Tag Archives: botany

Francesco Cupani

The Alpine House @CUBotanicgarden is pretty stunning at the moment, what with the cyclamen, autumn crocus and colchicums – do go and have a look! Among all the incredibly photogenic flowers, I came across Colchicum cupani, which compelled me finally … 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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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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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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William Turner, Naturalist

I have mentioned before Dr Richard Pulteney (1730–1801), the sole survivor of eleven children from an Old Anabaptist family near Loughborough, Leicestershire, who was apprenticed to an apothecary and then set up as an apothecary and surgeon in Leicester. After … Continue reading

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Doomed to Find a Premature Grave

These portentous words appear in the introduction to the 1834 English edition of Letters from India by the French natural historian Victor Jacquemont (1801–32), ‘Travelling Naturalist to the Museum of Natural History, Paris’. If his name is remembered now in … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: February 2018

‘In regard to plants, no one has treated this subject [natural selection] with more spirit and ability than W. Herbert, Dean of Manchester, evidently the result of his great horticultural knowledge.’ Charles Darwin, in On the Origin of Species I … Continue reading

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