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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 6th, 2010, 11:20 am 
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The wood cow-wheat, LK article HERE is described as violet or purple.
Reaction: Oh, no, never! The patches of it where it grows are so evidently blue - sometimes a lighter powdery blue - and yellow. Its Swedish name is Natt-och-dag (Night and day) or Svenska soldaten (Swedish soldier) because of the blue and yellow colouring.
But look at the photos in Virtuella Floran. Only one photo shows the "right" colours. Does this cow-wheat vary in colour locally?
Second surprise: its geographical distribution, as usual, link HERE. I have always believed that it is a widely spread, common plant at least in northern Europe. It isn't. It isn't there at all in Norway, or UK, or France, and only in parts of Denmark and Finland and even Sweden.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 6th, 2010, 9:37 pm 
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Liis wrote:
But look at the photos in Virtuella Floran. Only one photo shows the "right" colours. Does this cow-wheat vary in colour locally?

Hello Liis :wave: , I'm no specialist on cow-wheat, but I know that a lot of plants have different coloured flowers depending on the soil.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 7th, 2010, 7:40 pm 
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leonia wrote:
Liis wrote:
But look at the photos in Virtuella Floran. Only one photo shows the "right" colours. Does this cow-wheat vary in colour locally?

Hello Liis :wave: , I'm no specialist on cow-wheat, but I know that a lot of plants have different coloured flowers depending on the soil.

You are right. Leonia, they do, and blue is of course often a particularly changeable colour. That I "never" saw a purple wood cow-wheat can have another explanation too: if it was the "wrong" colour, I can just have thought it was field cow-wheat, Melampyrum arvense.
That one is said to make rye flour darker and "fieryier" if it grows as a weed in rye fields. I thought corncockle, Agrostemma githago, and even more the ergot fungus did that ... :puzzled:
But there is plenty of clearly patriotically blue-and-yellow wood cow-wheat here in Mid-Sweden!


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 9th, 2010, 8:55 am 
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Bats:
in today's front page article we are advised that the way to distinguish whiskered bats from Brandt's bats is by their teeth ...
Hmmm. Reminds me of another id tip: what to do when you meet a hare and don't know if it is a mountain hare or a brown hare. Fold its ears forward. If they go over the nose it is a brown hare. If shorter, then a mountain hare. :innocent:


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 9th, 2010, 10:11 am 
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"I'm not a hare!" by Daniil (Source: http://naturelight.ru/show_photo/33505.html)
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 12th, 2010, 8:09 am 
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unp wrote:
"I'm not a hare!" by Daniil (Source: http://naturelight.ru/show_photo/33505.html)

:2thumbsup: for the "no-hare-stare", unp! Thanks!

Arne Ader’s main page photo last week showed lovely yellow flower spikes with a curious name: agrimony : to do with agony? agriculture? alimony? Neither, it seems, the origins of the word aren’t clear.
Strange name in Estonian too: Maarjalepp, Our Lady’s alder.
Explanation, anyone? – it is in no way that I can see like an alder!
I have never seen them as beautifully tall as in Arne’s photo. One of the two very similar species has a lovely, lemony smell (fragrant agrimony, Agrimonia procera). It doesn’t seem to grow in Estonia, otherwise quite common on the European continent and UK http://linnaeus.nrm.se/flora/di/rosa/agrim/agriprov.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 12th, 2010, 11:48 am 
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About agrimony
---History---The name Agrimony is from Argemone, a word given by the Greeks to plants which were healing to the eyes, the name Eupatoria refers to Mithridates Eupator, a king who was a renowned concoctor of herbal remedies. The magic power of Agrimony is mentioned in an old English medical manuscript:
'If it be leyd under mann's heed,
He shal sleepyn as he were deed;
He shal never drede ne wakyn
Till fro under his heed it be takyn.'

from http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/agrim015.html


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 16th, 2010, 8:04 am 
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The ever-lasting wonders and woes of words ... and hmmm, knowledge and internationalisation ...
The main page article about forest dung beetles explained what I saw crawling around when I was small. There were no cows, but plenty of decaying mushrooms, so very likely it was the forest dung beetle.

