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…
and of course I know cute things…
Like, “Puppy with an Orange ball.”
Today I thought that we could do “Interesting Things” instead.
So to start us off, this is a Blushing Bracket fungus.
It is an attractive fungus and it is quite orange.
Daedaleopsis 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.
The 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)
That is the bracket, what I really wanted to show you was something that I found eating it.
I 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? 🙂
It 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.
The slug has a breathing hole on the right side of it’s mantle called a pneumostome.
The 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.
Finally 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.
I 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 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)
Anagallis arvensis, The Scarlet Pimpernel.
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.
The flower has five stamens surrounding a single style.
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.
The leaves grow in opposite pairs, they are oval with smooth edges.
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.
Species: Anagallis arvensis
Wildflowers in winter.