A natural confession
I have a confession to make. Despite having a PhD in what used to be called botany (now 'plant sciences'), I'm rubbish at recognizing plants. If I watch an episode of Gardener's World, I'm bamboozled by all the technical terms. When I go for a walk in the countryside, I'm embarrassed at not being able to name the various species we come across.
The reason? I studied plant cells, and, more specifically, the cells of the first stages of growth of mosses, the protonema. I grew them in sterile culture on nutrient agar in Petri dishes. I then farted around with them a bit and looked at them under microscopes. I can give you a good lecture on plant physiology and cell biology, but I never got round to learning all those wonderful latin names of the sorts of plants you encounter on a walk through the woods.
Today, walking RTL, I encountered a beautiful stand of what look superficially like foxgloves, but which aren't (pictured). The interesting thing about the inflorescences here is that on each you have every stage of flower development, from budding to senescence, which is what you get with foxgloves. One of my PhD supervisors is an expert on flower senescence, and he did his PhD on foxgloves for this reason. Anyone know what the plant pictured here is? They're kind of like inverted wisterias, but pinker.