Weeds encountered in Tropical countries

This is a one off blog about some weeds found in tropical countries. Most of those are actually exotics from other tropical climates which originally may have been introduced as an ornamental, just as in our own temperate world!

But you will be surprised that their are also temperate plants which can become weeds in the tropics!

My blog now got a big brother in the form of a short video each week about ten popular, or not so popular weeds! Watch the video below.

The videos are created by my friend:

BrownPolar For PlantCentre ‘good is green’™

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The Fabaceae or Pea family

The Common Gorse or Ulex europaeus is a familiar plant in the Legume family! (All pictures unless mentioned otherwise are by Matt Summers)

What is now called The Fabaceae, was long known as Leguminosae and commonly these are known as the legume, pea, or bean family.

This is a large and economically important family in the world. It includes trees, shrubs, and perennial or annual herbaceous plants, which are easily recognized by their fruit (legume) and/or their compound, stipulate leaves.

It is not as big in Britain but an interesting and useful family all the same! Credits are due once again to Stace‘s Flora, J. Barker’s Medicinal Flora, Plantlife and Wikipedia for most information.

In case there are any medical uses stated with the plants mentioned below, please take sensible advise from a qualified herbalist.

If you would like to learn a bit more about the classification of this large family I can recommend Britannica.com webpage

The background colour of the text indicate green for positive news and pink for negative news… In bold for quick reading and any other colour then green and pink used is to make it more pretty! Links are provided on medical or other difficult words.

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The Useful Betulaceae!

Showing the very recognizable stems of our native Silver Birch.
The very recognizable stems of the Silver Birch at Cannock Chase

After all the native, short, flowering plants, this time a blog on the native, tall, woody trees called Betulaceae, which includes the main genus, Betula or Birch but also our native Alder, Hornbeam and Hazel belong in this family.

The Betulaceae or Birch Family is number 59 in Stace and has 3 straight native species of Birch as well as several hybrids, subspecies and introduced, ornamental varieties.

The birch is a typical pioneer, which means it can colonize new land very rapidly in the right conditions and can therefore be seen as a weed by some who wouldn’t like them to do this!

But most of us can agree that the Birch tree is very beautiful and hoping for you to learn in the following text that it is also a very useful tree as are its cousins, Alder, Hornbeam and Hazel about which I will tell you more in the second part!

A green background of the text is for all uses and pink is for medicinal uses. Blue background for ecological interest. Pictures by Matt Summers unless stated

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The more common natives of the Daisy family and their medicinal and other uses! (part 3)

The humble daisy! (Picture by AnRo0002 – Own work; Wikipedia)

In my last blog I introduced you to the Asteraceae or the Daisy family. The first post was all about the classification of this large family.

Today I will list some of the commonly known ones in our temperate climate.

As I’ve already included pictures in the general blog on Asteraceae back in the summer I will only include links on both of the plant names so you will be able to read more about each plant on other useful websites.

I will also colour code the blocks on the colour of the flower. Hope you will find that useful as well as pretty! Most uses are medicinal. Plants used as an ornamental or other uses are backed by a green colour!

Most of the below information is from the Medicinal Flora by Julian Barker.

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Asteraceae and some scientific background (part 2)

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.  Please get a copy for yourself as you won’t regret it!

Here are links to all the different posts on Asteraceae:

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  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 from Siebold’s collection in Leiden, 1825
By P. F. Siebold – Sieboldcollectie Naturalis, Public Domain and thanks to Wikipedia

Hello dear Readers!

The Tuesdays of the last few months 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 Bagnall himself 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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Wonderful Weeds Weekly about: Weeds and Lawns

I found the information below interesting as many of my customers find weeds in their lawn unbearable.

They like a weed and moss-free, stripy cut lawn.

Well, this is quite an art in itself as I found out on this nice website: How to Create a Spectacularly Striped Lawn or Grass Pattern by Tim Stephens

A stripey lawn at Hodnet Hall Gardens (Picture by Matt Summers)

But to create this is a very high input and costly affair as it will need lots of maintenance with feed + weed-killers and watering in dry years!

Is this all worth it?

Maybe there is a market for a stripy astro turf!

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The Wonderful Weed Weekly Blog

To talk kindly about the weeds in my weekly blog, we first need to identify those weeds of which many people despise…!

I found the RHS website very useful please see here as well as how to tackle them.

I don’t really want to repeat what this brilliant website says, as my weekly blog wants to highlight the positive things about those weeds!

Weeds are also just being ‘themselves’; one of the many native plants of these Isles! They grow in soil and habitat in which they naturally like to grow in and often we are actually helping them greatly by providing a pleasant environment to thrive even more!

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LOVE YOUR WEEDS!

In the last blog I explained some scientific terms which you will find throughout my blogs. This time I explain a little more why I want to start a blog all about Ethnobotany and our native plants..

The more I work with all kinds of plants, in my daily life and work, the more I appreciate them, and this even includes ‘WEEDS’, or our native plants as I prefer to call them; or even wild flowers as many are pretty as well as useful…. Or ‘PRETTY USEFUL’!!

Crambe maritima or Sea kale looking stunning in its native habitat!


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

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.

Continue reading “Chapter 1: Some difficult terms explained in the world of Botany, Ethnobotany and even Horticulture.”