Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Getting to know the taxonomic classification's of plants...

Second day at RBGE.

Arrived at RBGE at 9am, traffic was bad on the way through, I parked at John Lewis again and stormed down the hill accordingly. I was slightly late but it was no big deal, I fobbed my way in and got to Lecture room 2 quickly. Michael wasn't here today.

There were flowers and plants spread across the front desk, and Catherine chatted to us about the programme for the day. Phytology lecture with Greg and then to the Herbarium to see Kate Eden. She also wanted to fit in a trip to see the graduate show work.

Greg arrived and took us through the taxonomic classifications of plants, the binomial names and why those sorts of classifications were so important. Identification through the tags, and how we were to read the tags in the gardens.

Flowers gather together to form mega-flowers. So, when you're holding a flower, you're actually holding a number of flowers.

Greg then took us on a stomp around the garden. Some trees are female or male, some change their sex throughout their lives, and then some trees are both male and female.

Only cultivated plants form mutations, such as this contortion on a hazel.

Learning to tell the difference between plants is key in the field, to tell the difference between an ash and a rowan - two very similar trees, there is one key difference. The rowan has small wings around the base of the leaf. The leaves on rowan's and ash, are one leaf with several leaflets.

Greg took us through the Heath garden, he is really great to learn from, as he's so excited about all the plants and the gardens. We were the perfect class, "smell this", "smells like plant" - obviously we still have a lot to learn.

After lunch we went to the Herbarium, where Kate Eden showed us how to mount specimens properly, also details about how to make spirit collections and dried boxed specimens.

The Herbarium.

How to mount specimens.

How to make spirit collections.

Boxing dried larger specimens, that aren't suitable for spirit collections or mounting.

At the end of the day we went to see the graduate display, distinction projects from last years grads and innovative herbal journals, pharamcopias and herbariums.

We received our first two assessments. A herbarium, 12 mounted specimens and 1 spirit collection, and our herbal journal - this is my version at the moment but I'll eventually move it into a book form, but for now... blogging its easier!

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