A University Challenge-style event focused entirely on weird and wonderful plants was hosted by the University of Reading to kick of a year-long celebration of its botanical expertise.

The University of Reading hosted the event on February 20 which saw delegates from Southampton, Kew, Edgehill, Liverpool and Manchester Metropolitan University go head-to-head in a range of topics including botanical terminology, Chinese medicine and alien plants.

An early round from Botanical University Challenge 2019

In a fiercely fought contest, the home side of MSc Plant Diversity and BSc ecology students faced off against Liverpool, with the University of Reading team emerging victorious after a nail-biting sudden death tie-breaker final.

The Botanical University Challenge was created by Dr Jonathan Mitchley, Associate Professor in Field Botany at the University of Reading, and Dr John Warren from Aberystwyth University as a way of celebrating botanists and the importance of plants in the 21st century, with the first event being held at Kew in 2016.

The event marked the start of the University’s year-long celebration of 50 years of offering botany at a master’s level, which will also include a Harris Garden open day in April, a Fascination of Plants day in May, and a Golden Jubilee Reunion in July.

Dr Mitchley said:
“The general consensus was that our wonderful and enthusiastic audience and our awesome botanical teams were treated to a great afternoon celebrating the beauty, fascination and importance of plants and the botanists who study and teach it.

“This was a fantastic start to Reading Botany 2019 celebrating 50 years of masters teaching at Reading and an overall and outright victory for botany.

“We look forward to the next contest, and rumour has it this will be in 2020 and held at the home of our awesome runners-up Liverpool.”