Plants

British Wildlife of the Week: Lady’s Slipper Orchid

During the Victorian Era, there was a botanical equivalent of ‘gold fever’. Wealthy collectors sent explorers to all corners of the world to discover new, exquisite types of orchid. The finest specimens could fetch very high prices indeed, and explorers risked their lives just to find them, travelling through dangerous, unmapped territory in search of these beautiful, delicate flowers.

British Wildlife of the Week: Oak Tree

Deep within Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, a huge, gnarled tree spreads its crooked limbs out over a small clearing. This is the Major Oak, the most visited tree in Britain – and probably the most famous. Weighing around 23 tons, with a trunk girth of 10 metres, and a canopy of 28 metres, it’s the largest oak tree in the country. And, at between 800 and 1,000 years old, it’s also one of our oldest. But these are not the primary reasons for the Major Oak’s popularity.

British Wildlife of the Week: Sundew

The idea of a plant eating an animal seems like a strange concept. Perhaps it is because it shatters all expectations. Surely plants are supposed to be passive recipients of sunlight and water – not carnivores turning to the flesh of animals for their sustenance. Carl Linnaeus, the famous Swedish naturalist who devised a system of ordering all living things in the world, refused to believe that plants could be carnivorous, declaring that it went ‘against the order of nature as willed by God.’ He reasoned that so-called carnivorous plants only caught insects by accident.

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