Flowers of AugustTuesday 1st August 2000
A FEW MARBLE GALLS, which are still green as they develop, grow at the base of some of the leaves of a Sessile Oak that forms part of a laneside hedge. Two of the galls have started growing into each other. Each gall is the home of the one of the larva of the Gall wasp, Andricus kollari, which will emerge as a part of an all-female generation of wasps in September and October.
A number of insect parasites and inquilines (lodgers) share the gall. They will overwinter in the gall and emerge next May or June, each of them leaving a tiny round exit hole.
The yellow button flowers of Tansy (left), leaning out from the edge of the towpath, show up well against the indigo of blue sky reflected in dark waters of the canal.
Another summer flower, Yarrow (right), has also come into flower in wayside grassy places. Both these members of the daisy family were renowned from Ancient Greek times for their reputed medicinal powers. Yarrow's latin name Achillea comes from the Greek warrior Achilles who is said to have used it to treat his wounds, while tansy's latin name, Tanacetum, comes from a Greek word for immortality.
Buddleia, sometimes known as the Butterfly Bush, is now in bloom, but today these garden shrubs are attracting only bees. Along the hedgerows and towpath a few Brown butterflies are active; Meadow Browns and their smaller relative the Wall Brown. one of the Walls is a female; she lacks the diagonal bands of scent scales across the forewings that distinguish the male.
A Song Thrush is searching for food on grass beneath trees in the park, a Common Tern flies along above the canal.