The leaves have only just started to open on this oak tree, a Sessile oak I think, yet it is already covered by many galls. These rounded disfigurations – called … Continue Reading Oak apple galls
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a fast growing, invasive perennial with a terrible reputation for spreading and excluding other native plants. Its roots are also capable of breaking through concrete … Continue Reading Knot bad for bees!
Orchids flower over quite a long period, with the dates of the flowering season varying somewhat with latitude. In Scarborough, I spotted (sic) my first Common spotted orchid – in … Continue Reading Orchids come and go!
I took a few photos of a large Bombus terrestris bumblebee (queen I think) visiting foxglove flowers in St. James Park, London on a fine day last week. When I … Continue Reading Do bumblebees know when ants are in?
Common vetch plants (Vicia sativa) are much favoured by ants. The reason being that they have tiny glands – called extrafloral nectaries – which produce a nectar solution which the … Continue Reading Be my bodyguard and have a drink! Said the vetch to the ant.
This beautiful insect looks like a beetle, but it is in fact a bug – a true bug as entomologists call hemipterans. It is a member of the family Scutelleridae and … Continue Reading Beetle-like bug
Take a photograph of a flower, examine it closely – or enlarge it on a computer screen – and you will invariably find an insect lurking somewhere in the picture. … Continue Reading Flowers and insects: an ancient alliance
Sometimes when you take a photograph you only notice something unusual about it when you come to examine the image closely on the computer. I took this image of a … Continue Reading Bumbler bees and foxgloves
This very strange-looking flower originates from South Asia, where it occurs from Bhutan to Bangladesh. There are more than 500 species in the genus Clerodendrum L. (Family: Lamiaceae), widely distributed … Continue Reading A weird and wonderful plant
I came across this amazing flower – rose of Venezuela, or rose of the jungle – in Bogor Botanical Gardens, Java, Indonesia. It originates from South America, where for millions … Continue Reading Rose of the jungle
ओं मणिपद्मे हूं Om Mani Padme Hum (‘the gem of truth lies in the lotus’). The lotus is an extraordinary plant; beautiful and mysterious. Seeds of this plant were still viable … Continue Reading Om Mani Padme Hum – the sacred lotus
I was fascinated by the individual variation of this flower and took a series of photographs of different flower heads which I thought might make an interesting collage! But when … Continue Reading Green bug, yellow flower
Sea Spurge. In the Spring, they produce their remarkable receptacle-like flowers, which in close-up look to me like some sort of decoration for a miniature Christmas tree! The cup-shaped flower heads … Continue Reading Sea Spurge
Sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) is a common plant on dunes and sandy beaches, from the British Isles down to the Mediterranean. The stems are slightly fleshy and glaucous – nice … Continue Reading Sea Spurge
There were huge numbers of Marsh Fritillary (Eurodryas aurina) butterflies flying about in Galicia (north-west Spain) when I visited the province in late April. Many of them were feeding on a … Continue Reading Feeding on hemlock!
This attractive member of the Carrot family (Umbelliferae) grows near the sea on rocky cliffs and headlands. Perhaps it likes the views! It’s hard to imagine a more aesthetically pleasing … Continue Reading A carrot by the sea!