However: "Tordyveln flyger i skymningen - The dor beetle flies at dusk" is a poetic, mysterious, classic Swedish book by Maria Gripe for younger teenagers (and grownups), beloved, made into a radio series.

Dor beetle is another species of dung beetles. With the Estonian name of the dor beetle, sitasitikas, the sh*t beetle, it isn't quite the same feeling ...
Will have to check what the book is called in Estonian - if it has been translated :mrgreen:

Thank you, Jo, for agrimony. "Never drede ne wakyn": so was it a good thing to have under one's head, or not? Helps against snakebites too, I saw.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 16th, 2010, 2:51 pm 
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Liis, I was not sure about "never dread ne wakin" - oh, sorry, it is "wakyn"!
Not dread (fear to) waken.

But then what is ne


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 17th, 2010, 4:54 pm 
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Jo UK wrote:
Liis, I was not sure about "never dread ne wakin" - oh, sorry, it is "wakyn"!
Not dread (fear to) waken. But then what is ne

I think I read it as roughly "no dread [of whatever] nor waking", with ne as a negation of some kind.
Ambivalent sentences are nice, open for one's own reading!

Agrimony is much more prosaically called småborre, "little bur" in Swedish; the seeds do cling to ones clothes and cats.
Its leaves are said to turn red in autumn. That might, just barely, have something to do with the curious Estonian name Maarjalepp, Mary's or Our Lady's alder, since the word lepp, now alder, originally meant blood and red.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 20th, 2010, 11:12 am 
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That book "Tordyveln flyger i skymningen - The dor beetle flies at dusk" is translated into Estonian, and entomologically very correctly entitled: "Sitasitikas lendab videvikus" :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 21st, 2010, 9:12 am 
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About meadow-sweet -
opening the new m-elk (moose-elk :mrgreen: season - if it ever was closed):
Elks are supposed to like it and eat it even if cattle don't. Its Swedish name is älggräs, literally "elk grass". But it may simply be that it grows where elks like to stand around in summer - fresh meadows at rivers and lakes.
Has anyone seen elks eating it?
It contains acetylic salicylic acid, a.k.a. aspirin, so it might be good for their headaches and stroke prevention, in moderate doses.

Bilberries and blue mouths , and hands: trying to wash the stains off with soap make them even bluer (alkaline = blue; acid = reddish-purple). Not native in N. America, but its near relative the bog bilberry is a plant that for once occurs nearly over all of the northern hemisphere (distribution map HERE). And yet seems to be very anonymous. Many have never noticed it, and of those who have many maintain that it is poisonous. I have never met anyone who has been ill from the berries, but then, very few have actually tasted them. Has anyone on the forum?
The leaves get beautiful, fiery autumn colours, as do bilberry leaves.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 21st, 2010, 8:43 pm 
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I guess we in western North America have huckleberries (Myrtillus, Vaccinium, and Pyxothamnus), which this site (from U of Idaho which is working on making a commercial plant) says are variously called huckleberries and bilberries.


http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/sandpoint/huckleberry.asp


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2010, 7:28 am 
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alice44 wrote:
I guess we in western North America have huckleberries (Myrtillus, Vaccinium, and Pyxothamnus), which this site (from U of Idaho which is working on making a commercial plant) says are variously called huckleberries and bilberries.
http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/sandpoint/huckleberry.asp

Alice, it does show that using scientific names isn't showing off or snobbery, it is the only reasonable way - outside Googling :mrgreen: ? - to be understood by each other internationally. I will try to remember to include the scientific names.
Of course the names in various languages are interesting to know - sometimes they are the point really - and they should certainly be there too.

It looks as if ornithologists have a somewhat better order in their nomenclature lists; they generally have "approved" names in English. I asked about plant names in English at the Swedish Museum of Natural History; they said there was no single "official" source even for UK names.

