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Petals produce a ‘blue halo’ that helps bees to find flowers

Oct 18, 2017

Latest research using plants from Cambridge University Botanic Garden’s plant collection has found that several common flower species have nanoscale ridges on the surface of their petals that meddle with light when viewed from certain angles.
These nanostructures scatter light particles in the blue to ultraviolet colour spectrum, generating a subtle effect that scientists have christened the ‘blue halo’.

By manufacturing artificial surfaces that replicated ‘blue halos’, scientists, led by the Botanic Garden’s Director, Professor Beverley Glover, were able to test the effect on pollinators, in this case foraging bumblebees. They found that bees can see the blue halo, and use it as a signal to locate flowers more efficiently.

The findings are published today in the journal Nature.

International Garden Photographer of the Year

Oct 18, 2017

International Garden Photographer of the Year returns to Cambridge University Botanic Garden, 1 November – 21 December 2017.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden is delighted to host the prestigious International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) exhibition. A collection of winning images from its 10 Year Anniversary Exhibition will be on display in the Autumn Garden.

The exhibition will feature the very best botanical photography from across the world, celebrating the beauty and importance of plant life in its many diverse forms.
Eight main categories including The Beauty of Plants, Wildflower Landscapes, Beautiful Gardens and Breathing Spaces will be on display, plus winners from the Macro Art Photo Project.

Visitors can expect to see thought-provoking and challenging images which seek to bring people closer to plants and gardens, increase public understanding of the natural world and champion photography as a mode of conservation.

From a rare lone orchid in the Hengduan Mountain Range in China to an atmospheric sunrise in the Peak District, the exhibition will take visitors on an inspirational journey through sights both familiar and unknown.

This year’s exhibition will be even bigger for a truly immersive experience, featuring the 12 panel IGPOTY outdoor exhibition structure, with each panel measuring 1.8m x 1.8m.

For full details about International Garden Photographer of the Year at Cambridge University Botanic Garden visit

For further information about International Garden Photographer of the Year visit

Credit: The Beauty of Plants, Somerset, England – Richard Bloom

Apple Weekend – The National Botanic Garden of Wales

Oct 12, 2017

Apple Weekend is here again at the National Botanic Garden of Wales with a two-day celebration of everyone’s favourite fruit on October 21st and 22nd.

The Botanic Garden is home to the Welsh Heritage Orchard and the Apple Weekend will see the only, and largest, display in Wales of native Welsh apple varieties and those from elsewhere in the UK.

So come and find out about Welsh apple varieties and which would be the best varieties to grow in your own garden at home.

The Apple Display and Identification service will be in the Marquee and don’t forget that if you have an unidentified fruit tree in your garden, bring the fruit in for identification*.

* If you want your fruit identified, please bring along three typical examples of each variety of your apples with stalks and eye intact. Any additional information you can supply – e.g. if it’s a ‘cooker’, how does it cook? and how well does the variety keep? – would be appreciated.