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    1st course: Seagrass ****

    What’s the one dietary fact everybody knows about sharks? Correct, they eat human beings – as graphically shown in the creature feature film sensation of 1975, the movie Jaws (and its various good, bad, and indifferent sequels…). As so-called apex predators, sharks are famously considered to be carnivorous, but, that’s not necessarily so. Samantha Leigh […] More

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    Food, glorious food! ***, ****

    Plants provide animals [and it is acknowledged that the following listing is somewhat human-biased] with many things: e.g. medicines; building materials; oxygen; useful chemicals (e.g. dyes such as madder, essential oils for aromatherapy, and the natural pesticide pyrethrin); fuel to heat our homes or move our motor cars; fibres (e.g. cotton and jute); ‘recreational’ drugs […] More

  • Dog admiring plant
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    Man’s best friend now plant’s best friend too?

    For thousands of years, dogs (domesticated descendants of wolves) have been considered to be man’s best friend. One of the ways that friendship has been manifested is the use of the dog’s highly-developed sense of smell to detect signs of disease in humans. Since this is usually possible long before any more obvious symptoms may […] More

  • The wavelengths and photon energies of X-rays
    in

    Hospital procedure harms patients…

    What would you think if you saw that as a headline? You’d rightly be concerned. After all, you’d assume it was about human patients and, being a human, you’d understandably want to be (re)assured that any procedure carried out on your body in a hospital is safe and not likely to cause you damage. Fear […] More

  • Paeonia lactiflora
    in

    A tiny silver bullet for cut flowers?

    The cut flower industry – wherein stems of intact growing flowering plants are removed, and transported from their place of growth to a place of purchase by a customer and ultimately displayed in a vase (“a container for holding flowers”) containing water – is big business*. In the UK in 2006 it was estimated to […] More

  • A poster with twelve flowers of different families.
    in

    Flowers (it’s what angiosperms are all about!)

    Although one shouldn’t, it is easy to accept that flowers (the defining feature of the angiosperms, the flowering plants) are ‘just there’ and get on with life in their quiet, seemingly unremarkable way. If one subscribed to that view, hardly any study of floral biology would be carried out, and we’d miss a lot of […] More

  • Discoveries in the Garden cover
    in

    Discovering Discoveries in the Garden

    Discoveries in the garden by James Nardi, 2018. University of Chicago Press. I must have reached some level of fame because a few weeks ago a copy of Discoveries in the Garden by James Nardi arrived in my pigeon hole at work. Although it contained no specific instructions as to what I was supposed to […] More

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