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Preparing for an expedition to Ethiopia

Tim Harris
29 October 2010
Blog team: 
Find out about Tim's preparations for an imminent trip to Ethiopia. The team will work with Kew's partners and research the country's rarest plants.

The flora and vegetation types of Ethiopia are already reasonably well known, thanks to the hard work and international collaboration of botanists over the last twenty years. I’m going to be joining a small team of botanists in Ethiopia where we will be collecting samples, taking photographs and documenting rare species. And now the agreements have been signed, the flights have been booked and the packing begun!

There are presses and drying papers that need packing as well as a folding saw and a mosquito net (luckily Ethiopian Airways give me an unliftable 40kg weight limit!). I hear that rainfall has been good this year in central Ethiopia, so waterproofs are also going into the rucksack. 


Tim Harris on expedition in Mozambique in 2007

At the moment I’m looking over the known species from the plant family called Acanthaceae; a large group of tropical herbs often with colourful flowers that tend to have localised and rare species in the dry habitats we shall be visiting. While these are the sorts of plants I expect to make it into the IUCN Red List, on previous trips, such as this one to Mozambique it has been the less noticeable plants, such as grasses, that have turned out to be the most rare. Plants are always surprising!

Before I go I'll need to check I can work the GPS and the bulky camera that I will be taking. Time to go out into the Gardens and check I can take close-up portraits of flowers!

Shortly, I’ll be setting a twitter profile to post updates from my mobile from the field. Watch this space...

- Tim -

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