Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

More likely than at Christmas

This is our garden before it became trampled with excited foot prints:

Labels: ,

Can you all see your ovaries? (Or the 28 steps).

I was tempted to look about the room with a stupid grin on my face when we were asked this question yesterday, but it simply wasn't the time or the place.

We were all serious students and, to be honest, botanical terms are rife with possible misinterpretations to such an extent that we would have spent the whole session smirking and nudging each other in the ribs to the exclusion of all else if we had succumbed to such schoolboy humour.

To let you into the secret, this was day one of my plant identification course. I had been looking forward to this since I booked last autumn. We are being taught how to use the big fat ID book: "The New Flora of the British Isles" by Clive Stace. The book is successor to Clapham and Tutin and Warburg, which I was scared by when I was a younger person than I am now. I think the trick to using this definitive key to the wild flowers of Britain is to have a very big botanical vocabulary, so I am busy expanding mine ready for the next lesson.

We have six three-hour lessons, one a month on Saturday mornings. There is a wide variety of students - surprisingly - I thought they would all be old ladies. Our homework is to practise "keying out" a plant and I had a go today on a pulmonaria, as I already knew what it was so I could check to see if I was going wrong.

Hey! Guess what! I actually got it right. I had to go through,I think, ooh at least 28 steps to arrive at Pulmonaria officinalis, and only needed to cheat a bit at the last couple of steps to name the sub-species. I've committed to memory, hopefully, some new botanical words including: glabrous, glaucous, pubescent, appressed, cyme, nutlet, included and exserted.

Labels: ,