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Posts Tagged ‘Rock posy Lichen’

Here are some of the things I’ve seen in woods, parks and yards this week.

 1. Skunk Cabbage in Snow

The skunk cabbage flowers (Symplocarpus foetidus) just shrugged off the recent snow and melted their way through it. These plants use cellular respiration to produce energy in the form of heat, and can raise the air temperature around themselves enough to melt snow and ice. The process is called thermogenesis, and very few plants have this ability. In spite of being able to fuel their own furnaces, these plants don’t seem to be in any hurry to grow leaves. You can see a small one just starting between the two flowers.

 2. Amber Jelly Fungus aka Exidia recisa

Amber jelly fungus (Exidia recisa) looks like cranberry jelly to me, but the software I use to cheat color blindness sees more brown than anything else. This fungus likes to grow on willow trees and is also called willow brain fungus. It also grows on alders and poplars, and that is where I usually find it.

3. Red Maple Buds

The plum colored bud scales of red maples (Acer rubrum) have opened enough to let the tomato red flower buds begin warming in the sun. It won’t be too much longer before we see the bright red blossoms dangling from this tree’s branches.

4. American Elm Buds

The oval, flat, pointy buds of American elm (Ulmus americana) also have plum colored scales, but what they hide inside is much browner than that of red maple. Before Dutch elm disease wiped out most of our elms in the 50s and 60s Keene, New Hampshire had so many huge old elms that it was called the Elm City. Many businesses in the area still use Elm City in their names, even though most of the trees are now gone. There are a few hardy survivors widely scattered about the region though, and I visited one of them to get this picture. Elm flowers are beautiful enough to warrant a return trip.

5. Shagbark hickory Bud

The buds of shagbark hickory (Carya ovate) won’t win any beauty contests but they are slowly unfurling themselves, just as the earth is slowly warming and awakening to welcome spring.  There is no doubt that nature is turning to a new season, whether we are watching or not.

6. Scilla

Speaking of awakening-the scilla (scilla siberica) bulbs that I planted 2 years ago are just starting to show some color. It’ll be nice to see their cheery blue blossoms under the honeysuckles at the edge of the forest again. These bulbs are easily confused with glory of the snow (Chionodoxa) because the differences are so slight (flattened stamens) that even botanists have trouble telling them apart. It is for that reason that many botanists think the two plants should be classified as one.

 7. Cornelian Cherry Bud aka Cornus mas

We’re lucky to have a cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) in a local park and I was happy to see it showing some color. This very unusual, almost unknown shrub isn’t a cherry at all-it is a in the dogwood (Cornus) family and blooms very early in the spring before the leaves appear. It hails from Europe and Asia and has beautiful yellow, 4 petaled flowers that grow in large clusters. This is a rarely seen, under-used plant that would be welcome in any garden.

8. Box Flower Buds

Also getting ready to bloom was this boxwood shrub (Buxus sempervirens.)  Though the buds are white, soon small greenish yellow flowers will line each stem at the leaf axils. This shrub is very common and is often used for hedges.

9. Oak Rough Bullet Gall

Rough bullet galls on oaks are caused by the oak rough bullet gall wasp (Disholcaspis quercusmamma.) According to the Iowa State University Extension Service, in the fall the adult wasp chews its way out of the gall and lays its eggs in the dormant terminal buds of the oak host tree. In the spring when the egg hatches and the white, legless larvae feeds the oak tree will grow around it, completely enclosing it in a gall. The larva feeds on the inside of the gall, becomes an adult, and the cycle repeats itself. These galls are found only on bur oak, (Quercus macrocarpa,) and swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor.) The galls don’t hurt the tree, but they do excrete a sticky substance which attracts ants and bees.

 10. Opened Goldenrod Gall

 In this case the cycle didn’t get to repeat itself, because a bird pecked its way into this goldenrod gall and ate the fly larva it found inside. If the larva had escaped the gall on its own the evidence would be a tiny, round hole-not the large, ragged gash seen in the photo. Chickadees, woodpeckers, and even some beetles eat the larva of the goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis.)

 11. Scattered Rock Posy Lichen

I went back to visit the one scattered rock posy lichen (Rhizoplaca subdiscrepans) that I know of in this area to see what affect the recent cold and snow had on it. It doesn’t seemed to have changed at all since I saw it last month, except maybe for a few more flat, pale orange fruiting bodies (Apothecia.) It grows on granite in full sun.

Only with a leaf
can I talk of the forest.
~Visar Zhiti

Thanks for coming by.

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Up until Christmas we’ve had a snowless winter here, more or less, but we woke to a dusting on Christmas morning and Wednesday night into Thursday we had a real snowstorm that dropped 4 or 5 inches. These pictures were taken before all of that happened though, so you won’t see much snow here just yet.

1. Christmas Eve Moon

The moon rose early on Christmas Eve.

2. Lumix

I was surprised to find this under the tree on Christmas day. Not too long ago I bought a Canon SX 40HS camera and I’m real happy with it, except when it comes to macro mode. It’s probably me doing something wrong, but I just can’t get as close as I want to with the SX40. Melanie at the Lemony Egghead blog uses a Panasonic Lumix camera and does some amazing things with it, so I decided that I’d get one sometime. “Sometime” came a little earlier than I expected, because my kids got it for me for Christmas. You can check out Melanie’s blog by clicking here. You won’t be sorry that you did.

3. Dec. 26th Witch Hazel Blooming

The Panasonic is a great camera. I took a picture of this very confused witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) with it on the day after Christmas and the Leica lens is just as clear and sharp as you would expect anything with the Leica name on it to be. Our native witch hazel blooms in late fall, but I’ve never seen it bloom on Christmas.

4. Orange Rock Posy Lichen aka Rhizoplaca chrysoleuca

I’ve never been able to get this close to a lichen with any camera I’ve owned. This bit of orange rock posy lichen (Rhizoplaca chrysoleuca) was about as big as an aspirin tablet.

5. Lichens with Lumix

Lichens take on an other-worldly appearance when you get in real close. One of the reasons I think macro photography is so much fun is because it always reveals things that I couldn’t see when I was taking the picture. These lichens appear to be some kind of rock tripe but I can’t find them in books or on line.

6. Orange Witch's Butter 2

This orange witch’s butter (Dacrymyces palmatus ) was frozen solid and even had a little snow on it. The color becomes more intense as it dries and I was able to spot it from quite a distance.

7. Rose

This rose has seen better days, but I still find it fascinating to look at.

8. Partridge Berry

The twin flowers of the partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) have a fused ovary and form one berry, but you can always see where the two flowers were by looking for the dimples on the berry. This berry had a face on it.

9. Black Eyed Susan Seed Head

A common Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) seed head, looking uncommonly geometric.

10. Inner Bark of Staghorn Sumac

I switched back to the Canon to get this shot of the colorful inner bark of a staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina.)  At least I think it’s a staghorn sumac-I visit a spot quite often that had several old trees blow down last summer so I’m assuming this is one of them. The inner bark of staghorn sumac was used to make dye by Native Americans. It looks bright red to me but my color finding software tells me that it’s brown. 

11. Moon and Jupiter on Christmas Night

Something I wouldn’t ask the Panasonic camera to do is take a shot of the not quite full moon and Jupiter like the Canon did on Christmas night.

12. Christmas Kisses  

But when I need to get in real close I’ll call on the Panasonic every time.  I’m sure it will see a lot of use as I walk off the Christmas goodies!

When there’s snow on the ground, I like to pretend I’m walking on clouds ~Takayuki Ikkaku

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and that the weather treated you kindly. Thanks for visiting.

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