Qualifications & Appointments
BA (Hons), Kingston Polytechnic, 1990.
Answering enquiries to the CEB, specialising in poisonous plant cases; developing an interest and knowledge of botanical jewellery.
First point of contact for enquiries to the Centre for Economic Botany (CEB) by telephone, email and letter. The majority of the telephone enquiries are from members of the public asking for urgent information on whether a plant is poisonous by ingestion or harmful through skin contact. It is usually a child who has eaten the plant but can also be pets and farm animals. Dealing with these calls requires reassurance and speed – often the person is agitated and may only have the common name of the plant. Care has to be taken to ask enough questions to be able to identify the plant correctly. Hospital A&E Depts and veterinary surgeries also call if they have plant material but no name and we try to work out what the plant is, in conjunction with Herbarium staff if necessary, and supply information on its toxicity. Also undertake the less specialist email enquiries to the mailbox CEB-Enq. Emails and letters come from other academic institutions, students, museums, schools as well as individuals needing information about a specific plant, whether for study or personal interest. All enquiries are recorded on a database. Ongoing project: putting donor name, location and additional information from the original record of donations to Kew’s Economic Botany Collections from 1847 to date onto an Excel spreadsheet. This entails deciphering Victorian and Edwardian writing and countries names which no longer exist. Visitors and researchers to the EBC are now able to search records more accurately whilst saving wear and tear on original historic documents.
Selected Earlier Publications
Turner, J., Mathew, B. & Lock, M. (2002). Musa basjoo. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 19 (1): 49-54.
Zappi, D. & Turner, J. (2001). Eriobotrya japonica. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 18 (2): 108-113.