Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Red and Orange

After the weekend and with the weather having taken a long-awaited turn for the better, we have been enjoying some nice walks around the area and taking in the flowers which are all bursting into life.  Among these is a rather beautiful little plant with distinctive red flowers in small globes atop its stems.  The Salad Burnet (Sangquisorba minor).
Salad Burnet is a member of the Rose family and has been used in salads (hence the name) to give a light 'cucumber' flavour.  The leaves tend to become a little bitter as they age and so, the youngest leaves are thought best.  But it was not the leaves which caught my eye, rather the delightful flowers.  Among the red female flowers, many white male stamens droop down ready to give up their pollen.
On our way back home, crossing a sunny meadow, I spotted something else red.  This time it was a small insect sitting on a Hogweed plant, a Red and Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata). This is an unmistakable member of the Froghopper family, but unlike many of their cousins, which feed on stems and produce the familiar 'Cuckoo Spit' the nymphs of these Red and Black Froghoppers feed on underground stems and roots.  But when they emerge as adults, they look wonderful.
Closer to home and a male Orange Tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) was flitting among the hedgerows before settling on a Hawthorn leaf.  There are a number of sub-species of Orange Tip and this one is sub-species 'britannica' and is found throughout mainland Britain.  Ireland and the Isle of Man have their own sub-species 'hibernica'.
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