|Flowers (at the back - with the stamens|
(the bits that look like sticks).
The beginnings of berries at the front.
Right from when we are little, we learn to identify flowers by their petals. Children tend to draw daisies rather than roses and hardly anyone, if you handed them a pencil, would begin with a honeysuckle flower. Even now, I struggle to understand how a flower can have no petals.
|Ivy Flower Buds|
A petal-less flower seems more like a bud or a ready made berry. To an unscientific mind (like mine) it's bewildering. When is a flower not a flower?
Insects don't have this problem. As I noted last year, ivy flowers attract enormous numbers. This year, there are even more hoverflies (and there were a lot then!). The ivy flowers are clouded with them. Last year, blow flies (blue bottles and the like) basked on their leaves.
At present they are not so prominent but the big surprise is Red Admirals - not that they are here (for this is an ordinary habitat for them) but their numbers. They are big butterflies, a couple of inches across when their wings are open (big for here; maybe not for the Amazon!) and they have decided to become petals for the ivy flowers.
To human eyes, that is. They are not hanging around looking pretty on purpose. They are busy feeding. Most are getting ready to fly to Africa. AFRICA!. I'm not sure which is more bewildering - that ivy flowers have no petals or that butterflies fly to Africa. Just like many migratory birds, they mass on the south coast of England, ready for take off.
What surprises butterfly experts is that some of them now over-winter here.What surprises me is that these delicate beings ever leave! In the spring, there will be Red Admirals coming the other way. Something I'm not clear about is whether any are the same individuals. I'm hoping someone reading this will know how long they live. Do you?
For More Information About Red Admirals
The Red Admiral page on UK Butterflies - Lots of pictures and videos (including a Red Admiral coming out of its chrysalis).
The Red Admiral Page on Adrian Hoskin's site - Learn About Butterflies - More detailed (but very readable) information.
All photographs on this page taken 11th - 12th October 2012
For Previous Posts Loose and Leaf Posts About Ivy, click HERE