Thursday, 13 June 2013

Odds and Ends

Stuck in this morning due to the falling rain, here are some more pictures from our recent walks.  Growing on the ground along the old West Hallam Colliery railway lines and desiccating in the sunshine, there is a large quantity of something called Reindeer Lichen (Cladina portentosa).  Able to withstand the drought of these arid areas as well as the wet of heaths and moorland, this is a very versatile lichen and has a strangely attractive look as it carpets the ground.
Atop Shipley Hill, as well as the delightfully colouful Rhododendrons and Azaleas there are a few Larch Trees (Larix decidua).  These deciduous conifers are covering their branches with bright green new needles and look fresh in the sunshine.  along with these needles, the cones are appearing too.
These cones, looking rather like tiny, green bee hives are the female flowers of the Larch and are accompanied by the much smaller, red male flowers, which in these pictures, are not quite open yet.
It's always worth while taking some time to look closely at tree flowers.  Often held on branches high in the air and too far away to be appreciated, when you get the opportunity to look at them at eye level, they reward you with a surprising beauty - even when they are not of the more 'conventional' flower design.
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