Pappus - August 3, 2014

Derived from the Greek word pappos, meaning ‘old man’ ….for obvious reasons. It is actually a modified calyx, which is attached to the fruit of the plant (e.g. Achene in Asteraceae). Key to understanding this feature is the fact

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Early flowering plants - March 26, 2014

I decided to visit Withdean Woods today as I needed to walk my dog and wanted to check out what early woodland flowers I could find popping up.

Firstly, I shall mention wild daffodil (Naricissus pseudonarcissus). This species … Read the rest

Sweet violet - March 23, 2014

March 20th heralded the first day of spring and what better way to spend it than travelling up to Devil’s Dyke with my little Phalène puppy to check out some of the early flowering plants of the chalk hills.… Read the rest

Ivy berries - February 22, 2014

Ivy belongs to the family Araliaceae, a family of flowering plants to include a diverse array of habitual form such as trees, shrubs and lianas. Within this family lies the genus Hedera, a small group of evergreen climbing plants found … Read the rest

Starling murmuration @Brighton Pier - January 20, 2014

This afternoon whilst walking my dog back from Brighton Marina, I was lucky enough to catch sight of a great spectacle seen around Brighton pier…the starling murmuration.

The starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) perform this aerobatic display of swooping, soaring … Read the rest

Flora maritima - October 6, 2013

I have recently started a new project based on an area of shingle beach nearby the Marina in Brighton, which attracted me due to its small patch of coastal vegetation growing there. Coastal vegetation is very new to me so … Read the rest

How to tell a dandelion from a smooth sow-thistle - June 10, 2013

So the only 2 species I got mixed up today whilst being tested on my smart targets were the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and smooth sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus). It seems silly that a species as common and well known as the … Read the rest

Hyacinthoides - May 19, 2013

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted on here as my life has been taken over by a project I’m currently working on for my internship. However this weekend I have spent back in Somerset where I grew … Read the rest

Red in wildflowers-Anthocyanin - April 11, 2013

The colour red appears quite often in angiosperms but in various shades. Think of all the pink, purple, red and blue flowers, the bright fruits and the deep shades of autumn leaves.

This is due to anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is a … Read the rest

Common woodland flowers: leaf ID - April 7, 2013

Here are some common woodland flowers I discovered today in Stanmer Park, Brighton. Unfortunately I could not find any in flower as we have had such cold weather, however I have included some important leaf ID tips. For help on … Read the rest

Buttercup family – Ranunculaceae (“a little frog”) - March 28, 2013

Key features of the family:

  • Alternate leaves (except woody Clematis)
  • No stipules
  • Leaves mostly palmately-lobed or divided
  • Flowers usually have 5 sepals and 5 petals
  • More or less common to all are the many stamens and carpels free from
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Creatures of change - March 7, 2013

Wherever you were on Tuesday 5th March, I’m sure you would agree that it was nothing short of a beautiful spring day. The first days of sunshine in spring are always the most appreciated after a long, bitter winter … Read the rest

A quick guide to identifying flowers by their leaves - March 4, 2013

At this time of year, with spring slowly emerging around us, it can sometimes be a time of slight frustration for ecologists living in our seasonal climate. They cannot wait until the full summer sun is shining on their skin, … Read the rest

The tortoise and the hare - February 21, 2013

There are not many places you will go and not encounter trees. Trees really are everywhere. Everybody recognizes their famous body plan of a thick stem, branching limbs and towering crown, often sketched out by people all over the world Read the rest

The flower of hope - February 13, 2013


Common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is one of the first flowers to carpet the floor in spring and it is for this reason it is deemed the flower of hope. These featured above were pictured just earlier today after … Read the rest

Island Junkie - January 3, 2013

A few weeks ago I received the fantastic news that the Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers (SNCV’s), had accepted me onto their ‘Biodiversity Graduate Training Programme’. Unlike everybody else who dismissed the opportunity as‘stupid’ or ‘crazy’, I was quite happy to … Read the rest

For old times’ sake: Tracking hedgehogs with the University of Brighton. - December 6, 2012

For the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to re-visit the University of Brighton where I undertook my undergraduate degree, to assist with a project on the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). A current student of … Read the rest

Inheritance: the meaning of life. - November 25, 2012

A lot of questions in ecology are to do with a species’ evolution, and evolution is distinctly concerned with the survival and reproduction of genes in their environment-be it an organism or a woodland. Although natural selection may refer to … Read the rest

Learning from the past - November 18, 2012

Throughout this blog, I shall often look into the past to help explain things going on in the present, and this article is intended as an introduction to this reasoning as well as some important facts that will make my … Read the rest