This week’s plant of the week is the Lathraea clandestina (Purple Toothwort), it is a remarkable spring flowerer in that it does not photosynthesise. Instead, its rhizomes (creeping root stalks) find their way to the roots of a host, most commonly a tree, and leech nutrients off it. The flower may be mistaken for a crocus at first. The colour matches and the flowering time is not far off. However, there are no visible stems or leaves at all. The petals are irregular and form a kind of knight’s helmet shape, not unlike aconites or members of the fabaceae (pea) family. Its main pollinators are early bumble bees and its nectar is alkaline, perhaps in an attempt to deter ground-dwellers from stealing it. If you want Lathraea clandestina in your garden, you may need lots of patience. Some sources say it can take up to 10 years to establish. #plantoftheweek #studyhorticulture
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Don’t forget that the clocks SPRING forward 1 hour at 1am tonight!
Will you be taking part in Earth Hour tonight? It’s been the hottest year on record for the third year in a row and nearly one in six species are now at risk of extinction from climate change. Switch off your lights at 8.30pm tonight for one hour to show that you care about the future of our planet.
The Level 4 FdSc Agriculture students have been analysing the results of the plant trials they designed and carried out for their Plant and Soil Science Module this week. The trials ranged from investigating oilseed rate establishment in different levels of soil compaction to assessing how different types of manure (cow, chicken and horse) effect grass growth. Their results will be presented in their final assessment and some of them have identified what types of trials they may wish to carry out for next year’s Personal Research Project.
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