A Beautiful Orange Theme (Slime Alert!)

It is going to be orange because the next flower that I am going to write about is not called the Orange Pimpernel.

I do know some very pretty orange things, like the Small Copper butterfly…

Small Copper Butterflyand of course I know cute things…

Like, “Puppy with an Orange ball.”

FizzToday I thought that we could do “Interesting Things” instead.

So to start us off, this is a Blushing Bracket fungus.

Blushing BracketIt is an attractive fungus and it is quite orange.

Bracket Fungus

Blushing BracketDaedaleopsis confragosa is a polypore fungus, that means that it doesn’t have gills on the underside, it has pores and this species has quite big pores.

Blushing Bracket undersideThe reason it is called a “Blushing” Bracket is because it is easy to make it blush.

To be sure of success I enlisted the help of an ex military man (22 years Airborne) for this short video, just the sort of fellow you need to make a bracket blush. (I didn’t have any sailors around.)

(and it worked)

Blushing Bracket.That is the bracket, what I really wanted to show you was something that I found eating it.

Leopard SlugI know that I said that I wouldn’t do cute but I just can’t help myself. This is absolutely my favourite slug. What’s yours?

It is not exactly orange but the pictures have an orange feel about them.

So what would you like to know aboutΒ Limax maximus? I mean first, what would you like to know first? πŸ™‚

Leopard SlugIt is a friend to gardeners. It doesn’t eat living plants but feeds on dead plants and fungi, it is also carnivorous.

Like it’s namesake the Leopard, it prowls the garden hunting down other slug species, that would damage your plants, and eating them. (Top speed, six inches per hour)

(Wikiwotsit lists it as being a major agricultural pest in the US but if you follow the notes you will see that they have got their species mixed up.)

Just to tell you a little bit about slug anatomy, the colourful, saddle like structure behind the head is called the mantle and that houses all of the vital organs. The rest of the slug is just one big locomotive muscle, what you might call a foot.

Leopard SlugThe slug has a breathing hole on the right side of it’s mantle called a pneumostome.

Leopard Slug pneumostomeThe organs coming out of it’s head are called tentacles, it has four of them which it can retract.

The top pair are it’s eyes and the bottom pair are for smelling.

Leopard SlugFinally on anatomy, you have probably guessed that slugs are related to snails. They are both Gastropods, in fact a slug is just a snail without a shell but Limax maximus does have a small internal shell.

You can see it best in this next picture it is the small white lump at the back and base of it’s mantle.

Leopard SlugI can’t show you it’s mouth parts they are concealed below it’s pretty face but at least you can see why I like it.

Leopard Slug

Leopard SlugLeopard Slugs have a fantastic and unique sex life that I haven’t had a chance to photograph yet. David Attenborough didΒ some great filmΒ for the BBC that doesn’t seem to be available any more but I am sure that if you were to search for “Slug sex videos” you would find some more information. (that is how I stumbled upon them)

Leopard SlugSo now, an orange wildflower.

Anagallis arvensis, The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The Scarlet Pimpernel is a beautiful little wild flower of meadows and waste land,

But.. Your eyes do not deceive you, it is orange, it is not scarlet.

It should be noted that the English word “Orange” comes from the fruit of the same name and the fruit and colour were not known here until the sixteenth century.

So the Scarlet Pimpernel is a lovely little orange flower, with a purple centre and bright yellow anthers. There is also a naturally occurring blue variety but that is more common in Mediterranean countries and rare in the UK.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The flower has five stamens surrounding a single style.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The stamens are covered in small white and purple hairs. It is thought that these might serve to attract insects as the flower does not produce nectar.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The leaves grow in opposite pairs, they are oval with smooth edges.

Scarlet Pimpernel leaves (Anagallis arvensis)

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The flower has several common names such as the Shepherd’s Weather-glass and Poor Man’s Barometer that relate to it’s weather forecasting abilities.

It closes at night and opens late in the morning but it will only open in full sun andΒ as soon as it clouds over the flower closes again and forecasts rain.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)Β Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)Β  Β Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)Β  Β Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order:Β Ericales

Family:Β Primulaceae

Genus:Β Anagallis

Species:Β Anagallis arvensis

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

Wildflowers in winter.

Advertisements

51 thoughts on “A Beautiful Orange Theme (Slime Alert!)”

