Tag Archives: Blushing Bracket

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 about¬†Limax maximus? I mean first, what would you like to know first? ūüôā

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 did¬†some great film¬†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 and as soon as it clouds over the flower closes again and forecasts rain.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

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

Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Ericales

Family: Primulaceae

Genus: Anagallis

Species: Anagallis arvensis

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

Wildflowers in winter.

The Nagshead

This is just a brief introduction to one of my favourite places The Nagshead,

It is not a pub although it sounds like it might be. It is an RSPB nature reserve that is within easy walking distance of my home. It is also a very good reason to visit The Forest of Dean for your holidays.

P1180137It is part of my playground and one of the loveliest places that I know.

P1180120These are Fallow Deer seen on my last visit about two weeks ago. That black and white rump is unmistakeable. These pictures were taken quite early in the morning when the light was very poor, so please excuse the quality.

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P1180135Now I have a confession to make, although I have visited this reserve several times since I arrived in the forest I still haven’t photographed any birds here.

There is no absence of birds though, I am often mobbed by the small mixed flocks of tits and the sound of woodpeckers drumming and Tawny Owls hooting mixes in with the bird song to create an atmosphere that my pictures cannot relate. It is great.

5It is a good place to look for fungi.

7 This is Hairy Curtain Crust a small bracket fungus.

8This next one is Blushing Bracket, so called because if you bruise the underside it flushes red.

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10Wild Boar roam the forest freely but they are becoming very shy because the Forestry Commission shoot them.

11I will have to crop that picture to show you what I have just seen.

12There has been an issue here with people feeding the Boar. It is a problem because the animals loose their fear of humans, the FC are doing all that they can to set that issue right.

I should come clean here and tell you that I am strongly opposed to the Wild Boar cull. I do believe that they need to be managed but shooting guns at them isn’t the way to do it. They are just dispersing them, they are driving them out of the forest. The FC are the only people with the resources and organisation to be able to manage these animals and once out of the forest they are beyond control. The end result is many more Boar in places where they shouldn’t be. They are a forest animal.

The FC like their guns. They don’t shoot them in the reserve and obviously they don’t shoot them once they are out of the forest. They don’t really shoot very many of them because they can’t find them, the Boar are very evasive and they just run away.

I like to see wild animals in the forest.

So that is my brief introduction to the Nagshead. It is a smashing place and I will be spending a lot of time here this summer, I hope that you will come with me.

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