Category Archives: Plants in the news

A ‘lost forest’ – Kew’s discovery in Mozambique, thanks to Google Earth!


Kew botanist Jonathan Timberlake recording vegetation on the steep slopes of Mount Mabu. Photo: Tom Timberlake

There’s a nice audio slideshow, with some stunning pictures, now available on the BBC site – Audio slideshow: Discovering a ‘lost forest’.

It’s covered in more depth on the Kew site – “Google Earth helps Kew put ‘lost forest’ of Mount Mabu on the conservation map”

Kew on Newsnight – Obama’s first 100 days: Environment

Always nice to see Kew being featured on high profile programmes like newsnight, and especially on such a prominent news story (overly so if you ask me, but that’s not important here!).

I particularly like the montage of a giant George Bush in the temperate House….

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | Obama’s first 100 days: Environment.

What did Siebold ever do for us?

Well, according to the FT Magazine article, Defining Moment – Japanese knotweed invades Britain, he was the person responsible for introducing Japanese knotweed to the British Isles, way back on 9 August 1850.

Mind you, he also got up to some fairly dodgy dealings in its native Japan. Perhaps as some sort of atonement he then gave them the piano, but I think he was dead before the magnitude of introducing one of Britain’s most pernicious weeds was realised.

Shock report from the BBC: New exotic fruit to hit UK shops

Baobab and sisal, near Mombassa, Kenya, 1995The BBC is reporting that a New exotic fruit [is] to hit UK shops. New? What’s new about the baobab? Africa’s ‘upside down tree’. Well it’s certainly not a new species. It’s certainly not a new use. What appears to define this as ‘new’ is that the EU has just approved it.

What a sad world it is that something that has been used in it’s native countries for centuries can only be sold when it has been approved by bureaucrats sitting in an office in Brussels (or wherever they are – I can only assume it’s not even Nairobi, let alone out in Kenya’s beautiful countryside where these majestic trees can be found).

Something for the weekend sir?

As a regular to Portobello Road market I am attracted by the range of goods you’re likely to be offered, representing different cultures, different origins, and of course different uses. But to be honest I’m not sure that I’ve ever come across anything there from Uganda, and almost certainly nothing derived from a Ugandan tree, but I think I’d be particularly alarmed, indeed perhaps a little offended, if I was offered Uganda’s sex tree.

I’ve even been to Kampala and nearby Entebe Botanic Garden, and don’t recall anyone asking me if I wanted “something for the weekend, sir?”. In fact the only thing I remember was the presence of millions of spiders on the shores of Lake Victoria. To achieve such numbers, I wonder what they’d been eating?