Cover pictures: A Video Blog about inserts and roses

Dog rose, Rosa canina, used on an Annals of Botany cover
Dog rose, Rosa canina, used on an Annals of Botany cover

I am discussing the cover images in Annals of Botany in my first video blog today. Each year, we have a large image in the background, and the three videos in this series will discuss the species in these images, where they were taken and why we used them. I have chosen a species that is particularly interesting to the region where the plant grows, ranging from rarer and threatened species, a crop with disease stress challenges, to a shrub in an important tropical savanna region and a species with cultural importance. In the first of the series, I am showing a range of the inset images used on the covers as well, to feature papers in a particular issue.

See the Video Blog here:

http://youtu.be/JGg88OhwrwI Please use the 1080p resolution selection if you have a fast internet connection.

The first video blog shows a rose from an SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest – in Cambridgeshire in the East of England. Barnack Hills and Holes is an area of grassland on Jurrasic limestone, and is actually a disused quarry, but not from recent years. It provided stone since the Roman times, including for building Peterborough Cathedral. This has left the areas as a rolling, hummocky area, with several quite rare plants including no less than eight species orchids – studied from this site by another Annals of Botany editor, Mike Fay at Kew. Other notable plants are the parasitic Knapweed Broomrape Orobanche elatior, and, actually my first choice for the cover, the Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris from the Ranunculaceae and sometimes classified in the genus Anenome. These pictures were taken at the end of May, rather late in the season. Photographically, though, there are a number of constraints for the main cover image. The resolution and printing screen for a glossy cover printed as something larger than A4 is amazingly high, and strains digital cameras – unfortunately your Editor neither has the funds to purchase a Nikon D3 (or even the rumoured D4) camera and lens, nor the muscles and baggage capacity to carry it around. The cover picture is masked and placed onto a generic green dappled forest-floor background. Altogether, the resolution requirements and the hairiness of the Pasque flower meant it was not suitable for the cover, and we changed to a dog rose, Rosa caninin, growing very widely throughout England and Wales, for the final cover.