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Fascination of plants day event draws on north-east expertise

By David Porter

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From one little seed, planted into soil, many green lives can arise – from small herbs up to big trees, or from ornamental flowers to substantial crops which all animals and humans need to survive on this planet. Plant biologists estimate the total number of plant species roughly to be about 250,000.

On Tuesday, May 18 locals can join plant enthusiasts from all around the world and take part in the first-ever virtual Fascination of Plants Day.

The goal of the event is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture and sustainable production of nutritious food, as well as for pretty much all aspects of our lives.

Dr Tim George, a plant scientist at the James Hutton Institute and UK coordinator of Fascination of Plants Day, says everyone is invited to celebrate the importance of plants.

He said: “Many plant science institutions, universities, schools, botanical gardens and museums, together with farmers and industry, have opened their doors for Fascination of Plants Day since the inaugural event in 2012.

"This year there is truly something for everyone.”

The UK event will feature exhibits from a whole host of organisations including the John Innes Centre, Scotland’s Rural College, James Hutton Institute, Natural History Museum and many universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield, Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Robert Gordon's.

He continued: “On the back of this coordinated activity, we hope to plant again many virtual and constantly germinating seeds in the collective mind of the public that plant science is of critical significance to the social and environmental landscape now and in future.

“Be sure to keep an eye on plantday18may.org for more updates and details.”

Alongside the virtual exhibits, Plant Power, a joint event between the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee will take place as a free self-guided trail of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden from the 15th to the 23rd of May.

This scientific themed trail joins three others that form part of celebrations of the Garden’s 50th anniversary.

Information boards will lead to online interactive activities where visitors can learn more about the plants on display and the people who work on them at the university and the institute.

Booking is essential, to limit numbers and guarantee social distancing.

Tickets are available at https://dundeeplantpower2021.eventbrite.co.uk.

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