Our Favourite Biologist is in the News Again



Dr Anne Edwards, keynote speaker at our recent science symposium , has been in the news again.

Dr Edwards is a leading biologist and a favourite of the Griffin Schools Trust; at our recent science symposium she gave the keynote address discussing how nature could be utilised to help create utopia.

Through her work for the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Anne identified the climbing hedgerow white bryony from a photo sent in by a baffled allotment keeper, who said that the plant had just sprung up at their Walsingham allotment. Despite looking like a bizarre vegetable this plant is actually rather dangerous.

Dr Edwards said: “The plant is in the same family as cucumber. It has a large tuberous root which can look a bit like a parsnip…All parts of the plant are poisonous and if eaten will cause severe illness or death.”

The white bryony is also known as a false mandrake or an English mandrake, and was inspiration for J K Rowling’s screaming mandrakes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The screaming mandrake featured in Professor Sprout’s herbology lessons for second year students. The scream of a mature mandrake is deadly to anyone that hears it, however it also helped cure pupils petrified by the opening of the chamber.