Blog launched: Sept 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mandragora officinarum

DSCN3350 [Mandragora officinarum]

This plant has been well-known since antiquity mainly because of its toxicity and its anthropomorphic root shape. Its toxicity and its pharmaceutical properties led to its extensive use in medicine while its root shape led people to associate the plant with numerous superstitions and magic filters.

“There is a superstition that if a person pulls up this root they will be condemned to hell. Therefore in the past people have tied the roots to the bodies of animals and then used these animals in order to pull the roots out of the soil.” [Wikipedia]

Kea: 29/11/2008, photo © Tony Taglides
DSCN7058 [Mandragora officinarum]

Its blue-violet flowers appear from March to April and have both male and female reproductive organs; a fact that makes it easier for insects to pollinate them.

Kea: 15/03/2009, photo © Tony Taglides

DSCN4984 [Mandragora officinarum]

Its fruit, on the other hand, was believed [and they say it’s still believed in the East] to facilitate pregnancy!

Irakleia: 26/03/2010, photo © Tony Taglides

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Colchicum atticum

CCC0882 [Colchicum atticum]

Mt. Hymittos: 26/11/2010, photo © Tony Taglides

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fringilla coelebs

DSCN4195 [Fringilla coelebs]

Photographed on Mt. Hymittos on November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Haunted Tree

0654 -2 [The Haunted Tree]

Athens: 04/06/2006, photo © Tony Taglides

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Prospero autumnale

DSCN2687 [Prospero autumnale]

The flowers of this plant come in pink, blue or violet and occasionally in white. They’re tiny. Never more than 1 cm in diameter.

Mt. Hymittos: 28/09/2008, photo © Tony Taglides

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cichorium intibus

AAA3434 [Cichorium intibus]

This flower is a pleasant, unmistakable sight by the side of the road but it remains open only in the morning and closes by midday. Its leaves are edible and much favored by the Greeks as a salad.

Mt. Elikonas 22/09/2008, photo © Tony Taglides

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shooting flowers in the rain

DSCN3319 [Shooting flowers in the rain]

Nafpaktos: 26/11/2008, photo © Tony Taglides

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ecballium elaterium

BBB9492 HF [Ecballium elaterium]

Ecballium elaterium is far from
being attractive but it’s an interesting plant. Both its male and female flowers co-exist on the same plant. Male flowers have yellow anthers (as we can see in this picture) while female flowers have green ovaries. The plant gets its name “Squirting cucumber” from the unusual fact that, when its fruit is ripe, it squirts a stream of liquid over a considerable distance and so it scatters its seeds to spread the species around.

Mt. Hymittos: 15/10//2010, photo © Tony Taglides

BBB9559 [Ecballium elaterium]

Here, the female flower of Ecballium elaterium with its characteristic green ovaries

Mt. Hymittos: 15/10//2010, photo © Tony Taglides

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Phalacrocorax carbo

BBB7787 [Phalacrocorax carbo]

The Great Cormorant is one of the few birds which can move its eyes; a fact that helps them in hunting. In the picture, by looking at different directions, the birds become mutually supportive and they can survey the area in virtually any direction!

Kerkini: 06/06/2010, photo © Tony Taglides

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mantis religiosa

Insect collection item # 2833 [Praying mantis]

May look like an alien creature but it's an insect known to practice cannibalism on its own male partner during and right after copulation. However, there are some lucky males that occasionally manage to escape!

Mt. Paneio: 12/11/2009, photo © Tony Taglides

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crocus laevigatus

CCC0562 [Crocus laevigatus]
Mt. Hymittos: 02/11/2010, photo © Tony Taglides

CCC0548 [Crocus laevigatus] 

Mt. Hymittos: 02/11/2010, photo © Tony Taglides

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spiranthes spiralis

AAA4436 [Spiranthes spiralis]

Lavrio: 04/11/2008, photo © Tony Taglides

DSCN3148 [Spiranthes spiralis]

Lavrio: 03/11/2008, photo © Tony Taglides

Spiranthes is the only wild orchid that flowers in Autumn. It's a charming little orchid with characteristic tiny white flowers arranged spirally on the stem. This spiral arrangement gives the flower its name.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pseudophilotes vicrama

DSCN2297 [Pseudophilotes vicrama]

A different, equally beautiful, view of Pseudophilotes vicrama. The butterfly got its English name "Chequered Blue" from its prominent chequered fringe on the wings.

 Peania: 12/04/2008, photo © Tony Taglides