Month: July 2013

A nice surprise

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A lovely object from the Botany stores; now in it’s rightful home!

A nice surprise.

Trees of the British Isles

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Hello! My name is Alyssa and I’m the placement student in the herbarium, I have been working here for this academic year as part of my degree. Ordinarily I am a Plant Science student at the University of Manchester, currently in my third year with my final year starting this September. As part of my degree, I get to spend my third year away from my studies at uni (not that far away in my case) in a work place applying knowledge and skills from the first two years of my degree. While at the herbarium I have produced an app for keying out common British trees.

Recently, I have noticed that a lot of people are disinterested in botany, and have no desire to learn about it. So I wanted to attempt to inspire people to learn more about the wonderful world of botany. And maybe, one day, become themselves a converted botany enthusiast! Hence my app… I realise that most of you will already be botanical enthusiasts, but the app might still teach you something new!

testing the app at a Big Saturday event

To make the app I used Bentham and Hooker’s Handbook of British Flora. George Bentham first published this key in 1858 with the aim to enable people with no prior botanical knowledge to “name the wild flowers they may gather on their country rambles”. It was Bentham’s most famous work, has been used by students for over a century, running into many editions. After Bentham’s death in 1884, it was edited by his younger colleague Joseph Dalton Hooker and became known as Bentham & Hooker. I have used the accompanying illustration book plus Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz, published 1885 by Prof. Otto Wilhelm Thomé, for the photos in the app. Most common and native British trees are covered in the app, so much fun can be had tree hunting with the help of this very handy app!

The app is available on the Google Play store under ‘Trees of the British Isles’. It is also available for Apple and Windows, but you need to visit the web address and save the page as a bookmark on your homescreen, once accessed online once it will work as an offline app.

Trees in the Leo Grindon collection

If you could be helpful to me and fill in my questionnaire that would be fabulous! Thank you to you all! Remember, trees are fun.

The app can be accessed here, with a link to the questionnaire in it.

Fibre drawers – before and after

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Our fibre drawers have wonderful specimens of linen, lace bark, and fibres from Agave and Banana plants, and others  – but they are stored in plastic bags which are dusty and often too large.



The task this morning, with Curatorial assistant Susan and Curatorial Trainee Claire, is to use the bag sealing machine to reduce the size of each plastic bag, hoover the drawers and the bags, and replace in taxonomic order.  The specimens had previously been documented by volunteer Audrey.

Hoovering a bagged fibre specimen:

hoovering bagged fibres