Paddy’s Blog

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Blushing Berries

Audio version of Blushing Berries  As August progresses into deep autumn berries tinted with pink and red begin appearing on the hedgerows.  Technically, some of these berries are drupes which are fruits with seeds that are like small stones such as those in holly “berries”.  These flushing colours will eventually change to strong reds, blacks…

Butterflies

The Large White Butterfly

Audio version of Butterflies Large white (1)  One of the commonest butterflies in Ireland is the Large white butterfly (Pieris brassica) or Bánóg mhór in Irish which is widespread during the months May to September.  The females have two black spots on the upper sides of each of their forewings and dark tips on these…

Pea-Flower Lookalikes

Bird’s-Foot Trefoil and Meadow Vetchling

Audio version of Pea-Flower Lookalikes Bird’s-foot trefoil (1) Bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) or Crobh éin corraigh in Irish is a member of the pea family. (1) Like all members of this family it adds fertility to the soil by harvesting nitrogen from the air and making it available in the soil for plants to use. …

Umbellifers

Umbrella Shaped Flowers

Audio version of Umbellifers – P Madden Wild carrot (1a) The descriptive word umbellifer is derived from the Latin word umbrella which means a sunshade or parasol. The flowers called umbels are held up by ribs like those on an umbrella.  Plants in this family generally have hollow, ribbed stems and divided leaves.  The roots…

Woundworts

Flowers With Lips

Audio version of Flowers – P Madden Hedge woundwort (1a) These flowering plants are members of the labiate family.  The word labiate is derived from the Latin word, labium which means a lip.  Flowers in this family are tubular and have two lips, an upper one and a lower one.  The upper one is called…

Wildflowers

A Trio of Willowherbs

Audio version of Willowherbs – P Madden Infloresence of great willowherb (1a) Willowherbs are flowering now. Their four petalled flowers vary in colour from deep pink to pale pink; their leaves are toothed and lance-shaped like those on certain willow trees and their plumed seeds fly around like those from willow trees. Great willowherb (Epilobiumhirsutum)…

Prickly Customers

Spear Thistle, Creeping Thistle and Marsh Thistle

Audio version of Thistles – P Madden Painted Lady (1) These three thistles bloom from high summer until autumn.  They are excellent for attracting a wide variety of insects because of their plentiful supplies of nectar.  Their seeds are eaten by birds, especially goldfinches.  They are also the foodplants of the Painted lady butterfly. (1)…

Legumes

Peas for Bees

Audio version of Bees – P Madden Sweet peas (1a) These flowering plants are members of the pea family.  This is the third largest flower family in the world and includes peas, beans, lupins, wisterias, gorse, clovers, brooms and trefoils. (1a,1b) They have five petals which include a flag or standard which is upright, two…

Bindweeds

Trumpet-Faced Thugs

Audio version of Bindweeds – P Madden The Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) or Ialus fáil in Irish and the Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) or Ainleog in Irish are blooming now. (1a;1b) The former, which can grow to a height of three metres can be seen in hedges, woodland edges and waste ground; the latter is…