Bioluminescent plants, giant Hometrees and plant communication might seem like science fiction, but you might not have to travel from one star system to another to experience the joys of Pandora.
Recently on the blog, we looked at English bluebells, so this week it seemed only fitting to move on to American bluebells. With an incredibly long history in a variety of cultures, Columbine is a treasured flower in the wild and in gardens. Its shape teaches an important lesson about evolution, and its symbolism has conflicting naughty and nice origins.
In 2017, I was invited back to my secondary school as a guest speaker for an annual diversity and inclusivity event. This speech was a milestone in my career as a plant scientist and I am excited to share it with you.
English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are enchanting flowers, they grow in ancient woodlands all over the UK and are often associated with magic and fairies. This flower is very close to my heart and an iconic symbol of the English countryside that's steeped in folklore and ancient mythology.
What started out as a morning scroll on Twitter, turned into a productive little experiment. Researching Camellia japonica, I realised I could not only make tea from my plant, but I could do it in less than a day and with minimal effort - ideal!
If you're taking a walk through the woods, instead of admiring the majesty of the tree canopy, take a look at the meek, ground-dwellers below. Among them, you may come across the common dog violet (Viola riviniana). Flowering from April to June, this wonderful little plant is of great ecological importance.
When you ask a child to draw a flower, a simple yellow circle, surrounded by ovate petals is usually the result. Daisies (Bellis perennis) are what most would consider to be a typical flower. However, I hope that in the next few paragraphs I can convince you that daisies are anything but common within the world of flowers. Plot twist: daisies are not even flowers at all.