This proved a very challenging task for some of the group, me in particular, and some samples proved impossible to identify through the keys even though it was a known plan.
We also had the opportunity to try our hand using several types of microscope to study the anatomy of plans invisible to the naked eye or even through a 15 X magnification hand lens. Looking at the stomata, vascular bundles many types of hair that lead to positive identification proved to be endlessly fascinating.
There was also the opportunity for Wendy to show us round the herbarium collection and her enthusiasm for its contents was infectious leading us to spend more time there than was originally planned.
It was interesting to see samples collected by long departed botanists such as those gathered by Georg Forster when he accompanied Captain Cook on his second visit to New Zealand in 1772/5. I was also fascinated by a sheet showing Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara collected in the early 19th century as it is presently flowering in profusion at Brockholes Nature Reserve.