Tim Entwisle

About Tim Entwisle

Dr Tim Entwisle is a scientist and scientific communicator with a broad interest in plants, science and gardens, and Director & Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Previously he was Director of Conservation, Living Collections & Estates at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and prior to that, Director of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens for eight years. Read Tim's full blog at Talking Plants

1080, and a signpost of poisonous plants

These two shrubs growing in the Stirling Range in south-west Western Australia contain the poison 1080 (or something chemically very similar) but the sign is coincidental. They both also have leaves arising in pairs, opposite one another, along the stem. That may or may not be coincidental, but it’s a useful fact. Continue reading

Diverse Stirling Range orchids right on the money

On average, if you wander around identifying plant species, one in every dozen will be an orchid. Many species will be more common than orchids and in some regions of the world you might not find a single orchid, at least out of season, but we share this planet with a remarkable variety of orchids. This is just one of the Australian sun orchids, called Queen of Sheba. Continue reading

A plant with a twist, nearly missed

It’s so easy to miss a quirky flower or fruit in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. There is just too much going on. You have to always be on the look out for a fleck of colour here or a odd bauble way up there. Back in early February I discovered this Corkscrew Tree on twitter. It was flowering beside a major path near the Canna Bed, but it wasn’t until I tracked back from a tweet to MelbourneDaily that I realised it was in my own (work) backyard. Continue reading

Hop, a wolf in plant’s clothing

It’s time to return to Hop. Last time it was all about beer. This time, it’s only partly about beer. Seeing pots of Hop for sale at the Diggers garden at St Erth, near Blackwood, I recalled an impressive display by this climber at the Cloisters in New York. You don’t have to travel that far to see it thriving, but I’ve used pictures from that visit back in September. Continue reading

Close encounters with Teddybear Cholla

The sign was clear. Don’t touch. Don’t even think about touching the Cylindropuntia bigelovii, even though its common name is the Teddybear Cholla (pronounced choy-yah). So I picked up a small piece. Swore. Flicked it onto my foot where it attached itself securely to the front of my shoe. I eventually managed to scrape it off on a rock and then break the remaining spines back to the rubber in my shoe. Continue reading

Sprinter and Sprummer: our changing seasons

In all things, saving only in those that are evil, a change is to be feared; even the change of seasons, winds, viands, and humours.” Essays by Michel de Montaigne, Book the First, Chapter 43: On Sumptuary Laws (1580; translated by Charles Cotton 1877)

Minutes, hours, days and months are the way we organise our life – sowing crops, attending job interviews, organising lunch with friends, picking up kids from child care, visiting relatives, playing football, getting our hair cut and so on. Continue reading