Skip to main content

No results found

Oxfordshire Care Homes Digital Banners 1110x120 08012024 epo6gf
Living, Exteriors

Plants for the Future

Dr Chris Thorogood

divider
“blue is exceptionally rare”
Seed

“If I don’t have red, I use blue” Pablo Picasso

One of the most glamorous seeds I know is that produced by the Traveller’s Palm. The plant is related to the South African bird of paradise which produces seeds with bright red appendages. The seed appendages of the Madagascan traveller’s palm, however, are a remarkable shade of blue; they’re as bright as sapphires.

Red seeds and fruits are relatively common in nature, particularly among bird-dispersed species, but blue is exceptionally rare. The reason the Traveller’s Palm has evolved blue seeds is linked to its biogeography. There are few fruit- and seed-eating birds on Madagascar, and instead, this species has evolved a mutualistic relationship with lemurs. Lemurs’ vision can only differentiate shades of green and blue, unlike the vision of birds. Lemurs are therefore attracted to the bright blue, edible appendage of the Traveller’s Palm’s seeds and disperse them – to the advantage of the plant.

Dr Chris Thorogood is Deputy Director and Head of Science at the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum. Founded in 1621, it is one of the oldest science gardens in the world and a leading centre of research. Chris tweets regularly at @thorogoodchris1

RECOMMENDED

SA9 0579 ady0l9
Mon 15 Apr 2024

Moreton Show 2024 is the place to get your golden ticket to compete at the 75th Horse of the Year Show! The Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) holds qualifiers across the country, giving competitors the chance to go head-to-head for a sought-after spot at one of the most esteemed equine shows in the world.

meadow hqcq95
Wed 10 Apr 2024

Meadows are wonderful, evolving entities. The first year of any meadow it has a huge array of beautiful annuals for colour, however your subsequent years are always a fantastic surprise as to what you will get. Different flowers will germinate in different years all dependant on the condition of the soil, weather etc.

Hedgelands cover otumlw
Tue 9 Apr 2024

In his latest book, freelance journalist, author and novelist Christopher Hart explores the history and ecology of Britain’s hedges.

Julia and Ian r0jtev
Tue 9 Apr 2024

When artist Julia Sorrell contacted me to see if I thought our readers might be interested in the story of how she and husband, Ian, renovated their property in Shipton-under-Wychwood, I jumped at the chance to learn more. Their aim was to use as many recycled materials as possible, and they will be opening their home to visitors during Oxfordshire Artweeks in May.