buttercup   corollaThis creeping buttercup is growing at the edge of our little meadow but leaves of meadow buttercup are starting to show in the middle.

As you can see from the notes, I’m making attempts to learn a bit more about botany and I’ve just finished reading a book that has been sitting unread on my shelves since the 1970s, Plants in Action, which accompanied a BBC television series.

Dicots and Monocots

Dandelion flower-bud
Dandelion flower-bud

It’s makes a good introduction but inevitably some of the botany is now out of date. Looking at a more recent publication, Dorling Kindersley’s The Natural History Book, points out that three-quarters of the world’s plants, including buttercups and dandelions, are now classified as Eudicotyledons, not Dicotyledons as they were previously.

The old division was between the ‘dicots’, which had two seed-leaves and the ‘monocots’, which had just the one. Some of the earliest flowering plants to appear in the fossil record are now classified as Basal Angiosperms and Magnoliids.

There are some familiar present-day species in these ancient groups including water lilies, bay, star anise and magnolia.

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