Orobanche hederae – Ivy Broomrape

My last blog was on the common broomrape, Orobanche minor, the only species I had seen on campus in the past few years.  Today I was excited to receive an email from Phöbe, one of the volunteer Friends of the Haris Garden and a very keen Cyclamen grower.  The email included this image of a broomrape growing under the wingnut trees in the Harris Garden.

Mystery Orobanche from the Harris Garden (c) Phöbe Friar 2016

Mystery Orobanche from the Harris Garden (c) Phöbe Friar 2016

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Orobanche minor on Whiteknights campus

Orobanche minor growing on Brachyglottis monroi

Orobanche minor growing on Brachyglottis monroi

Parasitic plants, particularly ones with large and colouful flowers, are always a cause of curiosity from the casual observer, and are generally uncommon enough to exite field botanists. For many years there were numerous flower spikes of Orobanche minor on the Brachyglottis ‘Sunshine’ plants in the Chemistry Department car park on Whiteknights campus.  However the Brachyglottis plants became moribund and were removed so I thought we had lost the Orobanche from the area.  Continue reading

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Flying Saucer Hunt

Last July we added White-letter hairstreak to the campus species list. It’s impossible to say whether it was a stray individual (revisiting my photograph it was a pretty beaten up specimen!) or part of a breeding colony on campus. It can persist in quite small colonies, often centred around a single tree as for the Sheffield colony mentioned in this recent Guardian article. The larvae usually start out feeding on flower buds, so white-letter hairstreak prefers more mature and therefore flowering elms. However, it has been recorded subsisting solely on younger growth.

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2015 powdery mildew species review

Alist of all powdery mildew species I have found in 2015 is now available on the Whiteknights biodiversity blog.

Please take a look.

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Enhancement Week

School of Biological Sciences students and staff alike enjoyed a veritable wildlife bonanza during week 6 ‘enhancement week’, with a range of sessions including bird ringing and moth trapping that served to demonstrate you don’t have to go far for a wildlife experience when you live and work on Whiteknights Campus.

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UK Fungus Day @UniofReading notes 3

xii(b)

xii(b)

I’m still working through numerous photos and trying to edit them – several of today’s blog batch are those our MSc Plant Diversity (#MScPlDiv) students tried to identify the next day.  Note that not all the names scribbled on the paper towel are correct. All of those look a bit wizened however there are also other fungi brought to the lab on Sunday and photographed on the day.  Thanks to Mike Harrison for correcting may IDs and supplying others. Continue reading

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UK Fungus Day @UniofReading notes 2

4a

Lepista flaccida – Tawny Funnel

Here is the second gallery of fungal finds from our UK fungus day activities.  A range of both small and crust-like fungi through to large boletes.  There are part of the morning collections and a few of the afternoon foray finds. Continue reading

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