Sunday, May 31, 2015

Has fame struck at last?
It had certainly taken long enough if it has. When searching in to find examples of the use of some of my pix posted there I came upon this.

I was astounded. So; has Bigfoot the sasquatch arrived in Somersetshire?

Click on the link; black it and right click; opt for "Go To etc." then click to view what is claimed to be Bigfoot in Kentucky. 

You will need to scroll down to find it because I have posted since putting it on Facebook - I could not get a link to that page alone.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A bank Holiday trip, not very far though.
I had noticed that near the Library gate in Hillside Road there was a plant growing. I recognised it as  Green Alkanet, Pentaglottis sempervirens,
The library being shut on the Moday meant there were no cars parked and I took the opportunity to get a shot of it, snipping off a sprig to do some macro shots at home too. 

Nice little bright blue flowers show up well against the darker green of the leaves.

The leaves and stem are rather hairy but the bristles are soft unlike Cleavers, that cling to the skin.

A pretty little flower, not unlike the germander Speedwell.

The buds grow in clusters so the flowers follow on one after the other.

Waiting their turn to flower.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Red Campion Melandrium Rubrum,
 The bright red of this flower was the cause of me stopping in the first place. I found a veritable little trove of what we call weeds. Eventually I ended with no less than 5 sets of JPG's.

Buds and leaves 

Flower cluster.

A closer look at the flower.

Of both the Red and White Campion Culpeper has this to say:—
Government and virtues.
They belong to Saturn, and it is found by experience, that the decoction of the herb, either in white or red wine being drank, doth stay inward bleedings, and applied out­wardly it does the like; and being drank, helps to expel urine, being stopped, and gravel and stone in the reins and kidneys. Two drams of the seed drank in wine, purges the body of choleric humours, and helps those that are stung by scorpions, or other venomous beasts, and may be as effectual for the plague. It is of very good use in old sores, ulcers, cankers, fistulas, and the like, to cleanse and heat them, by consuming the moist humours falling into them, and correcting the putrefaction of humours offending them.

A repeat of a lost JPG.
Some years back now I took some shots of this flower on the grass verge along Nortons Wood lane. It was one of the files that was lost when my hard drive went astray.
This year on the grass verge going across the moor to Walton-in-Gordano I saw masses of them.

It is making me wonder if a benevolent housholder is actually encouraging their growth.

A rather striped appearnce to the petals and it seems odd to see such a deep cleavage to the petal as well. Greater Stitchwort, Stellaria holostea, is said to have taken the name because its propensity of curing the 'stitch' or pain in the side caused by physical exertion.
A rather scrawny looking plant that seems to belie the ,Greater' name attached to it.
One wonders what it would look like if it was called 'Lessr' instead. Straggly and thin stemmed, with leaves few and far between on the stems.
Yet the flower en-mass on a grass verge can make a good showing.
When compared to Herb Robert Geranium robertianum it can be seen why Greater is applied compared to that flower at least.. 

The seed pod is similar to that of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Rather small and grape-like,.although bigger than that of the pimpernel.

It made me think back some years to when I posted on another site a picture of the Pimpernel seed. I was asked by member if the seeds were edible. I pointed out to them the the Pimpernel seed although it looked like a grape was in fact only about 5 or 6 mm in size and you would need at least a couple of dozen to find out what they tasted like.

Went up through Nortons Wood again
I decided to go with a complete set-up. Ring Flash 1.7 tele-extender, 24mm Kenko and 10 dioptre lens. As well as extra batteries for the flash (just in case) because it would have been stupid to have run out of power after the things that had happened previously. It was a job to get it all in the boot of my Smart 4 two, but I managed it. 

The Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys flowers were out along the bank and the ring flash as normal worked well.
The biggest advantage of digital images is that you can see the result immediately.
I was able to correct my macro shots timing and light to get almost perfect JPG's. 

Little clusters of blooms showed in places along the bank. It made me wonder why these flowers have not been adopted for gardens. they would be very suitable for a rock garden for example.

Cuased me to speculate whether this is a varicoloured variety, or is it a flower that is on its way to forming a seed pod.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How stupid can I get?
Went up through Nortons Wood Lane again today. I wanted to get some pix of Common Vetch that I saw there a couple of days earlier.

Cleavers, AKA Goosegrass, Galium aparine, 
As well as that I had taken some shots of Cleavers, and needed to get some macro pix, of the tiny flowers. I didn't bother to take the ring flash - a big mistake on my part - so I snipped off a few examples. It turned out to be 'a few' too many.
 I got my shots of cleavers and the tiny flower - only around 3/16ths of an inch (5mm) across - together with buds at the head of the tendril.
Then found trouble with the focussing of my Tamron 90mm macro lens when coupled with the kenko 35 mm tube.
I decided to try with the 1.7 tele extender but could not find it. Meantime the other samples I had taken were getting limp. 
I managed a couple of shots of Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys. but another little flower, yet to identify  was too far gone.
Now  ths morning I realised that the extnder was on the A55 on the copier stand that I had been working beneath. 
I know now that I had been a little too ambitious.
Leaf of Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys 

Monday, May 18, 2015

How wrong can I be?

