Archive for 09/12/2015

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

Originally posted on: 4th December 2015, Grantham Institute 

As we mark World Soil Day, and with COP21 well into its first week, Dr Katrin Glatzel of Agriculture for Impacttakes a look at how good soil and land management practices can help us achieve important climate and development goals.  

Soil matters. The decision made at the Rio+20 conference to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the agreement ‘to strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world in the context of sustainable development’ gave momentum to discussions on the role of soils in the global sustainable development agenda. This is now, at least partially, reflected and anchored in SDG goal #15, ‘Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.’

In addition to this, earlier this year the French Government launched its “4 per 1000” initiative, aimed at making…

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Friends Jen and Dave are having a great time in Vietnam, and Jen has been ‘plant spotting’. She’s sent me some exotic specimens to name and this began with a bit of a mystery. The picture below appears to show a sign with some plant names on it in English.

image2Jen assumed this related to the plant picture below, but was puzzled at the (misspelled) reference to Thuinbergia, so I set out to investigate further…


Strongylodon macrobotrys

Jen mentioned that the plant and sign in question were at a monastery in De Lat, which helped me to search online. Here I found a picture of the same plant, but with its correct names of Jade Vine (sometimes also called Tigers’ Teeth); a native of the Philippines, but there are examples in the UK at Cambridge Botanic Garden, Kew and the Eden Project. Interestingly it’s propagated by bats! The botanical name is Strongylodon macrobotrys; and so, not a hint of Thunbergia!

Well, it turns out that another plant nearby (see below), apparently popular in De Lat, is Thunbergia mysorensis (again ‘lost in translation’ on the sign) or its common name of Mysore Trumpet Vine. So, a case of poor sign placement (it looks like its been strapped to a pillar after being in the ground), as well as incorrect botany (incidentally Thunbergia are part of the Acanthaceae family, so that might explain that bit of the sign- but once more, misspelled!).

Thunbergia mysorensis

Thunbergia mysorensis

Another of Jen’s pictures is of the Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior), a plant used in cooking (especially fresh fish).

Etlingera elatior

Etlingera elatior

I’m still working on identifying the other six plants Jen sent me, but will hopefully crack the mystery in the next few days…look out for further episodes of a Select Vietnamese Flora!

Old School Gardener



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