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Clare O’Reilly clare@ptyxis

Clare O’Reilly clare@ptyxis

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Clare O’Reilly clare@ptyxis

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  1. The Top British Plant Families Sue Townsend Biodiversity Learning Manager sue.t@field-studies-council.org Clare O’Reilly clare@ptyxis.com

  2. About 60-70% of flowering plants in Britain are in about 15 families. (there are over 140 families in the British flora 600+ worldwide!!) • So learning families can be short cut to using any key • There are some quick gains to learn on similarities & differences in some common plant families Facts………

  3. 12 easy to spot families which will cover most of what you need to raise confidence and get a bit of botanical know-how. • Excludes tree families ( as they are not my favourites – and family ID isn’t always the quickest route to trees!) Sue’s top 12

  4. Botanical Knowledge • There is a large diagram of a typical flower on your desk • There are some labels for it – have a go! • There are also some labels and annotations for a whole plant

  5. Regular or irregular flower? • Carpels free or fused? • Type of ovary? • Is it a grass?!! Basic Botany to get you started..

  6. ZYGOMORPHIC ACTINOMORPHIC REGULAR FLOWER With RADIAL SYMETRY IRREGULAR FLOWER With SYMETRY in one plane only Regular or irregular flowers?

  7. You have two plants in front of you Are they both regular?

  8. Carpels Free or FusedThere are two plants in front of you... • Remember 1 carpel = stigma, style plus ovary Tear them gently apart – find their carpels – are they fused?

  9. Are your ovaries inferior or superior?

  10. Ovaries Superior or Inferior?There are two plants in front of you... Find the stigma and trace them back to find the ovary – is it above where the petals join?

  11. Sue’s top 12 • Buttercup • Campion • Cabbage • Rose • Pea • Carrot • Deadnettle • Figwort • Campion • Daisy • Lily • Grass

  12. Many free petals & sepals (often tepals) stamens & carpels • Superior ovary • Fr achenes = single seeded dry indehiscent (unsplitting) fruit; or • Fr follicles = dry dehiscent with many seeds 1. Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

  13. Petals, sepals usually 5 (sometimes absent) • Stamens 5-10 • Superior ovary • Opposite lvs • Fr capsule 2. Caryophyllaceae (Campion family)

  14. 4 petals & sepals in ‘cross’ hence ‘crucifer’ • Stamens 4-6 • Superior ovary • Alternate lvs • Fr usually of 2 fused carpels 3. Brassicaceae (Cabbage family)

  15. Usually 5 free petals and sepals • Stamens 5 to many • Stipules usually present • Epicalyx often present • Trees, shrubs, herbs 4. Rosaceae (Rose family)

  16. 5. Fabaceae (Pea family) • Distinctive Irregular flower • Leaves often trifoliate – sometimes pinnate. • Varies in size eg Laburnum or vetch.

  17. 6. The Apiaceae (used to be called the umbelliferae) Very distinctive family with white or cream flowers held up on ‘umberellas’ ptyxis ecology clare@ptyxis.com

  18. Square stem • Opposite lvs • Irregular flower • Superior ovary forming 4 nutlets • Often aromatic 7. Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle family)

  19. Square stem • Opposite lvs or alternate lvs or both • Irregular flower • 2-part superior ovary forming capsule 8. Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family)

  20. 9. Asteraceae (Daisy family) • Composite flower • Made up of small florets held on a receptacle. • Opposite lvsor alternate lvsor both • Irregular flower • 2-part superior ovary forming capsule

  21. 10. Liliaceae (Lily family) • Usually parallel leaf veins • Regular flower • Flower parts in 3s or 6s, tepals only • Superior ovary (mostly)

  22. 11. Orchidaceae (Orchid family) • Usually parallel leaf veins • Irregular flower • Flower parts in 2 whorls – outer sepals and inner petals – one petal forming a distinct lip • Inferior ovary

  23. 12. Poaceae (Grass family) • Parallel leaf veins • Flower with glumes and lemmas • Distinctive features are ligules the way the stem is sheathed by the leaf and whether the leaf is folded or rolled when young.

  24. Plants as indicator species • Plants tell us something about their environment eg • Heather Acid soil • Creeping Buttercup Wet Ground • Tall Oat Grass Neglected • Yellowort Calcareous To find out more – you can use a scoring system developed by a German botany professor – the Ellenburg Values.

  25. Learning the families enables you to short-cut in the keys • There are lots you can find out by using plants as indicator species • They provide habitat/food/egg laying sites for literally hundreds of species • A little knowledge give some confidence in where to find out more • They are the base of our foodchains Final Thoughts

  26. Further Information http://www.ceh.ac.uk/products/publications/untitled.html Direct links for free download of Ellenburg values www.bsbi.org.uk www-saps.plantsci.cam.ac.uk/trees/index.htm Website with descriptions of the ecology of many UK species http://www.ecoflora.co.uk/

  27. FSC guides are good...........

  28. There are a series of fold-out charts for botany: • Describing flowers • Fruits and seed dispersal • Tree name trail • Commoner water plants • Guide to grassland plants 1 • Guide to grassland plants 2 (chalk and limestone) • Key to common ferns • Guide to orchids • Grasses • Moorland Plants • Woodland plants • Saltmarsh plants of Britain • Playing field plants • Plants common on sand dunes

  29. . • Pages from FSC website • Individuals & Families 2013 Natural History • http://www.field-studies-council.org/individuals-and-families/natural-history/flowers-and-other-plants.aspx Flowers Grasses and grass like plants Trees Ferns Water plants Mosses and liverworts Fungi Lichen