Category Archives: Countries

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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Visitors from Talfourd Avenue go Tropical

On Saturday the 15th of March the Tropical Biodiversity Glasshouse project had the pleasure of hosting families from the Talfourd Avenue group. They kindly agreed to come test our new (and hopefully improved) glasshouse tour, which was designed and created … 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

Posted in Carnivorous Plants, Learning and Teaching, Low Nutrient Environments, Mexico, Neotropics, People, Species, Students | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Curcuma longa : Folklore or Medical Marvel?

Records dating as far back as 600BC note that turmeric can cure anything from a sore throat to cancer. But are these just old wives’ tales or is turmeric as medically useful as they claim..?

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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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Pinguicula gigantea – natural pest control

The butterworts, known botanically as Pinguicula, are a varied and widespread genus.  British botanists are used to seeing two species growing in very wet areas however in Mexico many of the butterworts grow in seasonally arid places and have thick … Continue reading

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Ginger ( Zingiber officinale Rosc.): Aromatic Spice and Medicinal Herb.

  In the cold, wet, dreary days of a British winter, a warming spice from a tropical country may be just the thing to lift the spirits. Valued both as a spice and as a medicinal herb in India and … 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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