Asteraceae part 2 and the usefulness to us!

The post on Asteraceae of 8th June this year went through the entire classification and might have been a little tedious for you?

However, I do hope you find it fascinating like myself how classification does make sense, especially in large families such as the Composites. It neatly groups similar looking plants together and when these plants ‘look similar’ they most likely also have the same properties and uses. This week we come to the part important for us as people. Of course weeds or native plants as I like to call them, are ALWAYS useful in any habitat situation, soil and indeed for other living creatures apart from ourselves.

When we pull out the dandelion or ragwort we are taking away a valuable food source for multiples of creatures. Is it really worth that?

In the following few blogs about this family I once again will copy a lot of interesting information from‘The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe’ by J. Barker. It is just too good for information not to note down. Please get a copy for yourself as you won’t regret it! As Medicine is a science like Botany or Horticulture it also has a lot of specialist scientific wording which is difficult to understand, even for myself! I will therefore include many links for the Actions and Uses of the plants mentioned this time for you to research this further. Many interesting facts of these plants can also be found following the links within the plant names.

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Bagnall’s Herbarium at Birmingham Botanical Collections

An example of Herbarium book with Japanese plants, Siebold collection Leiden, 1825
By P. F. Siebold – Sieboldcollectie Naturalis, Public Domain and thanks to Wikipedia

Hello dear Readers!

The Tuesdays of last few month I’ve been busy with research in Birmingham’s Museum Warehouses. I’ve been looking at the vast amount of dried specimen plants of one of the 6 or so Herbariums they have stored in there.

Why I wanted to research Bagnall’s Herbarium in particular was because of the many local native plants he collected as well as the many plants from Sutton Park. This is a national important nature reserve and SSSI. More about this later!

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Chapter 1: Some difficult terms explained in the world of Botany and Ethnobotany.

As I wrote in a recent blog, I would like to re edit most of the last year’s blogs as we now have the Gutenberg editing and this makes the blogs more beautiful and pleasant to read!

As in any science there are some difficult words and terms used of which I would like to explain some this week. If not explained you will often find a link on the ‘difficult’ word which will guide you to an explanatory page.

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Asteraceae part 1

Yarrow and Ragwort are 2 different members of the large ‘Aster’ family – All images are with thanks from Matt Summers

Today and in several future blogs I will be talking about members of the Asteraceae. This was called the Compositae for a very long time, which I think is a lot more descriptive about this largest dicotyledon family on Earth!

There is a lot to say about this family as you can imagine!

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 Scientific Classification of our Native plants

In my blogs, you may have noticed that I write about native plants and mostly refer to their latin names as well as the family in which they fit. The reason is that I do not wish to make it just another piece concerning the uses of native plants, but one where I would like to place them into a Binomial nomenclature, a system which is essential for the idea of order in my ‘virtual ethnobotanical garden’!

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