of 2011-12 and 2012-13, my PhD group, generous donations of growing media from Seramis and Melcourt and the glasshouse staff who have adjusted to not being able to spray every time they see a pest.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) cultivation
Piperaceae is commonly known as the pepper family. The name Piperaceae comes from the Sanskrit ‘pippali’ which also gave rise to the Greek ‘peperi’, the Latin ‘piper’ and the English ‘pepper’. Originally this referred to Piper longum, the Indian long pepper. These days, the most well-known member of the family is Piper nigrum, the source of the spices black and white pepper (Purseglove). Don’t get confused with the sweet, chilli and cayenne peppers which are all species of Capsicum, a genus in the family Solanaceae. There is more on the economic and other uses of Piperaceae plants later on. Continue reading
Canna iridiflora showing its drooping inflorescences.
Cannaceae is one of the monocot families that is easy to recognize. this family is represented by one genus, which is Canna, and 10 species. This family is one of the plants with a long history of human cultivation. Records that go back to 2500 B.C in Peru show that the people then were using the rhizomes of Canna indica (Gade, D.W. 1966). Canna was also described in the writings of many botanists that came before of Linnaeus. it was in the list of many gardens under different names. Continue reading
Eichhornia crassipes (Water Hyacinth) has a relatively ambivalent place in freshwater habitats. It has become a serious invasive species in many countries, and is one of the world’s most noxious aquatic weeds (Patel, 2012), yet it has been found to have many important uses including the treatment of wastewater and the production of biogas, and is also widely cultivated as an aquatic ornamental plant. It has therefore understandably received a great deal of attention for both the magnitude of the problems it has caused and the promise it holds. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Americas, Asia, Compost, Neotropics, Pond, Water Plants
Tagged biofuel, Eichhornia crassipes, invasive, Pontederiaceae, Waste water treatment, water hyacinth
Lycopodiophyta have an important position in the history of plant life. The group was once a very diverse clade, which is well-documented with fossil records, but now has only a small number of extant members. Their history is longer than any other group of vascular plants. Once fast-growing trees that could grow to 30 metres, whose remains are now in the form of coal, Lycopodiophyta are a sister clade to all other vascular plants including ferns and seed plants. They have been evolving independently of other vascular plants for over 400 million years and in that time have evolved several convergent features like leaves, wood, trees and seed-like structures, making them extremely important in the understanding of plant evolution. Continue reading