BBCs Countryfile comes to University of Leicester

The BBC’s programme dedicated to rural and agriculture issues, Countryfile, will be making a visit to the University of Leicester this week.

The episode, broadcast on Sunday 21 January, is set around Leicestershire and Rutland, with features on citizen scientists in the county and

Presenter Anita Rani will be speaking to staff at our Herbarium about the discovery several years ago that over twenty times as many plants were in bloom on New Year’s Day as was thought to be the case. While here, she will also learn more about Leicester’s own plantlife past, present and future.

The Leicester Herbarium is an international herbarium (with the abbreviation LTR) and is one of about 20 major herbaria in the UK. It houses about 140,000 specimens, growing still by nearly 1000 per year. Leicester Herbarium was founded in 1945, but incorporates collections dating back to the 18th century.

The Leicester Herbarium collection is particularly strong in the flora of the British Isles (the authors of several versions of the standard Flora of the British Isles were based in the Department at Leicester) and the Flora European (multi-authors from across Europe, coordinated from Leicester). The most important specimens for defining the plants in Europe are all referenced back to the LTR herbarium, and the dried specimens with a red tape at the base are those used to illustrate the standard reference volumes. So, for a high proportion of the British Flora, the 'reference specimen' is in the Leicester Herbarium, and similarly for a smaller proportion in the rest of Europe.

The programme is broadcast on Sunday 21 January at 6.30pm on BBC One.

Update: you can watch the University of Leicester segment here: