Category Archives: Africa

Amorphophallus konjac: Can You Resist the Lure of the Devil’s Tongue?

You are probably familiar with Amorphophallus titanum, the titan arum, which has the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, but do you know about its smaller, red tongued sibling Amorphophallus konjac? Family Description A. konjac is a member of the … Continue reading

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The Nigerian Field Society

On Saturday 4th July we welcomed the Nigerian Field Society UK branch to the Tropical Glasshouse.  This was an especially interesting visit for me because many of the visitors had far more experience of tropical biodiversity, and particularly tropical botany … Continue reading

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You’re a botanist, what’s this then? (Or Tradescantia spathacea, this one’s for you mum!)

That sentence may sound familiar to many of you who frequent this blog (followed closely by “Botany, so you’re a gardener then?” but we won’t go in to that). Being asked about the identity of a random plant that mysteriously … Continue reading

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More on bananas

We grow two types of banana in the tropical glasshouse, the pink, seed containing, Musa dasycarpa, and the much larger edible banana with small yellow seedless fruit for which we do not know the cultivar.

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Catharanthus roseus – Cancer fighting

Catharanthus  roseus – Madagascar Periwinkle The plant has been called a miracle in the prevention of childhood leukemia and cancer treatment.  To protect Madagascar periwinkle is to protect the future of your children in the opinion of many.  It has … Continue reading

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Aframomum melegueta (Grains of paradise) is not Alligator pepper part 2

This gallery contains 7 photos.

 “I put a few between my teeth and crunched. They cracked like coriander releasing a billowing aroma, and then a slowly intensifying heat, like pepper at the back of my mouth. The taste changes in a second. The heat lingered. … Continue reading

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Rhipping yarns about Rhipsalis baccifera

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Aframomum melegueta (Grains of paradise) is not Alligator pepper

This gallery contains 4 photos.

A lot has been written about Aframomum melegueta and it has been said to be the scientific name for both Alligator pepper and Grains of Paradise.  However, the two are completely different species of Aframomum. Let’s know a little about A. … Continue reading

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Asplenium nidus

Asplenium nidus : The bird’s nest fern      Commonly known as a bird’s nest fern,  Asplenium nidus has many names. For instance, in Malaysia it is called: Rumah Langsuyar, in the Philippines: Pakpak-lauin and in China: Tai wan shan su hua. There are also many … Continue reading

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Starfruit: food, healer, domestic cleaner and much more

Averrhoa carambola L., the starfruit is one of those strange and unique products that come from the east of Asia, with its funny shape and curious flavours, which you can love or hate, it is beggining to appear broadly in … Continue reading

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