(The bilberry for picking wild and eating in Europe, the "mucky mouth" one, is Vaccinium myrtillus, its more globally spread relative, suspected of being poisonous, is V. uliginosum. - V. myrtillus has been rather difficult to tame for cultivation.)

Sneak correction: myrtillus, of course. Never read any Latin!


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2010, 8:25 am 
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Liis I found it interesting is that eastern huckleberry (so also in the US) is a very different plant (from another genus?) and NOT very tasty. The site I read only sometimes uses the Latin names and I did find myself getting very confused :slap:

My dad says huckleberries have as much flavour (they are tiny -- smaller than the smallest blueberry you could buy) as a whole watermelon -- they are a staple of bears. BUT I have no idea which of those genus is a "huckleberry" to him. To date they are strictly wild.

I suspect the Mountain Huckleberries -- V. membranaceum native to the northwestern U.S. and western Canada, with outcroppings in Arizona and Minnesota -- is the plant that they want as the basis for their domestication.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2010, 9:25 am 
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It seems as if we might have a vegetative (vegetarian?) elk/moose debate coming, doesn't it? :book: :innocent:
I am confused too. My Museum of Natural History sources and others show that the genuine bilberry, blåbär, mustikas, Vaccinium myrtillus, isn't native to N. America.
US sources such as the USDA maintain that it is. However, an illustration with caption V. myrtillus very clearly shows V. uliginosum, the bog bilberry, odon, sinikas, a very different matter indeed in the kitchen at least.

I don't know whether V. myrtillus is difficult to domesticate (doesn't much like rich soil, for instance) or simply not worth the effort - 17% of Sweden is said to have bilberry growing on it!


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2010, 1:18 am 
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Liis wrote:
About meadow-sweet -
opening the new m-elk (moose-elk :mrgreen: season - if it ever was closed):
Elks are supposed to like it and eat it even if cattle don't. Its Swedish name is älggräs, literally "elk grass". But it may simply be that it grows where elks like to stand around in summer - fresh meadows at rivers and lakes.
Has anyone seen elks eating it?
It contains acetylic salicylic acid, a.k.a. aspirin, so it might be good for their headaches and stroke prevention, in moderate doses.


I am overwhelmed with relief to hear that the Elk/Moose are using preventive medicine for their headaches, hearts and arteries.. :slap: :mrgreen:
:rotf:
Liis,I see you are still having some troubles.. :shake:

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2010, 6:56 am 
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Aspirin is actually even named for meadow-sweet, Filipendula ulmaria these days, but Spiraea ulmaria in the 19th century.
The salicylic acid needed for aspirin used to be extracted from willows (Salix) - willow bark has been known for very long as a painkiller - but chemists at Bayer, Germany, started using meadow-sweet instead, and patented Aspirin in 1899.

Aspirin history, with synthesis recipe, HERE :innocent:


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2010, 9:35 pm 
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Interesting to know (besides all the other interesting things you noted) for me was the English name meadow sweet for the plant with the German name Mädesüß. I used to think the part Mäde would come from Mädchen (maiden) but now I know it has it's origin in meadow and the German word Mahd for mowing. The word süß means sweet. :dunno:

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas from the Front Page
PostPosted: July 24th, 2010, 6:15 pm 
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I have just remembered a book I own (and treasure,though sometimes forgotten :blush: ) it is The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.
Jo probably knows it too.
It is a reproduction of a naturalist's diary for 1906. Edith Holden recorded the fauna and flora of the British countryside throughout the seasons of a year. This facsimile edition,with all the freshness of the original diary is a beautiful book.
I bought it in 1977.
The best I can do is show these extracts from a DVD online (making cards and stationary) ;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Tg7igaNh4
In the book,I can see many of the plants discussed here.
For instance she say's Meadow Sweet= Spirea salicifolea in.. 1906
Go figure.. :puzzled:

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