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British helleborines: an object lesson in plant taxonomy

Friday 13 March, 7.00pm-8.00pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Prof. John Richards, Newcastle University

In the British Isles we have eight species of Epipactis, four of which are outbreeding, pollinated by wasps, and the other four primarily self-fertilize. Our concept of species boundaries differs fundamentally between the two groups. Many of the recent developments in our understanding in the genus result from studies of populations in Northumberland. In several cases there is a sharp incongruity between the findings from DNA and those from morphological analysis which raises interesting philosophical questions.

Professor Richards is Emeritus Professor of Botany at the University of Newcastle. He is Joint County Recorder for Plants for South Northumberland for the BSBI, and is a past President of the Alpine Garden Society.