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  • Image: Peter Woodard/Wikimedia Commons.

    Bloody royal French gourd debunked

    One of the most unusual plant-based items that has come to my notice recently is this rather ‘quirky’ item that sheds a forensic botany light on an episode of ‘regicide à la française’ when King Louis XVI had an unfortunate appointment with Madame la Guillotine. Big issues of whether mere mortals have the right to execute […] More

  • Saffron, Crocus sativus and origin label
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    Crocus, saffron-omics and the highest value crop

    Saffron, the stigma of Crocus sativus, is the highest priced agricultural product (often €/$25 or £15 per gram) and a good example of a profitable crop with sustainability, cultural and social values, and high labour demand. I have been discussing –omics studies of the crop – the DNA, RNA, metabolites and secondary products – at […] More

  • Image: Ricardo André Frantz/Wikimedia Commons.

    CSI Evidential Botanicals, Episode 2: CSI Amphorae

    Taking the whole evidence-gathering issue back many hundreds of years now to an age before cookery books (cookery, a TV-obsession in the UK…). Amongst their other interesting findings, Brendan Foley et al. (Journal of Archaeological Science) bust the widespread myth that Greek amphorae were just ancient wine carriers (or urn-like containers to transport olive oil). […] More

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    Faces of Plant Cell Biology: A series on from Anne Osterrieder

    Anne Osterrieder has a new series on her blog called Faces of plant cell biologists, where we are asked a series of questions. So far, it has featured Charlotte Carroll (also an guest author here), Chris Hawes and Kentaro Tamura, who all answer Anne’s questions is surprisingly contrasting but  complementary ways. Today, I have been […] More