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#AdventBotany 2018, Day 14: Toyon Story — Culham Research Group

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By Andrew Doran1 and Dean Kelch2 1Curator of Cultivated Plants, University & Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley2Primary Botanist, California Department of Agriculture, Sacramento Native distribution of Heteromeles arbutifolia Can you grow holly in the balmy state of California? Yes, you can. Although common holly, Ilex aquifolium, comes from areas with higher rainfall than most…

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#AdventBotany 2018, Day 13: Three cheers for Christmas beers — Culham Research Group

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By Sophie Leguil Ask a panel of British people what they consider to be traditional Christmas drinks, and you will probably hear “gin”, “brandy”, “rum” or “Baileys”. Repeat the experience in Belgium, and you might get very different responses… Every year around mid-November, shop aisles in Belgium start filling with a special range of beers,…

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AdventBotany 2018, Day 12: the story of Amaryllis — Culham Research Group

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By Eirini Antonaki Today’s advent botany blog will focus on a popular seasonal ornamental, Amaryllis, with its vibrant colouration ranging from pink, to purple and occasionally red. Etymologically, the name Amaryllis (Αμαρυλλίς) is derived from ancient Greek verb ἀμαρύσσω which broadly translates as “I sparkle”. As we have seen in several past blogs, there are…

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#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…

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#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…

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#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