Category Archives: Botany

A Life in Footnotes

I mentioned some time ago that I was going to investigate (at my usual superficial level, naturally) the life and career of the physician Francesco Travagino (sometimes Travagini), who appears to have taken advantage of a space on somebody else’s … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: April 2019

Which came first, fritillary as the name of a plant (Fritillaria meleagris, the snake’s-head fritillary, also known as chess-flower, Lazarus-bell, leper-lily, frog-cup, or drooping tulip), or fritillary as the name of a butterfly? It seems that the plant has priority, … Continue reading

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The Vernal Equinox

‘The vernal equinox has come too soon’ is, Him Indoors assures me, the opening line of a welcome ode written to celebrate the visit of Her Majesty The Queen to his school at some point in the 1960s. I have … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: March 2019

May I strongly recommend the new exhibition in the Fan Gallery at the Fitzwilliam Museum (it’s on until January 2020, so you have plenty of time)? It is a selection of the fan collection of the Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, given … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: March 2019

As I have mentioned in passing before, the botanist Pierre Magnol (1638–1715) was born in Montpellier, and spent most of his life there. His father and grandfather were apothecaries, and his mother’s male relatives were physicians. His older brother César … Continue reading

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Ruskin at Two Hundred

To London last week for a few days of Culture. I decided to go down the night before my first assignation, rather than turn up at Two Temple Place (which does not have cloakroom facilities) with two stuffed gorillas and … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: February 2019

I had always thought that Garrya elliptica, usually at its most spectacular at this time of year, was an Australian plant. I have no idea why … In fact, it comes from a quite restricted strip of coastal western America, … Continue reading

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