  1. Only you could make a slug sound interesting, and this one does. It’s very interesting about the beautiful little flower Scarlet Pimpernel and its ability to react to the weather. You know so much about nature; it’s amazing. Thank you for always sharing such great info.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Elizabeth πŸ™‚ Another common name for Limax maximus is the Great Grey Slug there is another, similar looking genus Deroceras with over 100 different species and these are commonly called Grey Garden Slugs. These are the pest species that do a lot of damage and they do like their greens. That could be what is eating your garden.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, fantastic! I love the slimy theme! Great pics. I get few snails, slugs and other “slimies” here as it’s usually too dry or we have many hungry predators in the garden. Large blue-tongues skinks actually like eating them here. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Thanks Jane πŸ™‚ You can’t eat Leopard Slugs, people can’t. I know that they look like Jelly Babies but an Australian man developed meningitis and nearly died from eating just two of them. They can contain the larva of a parasitic worm that causes the disease. If you do want to eat them then the medical advice is to cook them first but obviously it is different for Skinks. I should really have included that information in my post πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Even if they didn’t have parasites, I probably wouldn’t eat them! I’m happy to just look at them and appreciate their sliminess. πŸ˜‰ Large blue-tongued skinks here actually eat snails and slugs in general, and I assume do pick up some parasites from them. Thanks for the warning though. I will try not to eat any on my hikes. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My father was a botanist at a botanical garden. He once found a young boy harassing a banana slug. He made him and his family leave the garden. Oh, how he loved those slugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carolyn πŸ™‚ Good for him. Your Banana slugs are another gardeners friend, eating only dead organic matter and turning it into nutrients, spreading spores and seeds as they go. There is much to love πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Predator ‘good’ slugs–preying on bad slugs. I never knew! I fear the only type I know are the bad slugs. Nice combination of slimy slugs and lovely orange wildflowers!
    Elouise

    Like

  5. My favourite slug is the red triangle slug (Triboniophorus graeffei), Australia’s largest native land slug. It has a red triangle around the breathing pore and a nice red line around the edge of the body, which is white. There are colour variations which are darker, though, but to me the white one is most attractive. You can see a photo of it at https://arovingiwillgo.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/the-psychological-benefits-of-snails/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your slug looks a bit like several I found in our grass one day last summer. Now I’m wishing my reaction had been to go for the camera rather than “Eeeewwww! Giant slugs!”

    Like

  7. Even as interesting as you make it, I find it very hard not to have a ‘eeww’ response to slugs. They are my nemesis in the garden. I don’t think we have carnivorous slugs, just the herbivores that destroy tender shoots and flowers overnight. I’ve given up seeding lettuce.
    But I love the fuchsia-colored center on the pimpernel – such a lovely little thing!

    Like

  8. Gastropods!!! This perfectly suited my sluggish mood today, even still I couldn’t keep up with your intrepid profiles! I need some of that scarlet orange power, so I can chase away my winter palour and blush like a fungus πŸ™‚ Orange never looked so good. Mor’ange please.

    Like

  9. Well I’m all for any flower that blooms in the winter, and your slug friend is amazing although I did stifle a chuckle when you mentioned he was “pursuing” other slugs at a top speed of 6″ an hour. Am I correct in assuming that this is faster than the top speed of its prey?

    Like

    1. Thank you David πŸ™‚ This is what I think. The leopard Slug is powerful and muscular but it is not built for endurance. It has to stalk it’s prey through the garden and get really close before it breaks cover. The Grey Garden Slug could probably run at four or five inches per hour all day if it had to, so it is vital that the Leopard Slug brings down his prey in the first hour or so πŸ™‚

      Like

  10. Lovely post! I enjoyed reading it and all the comments and your answers. Scarlet pimpernel is one of my favourites and always has been. We found a leopard slug in our garden this summer to our joy. I am just waiting for the moment when one of us is walking under the trees, thinking of other things, and is slapped round the face by preoccupied slugs!

    Like

    1. Thank you Clare πŸ™‚ I missed out on the Scarlet Pimpernel this year, those are old photographs. I only found one patch and that was in a shaded country lane. I never saw the flowers open. I kept revisiting it and it was very frustrating. I have updated my camera since I took the pictures above and I really wanted to have another crack at it. Perhaps next summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sure you’ll find some. We had a lot in our garden but that was because we had work done round and in our big pond in February and the soil had been disturbed. All sorts of lovely wild plants appeared that had never been there in the eight years we have lived in this house.

        Like

  11. I never knew that not all slugs munch their way through your plants.That some actually eat the others. Fascinating stuff and I will view slugs in a different way now. I’ll be out tonight to see if I can identify them. Thanks Colin. This is going to be tweeted as well. Too good not to be.

    Like

  12. What a fascinating read! I learned about a slug and a lovely flower, the Scarlet Pimpernel ..the slug benefits gardens and the lovely flower acts not only to calm one with its beauty, but as a barometer.
    Each visit is a treasure.
    Thanks and best wishes to both you and Fizz.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s