Apple (Malus domestica)
This tree has very visible changes throughout the seasons from blossom to fruit. It is useful to show cross pollination and bee studies. The flowers of this tree are perfect for dissecting, collect them in April-May when the tree is in bloom. This plant is also ideal for studying plant families. Can you discover who the apples relatives are?
Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale)
This common weed shows all the stages of a plant life cycle early in the year and within a relatively short time. It has a visual and well known method of seed dispersal. Question; is there any scientific theory behind the number of blows and telling the time? The plant is adapted to survive with its swollen root and will propagate asexually from a root cutting. The leaves look like lions teeth (Dent de lion). This can facilitate a discussion on how plants get their common name?
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
This native tree is a relative of the sycamore tree. The field maple is smaller and commonly used in hedging. Its winged fruits can be used to demonstrate a wind seed dispersal mechanism.
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)
This well-known garden plant is adapted to live in dry conditions. Its' silver leaves reflect the sun. What allows its leaves to do this? It is good for doing a bee species survey with students.
Marram Grass (Ammaphila aranaria) for coastal areas only
A xerophyte especially adapted to survive in sandy, loose soil with drought and harsh windy conditions. It is often used to stabilise sand dunes. Use this to study the movement of sand dunes over time.
Mint (Mentha species)
There are many different varieties of scented mint available. This is a reliable plant for taking tip cuttings, which will readily
root in water. You can also extract plant essential oils from mint plants. Can you identify the plant chemical that makes mint, toothpaste and chewing gum minty?
Oak (Quercus species)
This native tree supports a vast amount of wildlife and is very useful for teaching food webs and chains. Its seeds (acorns) are carried and buried a distance from the tree by mammals. This means the seeds can grow in a lighter area away from the parent tree.
This plant is adapted to grow in dry conditions. Its cuttings root very easily with no cover, an easy way to demonstrate asexual reproduction to students. Some Pelargonium species are scented. Do you know why they are scented? What makes them smell so much like lemon, cola, rose or oranges?
A fast growing and reliable plant which is useful to test different growing media, fertilizers or growing conditions. It germinates at lower temperatures and the seed leaves are large and easy to see for experimental purposes.
Rose (Rosa species)
Single roses are ideal for examining flower structure. The development of fancy varieties over the years has produced many hundreds of varieties. This can demonstrate plant breeding and how fashion influences flower colour and shape.
Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa)
This familiar plant often shows both the fruit and flower at the same time. Its runners are a good example of a plant reproducing asexually.
Sunflower (Helianthus annus)
This fast growing annual is useful for recording growth and collecting data. Experiment to find ways of reducing slug damage to seedlings. Sunflowers demonstrate heliotropism where they follow the sun. Once flowered the seeds can be collected and sown the following year - a good example of a plant lifecycle. Sunflowers attract a vast variety of wildlife throughout its lifecycle. Investigate the wildlife that visit sunflowers. Do the wildlife that visit it when its flowering change when it is in seed?