Category Archives: Australia

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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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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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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Cannaceae is one of the monocot families that is easy to recognize. this family is represented by one genus, which is Canna, and 10 species. This family is one of the plants with a long history of human cultivation. Records that go back to … Continue reading

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Dracaenaceae: Dragon’s Blood and the language of the birds …

Dracaenaceae Salisb., Gen. Pl: 73 (1866), nom. cons. The family Dracaenaceae has a complex, fascinating history, of great interest will be to see how it unfolds.  It is the family of Dragon Trees, of one, two or three genera and … Continue reading

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A look into the Carnivorous world- Nepenthaceae

“The pitchers of Nepenthes possesses extraordinary power of digestion” … “The fact that a plant should secrete, when properly excited, a fluid containing an acid and ferment, closely analogous to the digestive fluid of an animal, was certainly a remarkable … Continue reading

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Ipomoea batatas – Sweet Potato or When is a potato not a potato?

Many of you will be familiar with the knobbly, red-skinned, orange-fleshed, vegetable known as sweet potato but you might be surprised to learn that it is more closely related to the parasitic thread-like dodders than it is to our familiar … Continue reading

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Cyathea medullaris – Mamaku or Black Tree Fern

This native of New Zealand and adjacent islands grows to  20 m tall with fronds up to 6m long.  It’s name seems to link to the very dark appearance of the trunk caused by dark brown/black scales cover it and … Continue reading

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Cyathea brownii – Norfolk Island Tree Fern

This is reputed to be the fastest growing tree fern and can reach a height of More than 20 metres in its native Norfolk Island. In the wild the species has lost much of its native habitat And only about … Continue reading

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Water Lettuce

A member of the Araceae, Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is a problem floating plant of tropical waterways.  The native origin and spread of the species is not known but it has been recorded in both the New and Old World … Continue reading

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