Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Old Man's Beard - 9th December 2010
Although I stick firmly to the belief that you can often appreciate plants better when you know nothing about them, I sometimes find myself tempted to research a bit further, to identify what I see. This, of course, nearly always turns out to be a bad idea. Not only do I start counting petals instead of appreciating them, I get distracted into looking through the pages of books and searching through sites merely to see pictures of the extraordinary plants and fungi there - whether they have anything to do with what I am looking for or not. (Generally not!)

On the other hand, browsing along the amazing, the beautiful and the ugly is a pleasure in its own right so I thought, for this post, I’d share with you four links to wonderful images of wonderful parts of nature.

The first is Science Images at PSmigrographs.

I didn’t find this for myself. Val Littlewood at Pencil and Leaf recommended it in one of her posts. It is the world through a microscope and she was sending us to see pollen.

But it isn’t just pollen. There are the stoma in leaves, tarantula fangs and bee’s penises! The oil glands in lavender and geraniums too. And gecko toes!

On the front page, there’s a slide show. I suggest you take a few moments to watch that, then go exploring. You won’t be able to resist! Set aside an hour. Bookmark it - you’ll want to go back!

December 9th 2010
Next up is Plants for a Future - an illustrated, annotated index of 7,000 Edible, Medicinal and Useful plants.

It’s another wander-round site. Here’s an example. Type Ground Elder into the search box. You will be taken to a grid which gives the Latin name (Aegopodium podagraria) and tells you this plant is in the family Umbelliferai.

Click the Latin name and this comes up

Beautiful, isn’t it? Botanical drawing (wonderful in its own right) photograph, quick information about where to find it, whether to eat it, how to look after it (!) then lots of detail in the text.

Another site to spend some time in! Another bookmark.

Next is Wildlife and Nature Photo Gallerya Czech site for stock photos -  - in other words, photos for sale. You may not be wanting to buy them but you may well enjoy browsing.

IVY BERRIES - December 3rd 2010
Choose your preferred language by clicking on a flag in the top right hand corner.

I enjoy the fungi section.

There’s a photographic index at the top of the page if you are looking for a particular type of mushroom.

I tried Stomach Fungus,

in part because of its name and in part because these endearing little creature-like fungi (Lycoperdon echinatum) were illustrated.

If you scroll down the page you will be able to click a link to say why you want mushrooms. . . for eating?  to know which are poisonous?

December 9th 2010
Then there’s a link for mushrooms by the month. Here’s December.

I’m not clear December where but I don’t mind. The fungi are wonderful to look at!

If you already know precisely which mushroom you are looking for, there’s a list of botanical and common names at the foot of the main fungi page. On the other hand - you can have fun clicking on a name which intrigues you to find out what it describes.

Have a look at Porcelain Fungus (beautiful)

Red Banded Polypore (disgusting)

Scarlet Elf Cup (Sarcoscypha sp.pretty and weird)

Scarlet Elf Cup - (Sarcoscypha coccinea - colourful and surprising)

Holwaya mucida - Crinula calciiformis (a sort of drowning hand)

Remember, this is not a scientific site, it is a photographic one so it isn’t exhaustive . . . none the less . . .

And the last recommendation - Alan Silverside’s Lichen Pages on Last Dragon.Org

December 9th 2010
These pages put me in my place, bring me to my knees, almost make me despair. It’s part of a project in process. I first went there hoping it would help me identify a lichen near where I live. I came away knowing I hadn’t a hope and that lichen experts must be among the cleverest scientists in the world.

Here’s the page for lichen with Latin names beginning either with N or O.

Imagine being able to tell some of these apart with confidence!

(It’s a site in progress. I hope there will, one day, be easier ways to find things by description but it is interesting even without them.)

If this leaves you depressed rather than in awe of Stephen, maybe you should return to

Science Images at PSmigrographs.

and look at some of the photos from the flowers and plants

or, if you are feeling brave, the ticks and fleas

 hmm . . . maybe you’d prefer to stick to pollen!

I hope you enjoy these sites - the dramatic, the beautiful and the useful!


leavesnbloom said...

Oh I have to have a browse at that lichen site.

Sorry about the photos - I'm not sure what is wrong as I don't even put full resolution photos on and have them optimized for fast loading on the web. I wonder if it is because I host them from tiny pics. Maybe I'll try and host them from now on on a different site and see if that helps.

leavesnbloom said...

Lucy would you mind going over to my leavesnbloom photography blog and see if you can see those as they are hosted from a different place and it would help me decide whether I need to move away from tinypics.

sharp green pencil said...

Hi there Lucy.. Glad you liked the great Microphoto site!Its quite wonderful. I am currently enjoying fabulous New Orleans and helping to run a B&B there.. Phew! busy busy and no time to blog! ... but hope to catch up soon.
No snow yet here but very cold!
bye for now

Helen said...

Lucy, Such great procrastination, I mean *research* material. The lichens are fascinating -- we saw many of those shaggy Ramelinas when were in Iceland but never knew their name. Thanks for all the links.

Eliza said...

OOH! All this eye candy is so distracting...

I completely agree about lichen identification. Love all the fungi photos!

leavesnbloom said...

Try the link now Lucy.

I moved the pics from that post to photobucket and will use that site from now on. No one has contacted me about not seeing the pictures and normally if something is wrong someone will send me an email.


Cynthia said...

Definitely bookmarking this post so I can leisurely browse the links with my 12 year old son. He'll be fascinated!

fer said...

a lot of nice and interesting things there. Thanks for the links!

Lucy said...

Leavesnbloom - I really appreciate that you have made changes to your blog so photos are now instantly accessible. Thank you.

Hello Val - there was me thinking you were back in this country for good! Hope things are looking up and that they stay that way.

I'm glad the link enabled you to identify the lichen, Helen. Just as it is sometimes liberating not to bother with knowing what something is, sometimes not-knowing can be very frustrating.

Hello Eliza. Glad you enjoyed the good things to see on these sites.

Cynthia - if you have time to say what your son thinks of the links, it would be interesting to know.

Hello Fer. It's good to have things to ramble through, isn't it? Then, when you need them, you know where they are.