When I came back from the Arnhem Pilgrimage last year I brought with me a couple of Dutch acorns. As I had had a problem with my fridge before I went I bought another when I returned. I used the veg box from the old one to plant the acorns in the last remnants of my compost bag in it.
In the spring I saw that there was a couple of plants growing, one was a very small cluster and the other what looked to be maybe of the doves foot family.
Our of idle curiosity I decided to let them carry on growing. Then I saw that in between the 'doves foot' there was another very finely leaved plant. 

The leaf was little more than a slight green spike and the buds were around 3mm in size.

After watching it for a few days, I decided that there was enough of it to snip off a strand to take macro shots.
The 'flower' if you could call it that seemed to be primitive. I got a few 3x pix and then came to what I thought would be the problem. What was it?
My trusty Octopus: Wild Flowers book, came off the shelf for what I expected would be a lengthy search. Lo and behold on the very first page of the white flower section there it was.  Procumbent Pearlwort, Sagina procumbens,   
Puzzle solved before I had relly started. Now I must wait patiently to see what the other plants are.

Now I have found out why it went smoothly.
The Octopus book had the old Latin name so I had to alter all the tags in Flickr and also the title names.
Trouble is that although the Octopus has good illustrations it is an old book almost 30 years old in fact. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Privet Lingustrum vilgare

Today we rarely think anything about  Privet except as hedges or border use. Probably popular because it is an evergreen and makes a good barrier when thickset. There is no doubt that Hawthorn or Blackthorn make a more redoubtable hedge but their bleak appearance in winter offsets the advantage of the formidable thorns that back up the greenery in the spring and summer. Yet when we examine Privet flowers as macro images we can find a certain beauty in them.

The dark green of the leaf shows the flower to advantage. Maybe because the flowers are rather more scattered that the thorny plants we don't notice them so much.


Culpeper remarks that even in his day it was going out of use as a medicinal plant. Although it seems that in earlier times it had many uses as a herbal treatment.
In his  Complete Herbal his remarks are relatively short.

Government and virtues
The Moon is lady of this. It is little used in physic with us in these times, more than in lotions, to wash sores and sore mouths, and to cool inflammations, and dry up fluxes. Yet Matthiolus saith, it serves all the uses for which Cypress, or the East Privet, is appointed by Dioscorides and Galen. He further saith, That the oil that is made of the flowers of Privet infused therein, and set in the Sun, is singularly good for the inflammations of wounds, and for the headache, coming of a hot cause. There is a sweet water also distilled from the flowers, that is good for all those diseases that need cooling and drying, and therefore helps all fluxes of the belly or stomach, bloody-fluxes, and women's courses, being either drank or applied; as all those that void blood at the mouth, or any other place, and for distillations of rheum in the eyes, especially if it be used with them.

My Scarlet Pimpernel flowers

It appears that I have lost my little weather forecasters. The contractors have sprayed the gravel border where they were growing to kill off the weeds. Last year I had a return of about 6 or 7 plants but this time I can see nothing growing. Unusually this tiny plant and flower Scarlet Pimpernel Angallis arvensis had many nicknames because of its weather foretelling properties. At the first sign of dampness or rain to come it closes up. From this tendency it is AKA  Poor man’s weather-glass; Change of the weather; and Shepherd’s sundial. 

A little flower of only about 5/16ths of an inch (6 to 7 mm) in size at maximum. Yet when we look into macro pictures of it its beauty becaomes apparent.

Lying close to the ground all that we normally see is a little dot of red and a few green stands of foliage

The buds are insignificant.

but a closer look at the flower with its semi-fluorescent centre shows what a little beauty it really can be if we look closer.
Of this plant and flower Culpeper says:—

Government and virtues.
It is a gallant solar herb, of a cleansing attractive quality, whereby it draws forth thorns or splinters, or other such like things gotten into the flesh; and put up into the nostrils, purges the head; and Galen saith also, they have a drying faculty, whereby they are good to solder the lips of wounds, and to cleanse foul ulcers. The distilled water or juice is much esteemed by French dames to cleanse the skin from any roughness and deformity, or discolouring thereof; being boiled in wine and given to drink, it is a good remedy against the plague, and other pestilential fevers, if the party after taking it be warm in his bed, and sweat for two hours after, and use the same for twice at least. It helps also all stingings and bitings of venomous beasts, or mad dogs, being used inwardly, and applied outwardly. The same also opens obstructions of the liver, and is very available against the infirmities of the reins. It provokes urine, and helps to expel the stone and gravel out of the kidneys and bladder, and helps much in all inward pains and ulcers. The decoction, or distilled water, is no less effectual to be applied to all wounds that are fresh and green, or old, filthy, fretting, and running ulcers, which it very effectually cures in a short space. A little mixed with the juice, and dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from cloudy mists, or thick films which grow over them, and hinder the sight. It helps the tooth-ache, being dropped into the ear on a contrary side of the pain. It is also effectual to ease the pains of the hemorrhoids or piles.

SO ---- if by some chance you should have this growing in or near your garden  - Treasure it - A glance at it if you are going off for the day will tell you 
If the weather will be fine the flower will be open. If it is closed there is rain about.
This forecast is almost as certain as the Mist on the moor one.