Flowering plants

As I will be leaving to study and do research in Austria tomorrow, I am going to have say goodbye to my plants. I plan to spread them around the family though so they should hopefully be well cared for. I did take some pictures recently when they were flowering and feel it’s worth sharing them.

I still have both the plants I got after my honours year and you can read more about them in my original post. The Delosperma echinatum hasn’t flowered much and I don’t have a new picture of it. I think that was because it got pushed off the window sill by my other pots and perhaps doesn’t get as much sun as it would like. The Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is still as sparkly as ever, though I don’t think anyone will be prepared to harvest the seeds every year. I do have some stored, however, and I’ll ask that it doesn’t get thrown away when it dies.

M. crystallinum flower

M. crystallinum flower

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Amazing plants

A lot of people think of plants as boring, if occasionally attractive, things that don’t do much worth talking about. As it turns out that’s wrong. It might not fit into the general view of plants but they do a lot more than just sit around. In this post I want to show you plants that eat animals, grow without soil, move (and move a lot faster than you might expect) and can survive incredibly harsh conditions. Continue reading

Field Trip: Acacia stricta

A. stricta

This past week I have been on a field trip up in the George/Sedgefield area. I was part of a small team studying and removing Acacia stricta (hop wattle) plants, which are alien to South Africa. Overall I’d consider the trip a success. We removed a population of almost 1 000 trees over two days, mapped a few other populations and delivered fliers detailing the Early Detection and Rapid Response programme and to help identify various aliens. Outside of our official duties we also bought a few plants of our own, I will share mine shortly, and had some unexpected vehicle problems. Continue reading

30 000-year-old plant grown again

Here’s a very interesting story. Russian scientists found frozen seeds of a plant from 30 000 (A thin space is the recommended format for dividing numbers. 30,000 would really imply 30 with three significant figures.) years ago and have been found and they have managed to grow them. I’m not quite ready to write a long piece (although I have two in mind but am not sure when I will have time to write them) so I’m leaving the explanation to the capable Jerry Coyne.

Re-potting my plants

A few days before the end of the year I re-potted some of my plants and planted some seeds for next year. In my pots I had Delosperma echinatum, a plant I had been working on for my honours degree.

D. echinatum

My project had intended to examine a possible gene duplication in the Ruschioideae, a highly-diverse subfamily of the Aizoaceae. Unfortunately, despite the project starting well, I was unable to answer the questions I had wanted to, although with more time I am sure I would have been able to as I worked through one of the blockages one or two days before we had to stop lab work. Continue reading