Category Archives: Americas

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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Horse tales: all about Equisetum myriochaetum

This gallery contains 3 photos.

What’s named after a horse, older than a horse and can keep you warm in winter? So-called because of their bristly appearance, the horsetails are an intriguing group of early plants that have existed since the Devonian period [1]. Fossil … Continue reading

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Persea americana: Anachronistic Avocado

If you’ve ever bought an avocado, you’ll know it’s one of those fruits which seems to take forever to ripen. Botanically, the fruit of the avocado is actually a berry with a single (very large) seed. Both of these facts are connected to an interesting evolutionary relationship….   … Continue reading

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A natural Frankestein: the orchid hybrid, Epidendrum x obrienianum

Humankind has always dreamed of chimeras, the Frankenstein´s monster or flying pigs. All this can actually happen in the plant world!! (although they cannot still fly). Many orchid growers have produced astonishing plants that can fascinate the human eye and … Continue reading

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Pinguicula laueana – a clever little brute in a pretty scarlet-red suit

Although this plant looks quite innocent and harmless with gorgeous red flowers and small, compact leaved rosettes, it ‘eats’ with great appetite little insects using unique, highly sophisticated and efficient traps. Together with the genera Genlisea and Utricularia, Pinguicula belongs … Continue reading

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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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The world’s most wonderful weed?

During one of my first days of study for a masters degree in Plant Diversity at Reading University, we visited the Tropical Biodiversity Greenhouse. A pungent odour from a very brightly coloured plant came straight to my nose! The plant … Continue reading

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