Sunday, 19 September 2010

Reds

Yesterday, I focused on the monochrome side of our locality. Today, following our walk around the area, the theme has to return to the reds. Two in particular were in brightly-coloured evidence as the sun struggled to peep through the clouds. Firstly and by far the most numerous, the Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). I have mentioned these small trees on many occasions in the past, but their beauty will always withstand further scrutiny.
Yet another member of the Rose family, Hawthorns are very common in the British countryside and are in the forefront of necessity to our birds, enabling many of them to get through the winter by supplying millions of red fruits. Those growing along the banks of the Nutbrook canal are always well covered with fruits at this time of year, probably due to the constant availability of water. But a few trees have more than others.
The second red fruit today comes from the wild, Common Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum). Not so common as the Hawthorn, it can be seen scrambling among the other trees and bushes of the hedgerows. Also popular with the birds, it is well known in it's cultivated forms as a garden favourite, but the wild variety is every bit as spectacular. The flowers are just as colourful and heavily scented and the fruits are just as red and juicy - but mildly poisonous to humans.
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