Author Archives: Alastair Culham

About Alastair Culham

A professional botanist and biologist with an interest in promoting biological knowledge and awareness to all.

Welcome Richard Higgins, our latest BSc researcher in Tropical Biodiversity

A new round of BSc research projects have just started for 2014/15 academic year.  Richard Higgins will be working with Paul Hatcher and Alastair Culham on the monitoring and management of Mealy bug in the tropical glasshouse. 

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MERL Village Fete

The Museum of English Rural Life held its annual Village Fete  on Saturday 31st May. The Herbarium was represented in the form of a tropical food plants display showing some of the plants we grow in our tropical glasshouse. The … Continue reading

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Highwood Primary School discovers roots, stems and leaves

Standing amongst the dense foliage of  large exotic plants with the smells of damp earth and fragrant leaves around me, the sun cooking the air, I tried to explain to a group of pupils from Highwood Primary School why plants … 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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Tropical fruit in flower – Pineapple and Banana

Slightly over one year from planting out our Dwarf Cavendish banana is now in full bloom and the female flowers are already beginning to develop their distinct bunches of fruit.  You can see the plant as it looked in September … Continue reading

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Reading in Bloom Schools Challenge 2013

On Wednesday 16th October the results of the Reading in Bloom Schools Challenge were announced at a ceremony hosted by the University of Reading.  Eight of the ten winning schools attended a meeting that started with a tour of our … Continue reading

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MSc Plant Diversity 2013 – Welcome

The 2013 MSc Plant Diversity intake arrived on Wednesday to a busy session of induction, safety talks and the formative plant ID test.  The students were given 30 numbered plants to identify to family (plus genus and species if they … Continue reading

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Cryptolaemus, Certis and Cotton-wool

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The tropical biodiversity greenhouse has had a year to settle down now and the plant growth has been amazing.  Species that had never grown more than a metre or two high are now double their previous size and several have … Continue reading

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One year since planting

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While it’s impossible to give a single date for the planing of the tropical greenhouse the bulk of the work was done in August 2012.  Photographs taken last August show small plants and some empty beds awaiting planting.  Photos taken … Continue reading

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