Month: December 2018

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 11: What’s bacon doing in Advent Botany? — Culham Research Group

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By Claire Smith The almond (Prunus dulcis) has been grown in Britain since the 16th century, and almond paste quickly became a popular medium for making moulded desserts or sweetmeats. In the 17th century there seems to have been a bit of a trend for turning it into bacon! So how do you go about…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 11: What’s bacon doing in Advent Botany? — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 10: Christmas Palm — Culham Research Group

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The bright red fruit of Adonidia merrillii For me, stuck in the cold damp of a British winter, the idea of a Christmas palm gives me a bit of a wish I was there feeling. There is hardy Fan plam (Trachycarpus fortunei) and slightly less hardy Canary date palm (Phoenix canariensis) in gardens around me…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 10: Christmas Palm — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 9: Christmas Orchid or Star of Bethlehem — Culham Research Group

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Angraecum sesquipedale (Photo: snotch [CC BY 2.0])The wonderfully named Angraecum sesquipedale is also known as the Chritsmas orchid or Darwin’s orchid. It seems an appropriate plant to write about as it brings together a reminder of Christmas with the father of evolution, Charles Darwin, himself a Unitarian christian. It’s an orchid species native to Madagascar discovered…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 9: Christmas Orchid or Star of Bethlehem — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 8: the hyacinth — Culham Research Group

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I was sitting at my breakfast table this morning thinking ‘what plant should be next for #AdventBotany2018″? The rich smell of the blue hyacinth in front of me was filling the room when I had one of those ‘you idiot’ moments – er, have we done hyacinth yet? Hyacinths are grown both for their large…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 8: the hyacinth — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 7: Reindeer Games — Culham Research Group

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By Claire Smith We all know what to leave out for Father Christmas – a nice mince pie and a glass of sherry. Or maybe milk, if you don’t want Santa sozzled on his sleigh. But what about Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer? Magic Reindeer Food (Image © Personal Creations, licensed under CC BY-NC…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 7: Reindeer Games — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018 Day 6: Christmas Bells — Culham Research Group

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Christmas bells is the name for a colourful South African geophyte (plant with an underground storage organ), Sandersonia aurantiaca, due to the appearance of its bell shaped flowers appearing in December-January. Of course, if you grow this in the UK or North America it will flower mid-summer, so very much a southern hemisphere Christmas plant.…

via #AdventBotany 2018 Day 6: Christmas Bells — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 5 – Winterberry — Culham Research Group

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Europeans are familiar with the evergreen holly, Ilex aquifolium, that is used as a midwinter decoration because it is evergreen and shows the promise of new life and growth in the spring. It’s also prized for its red berries. However, not all Ilex species are evergreen, one of the midwinter decorations in North America is…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 5 – Winterberry — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany2018, Day 4: The Golden Bough — Culham Research Group

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By John David Not an obvious topic for Advent, but bear with me, the connection will become clear. The Golden Bough is most famously the title of a book written by Sir James Frazer and first published in two volumes in 1890 [complete text available – vol. 1, vol. 2], subtitled ‘A study in Magic…

via #AdventBotany2018, Day 4: The Golden Bough — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 3: The Pomander – a smorgasbord of Lamiaceae and Rutaceae with a pinch of Sperm Whale Poo — Culham Research Group

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by Fi Young As a child I remember my grandparents giving a pomander as a Christmas gift. Their pomander was made from an orange studded with cloves, and I don’t mean cloves of garlic unless you want to ward off vampires, but that’s another story! But is that all to the pomander? Well actually no!…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 3: The Pomander – a smorgasbord of Lamiaceae and Rutaceae with a pinch of Sperm Whale Poo — Culham Research Group

#AdventBotany 2018, Day 2: The homeless drupe – a look at the ‘precocious’ Prunus that US Marines won’t go near — Culham Research Group

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By Meg Cathcart-James What do Alexander the Great, Henry the VIII’s gardener and ancient China have in common? They all enjoyed apricots! Apricot fruit on the tree Although Alexander and the gardener are generally thought to have introduced the fruit to Greece and England respectively, their true home is still in dispute. Their Latin name,…

via #AdventBotany 2018, Day 2: The homeless drupe – a look at the ‘precocious’ Prunus that US Marines won’t go near — Culham Research Group