Category Archives: Species

The bitter sweet story of sugar cane Saccharum officinarum

The dramatic story of sugar cane is a somber reminder of human greed, exploitation and slave labour. The events continue to unfold today, as sugar cane is implicated in contentious issues such as human health, addiction and fair trade. However, … 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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Ludisia discolor, the foliage plant orchid

Ludisia discolor really is an orchid, although if you see it with no flowers, or without a label, you could be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t. Assuming it isn’t an orchid is very understandable, as it grows in soil, unlike … 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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Adiantum capillus-veneris

Adiantum Capillus-veneris (Maidenhair fern) Capillus- veneris  means hair of Venus, the goddess of love named by ancient Greeks because it has stunning fronds, ʻcapillus’ means “hair” and ʻvenerisʼ comes from Venus. [1]

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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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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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Rabbit-Foot Fern

Dr. Percival Lowell, in one of his books, (Mars as the Abode of Life), tells us that, “When the earth was young and still so warm that it was continually enveloped in a thick blanket of steam-warmer everywhere than at … Continue reading

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