Visitors to the chateau greenhouse and orangery in Lysice, South Moravia, can now admire a collection of outstanding Japanese Camellias in bloom in a myriad of red, white and pink shades. The shrubs on display are up to 250 years old and come from Dresden, where they escaped the bombing during World War II.
Czech agricultural authorities plan to give permits to farmers to use
Stutox II, a rat poison, to combat an infestation of voles in fields,
orchards, meadows and vineyards.
Last summer, the Ministry of Agriculture put a ban on the poison’s blanket use after the Ministry of Environment warned it poses a threat to birds and other animals, including pets.
Now, only areas with five times the so-called harmful threshold of voles can apply for permits to use Stutox II. The authorities expect the first permits will be issued by late February.
The Czech Environment Ministry is up in arms over a decision by the Central Institute for Supervision and Testing in Agriculture allowing farmers to use a highly toxic rat poison in fields, orchards, meadows and vineyards. They claim it will “harm all living things in the vicinity”, a warning that has made the agriculture minister break off his holiday and come back to Prague for emergency talks.
A joint effort by two Czech universities claims to have developed the most accurate plant image recognition system in the world. Able to identify thousands of different kinds of plants and mushrooms, the software has already won three international competitions, beating human experts in the process.
The giant hogweed and muskrat have been included on a new European Commission list of invasive plants and animals, according to the Czech Ministry of Environment. The move means that steps should be taken to control their spread. At the moment the Czech Republic has no legislative rules in place for such steps to be taken. Giant Hogweed is a major problem in western Bohemia. Hunters though have responded angrily to the inclusion of musk rat on the list, arguing that the Czech Republic has a long standing population on the outskirts of Prague and that they are still not very common in the wild.
On the first day of spring, a new space dedicated to the use of medicinal plants opened its doors to the public in Prague’s Žižkov district. The Haenke Botanical Lab named after a famous Czech botanist and explorer, was established by French pharmacist Julien Antih. His aim is to spark a broad debate about the use of medicinal plants in science, arts and urban design. Apart from herbs and plants, the space will offer a variety of workshops, public debates as well as concerts and art installations. Ruth Fraňková went to have a look:
Botanists from Palacký University in Olomouc conducting research on the island of Borneo have uncovered a new species of a plant belonging to the Thismiaceae family, small non-green plants living on fungi. To find out more about this discovery and the work of Czech botanists in the rainforests of Borneo, I spoke to Michal Sochor, from Palacky University who made the find last year, and asked him how it all came about.
Czech scientists have recently discovered what is believed to be the world’s highest growing plant. While carrying out research in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas, they came across six species of a tiny plant, no bigger than a coin, clinging to a gravel on Mount Shukule, at an elevation 6,150 metres above sea level.