Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Plant of the month December 2017

Carica papaya (Pawpaw, papaya)
Family: Caricaceae
Origin: Tropical America
Accession: 2012
Location: Tropical House

The papaya is a small tree, usually with a single stem, growing from 5 to 10m tall with spirally arranged large, palmately-lobed leaves at the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred from former leaves and fruit. Originally from Central America, it is now cultivated in most tropical countries, where it grows rapidly, fruiting within three years. All parts of the plant contain latex, and the enzyme Papain, extracted from green fruit, is used as a meat tenderizer, chewing gum additive and beer clarifier.

Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Plant of the month November 2017

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood)
Family: Cupressaceae
Origin: Central and W. China
Accession: 1981
Location: Beside Visitor Centre pond

Metasequoia was originally reported as an extinct genus, based only on widely distributed fossils over 100 million years old, until 1943 when small populations were discovered in central China. The tree is critically endangered in the wild, but has now been planted extensively in arboreta, parks and gardens worldwide. It is a deciduous conifer, with reddish-brown fibrous bark and soft, pale green ferny foliage which turns coppery-pink and russet-brown in autumn. It is fast-growing, makes an excellent specimen tree and is tolerant of waterlogging.
Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Of yeasts and men: Wednesday 18th October, 2.15pm
Graeme Walker, Professor of Zymology and Director of the Abertay Yeast Research Group at Abertay University will give this lecture in the D'Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre in the Tower Building, Dundee University, at 2.15 on Wednesday 18th October. There is a charge of £2.

Yeasts are the world’s premier industrial microbes. Yeast and fermentation technology is entwined with the history of human civilisation – from ancient Egyptian brewing to modern day biotechnology.
This lecture will explore the diversity of yeasts and their products, following a journey from beer to biofuels to biopharmaceuticals and beyond.
We hope to see you there - bring a friend!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Plant of the month October 2017

Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood)
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Origin: N. Iran, Caucasus
Accession: 1981
Location: Beside Visitor Centre pond

P. persica is a wide-spreading, often multi-stemmed deciduous tree or large shrub slow-growing to 8m, with attractive flaking bark and broadly ovate leaves which colour well in autumn, turning yellow, red and purple. It has small but abundant crimson flowers on bare twigs in late winter and early spring. P. persica is one of several relict genera of the tertiary period to be found in the north of Iran. Although extremely hardy, it prefers a rich, fertile soil that does not dry out. Parrotia is named after the German naturalist Friedrich Parrot.

Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.