It's raining DNA hallelujah

Common Vetch

Rosebay Willow Herb

Broad leaved Dock

The fact that ‘Wild Flowers’ are so called tells us a lot about the way we view nature.  They are named after the part which appeals to us aesthetically.  I think they should be  renamed  ‘Wild  Seeds.’  I can imagine our early ancestors would have been a lot more  interested in this, possibly edible,  part of the plant.

To the plant this is  the business end of the year – the time when it makes copies of itself. It also makes means of dispersing these copies. Hence the ‘possibly edible’ part - some plants bribing other organisms to act as their couriers – “here’s a juicy blackberry for you if carry these mini-me’s down to the bottom of the hill”.


Himalayn Balsam

Over the last  couple of weeks, on my patch walks,  I’ve been marveling at the variety and sheer abundance of these seedheads.  A windy day transformed a field full of thistles into a downy blizzard. Berries have been ripening – an ‘eat-me’ advertising campaign. Himalayan Balsam has been setting seed booby traps – ready to turn bazooka at the slightest touch.

It’s not just members of patch’s plant community that have been busy scattering their genes. A few weeks ago the swarms of  flying ants were testament to the biological  prime directive – ‘go forth and multiply’.

It’s been raining DNA. Those thistle seeds  (so good at dispersing, that they manage to find their way to the upstairs bathroom)  are tiny  instruction manuals – ‘this is how to make a thistle.’ The urge, the impetus to do this, is so strong it’s as  if the patch has exploded – one great stretch of  genetic code.


Hairy Tare

Yellow Flag Iris

A Swarn of flying ants is just as much a 'blizzard of DNA' as the plant version


Broom seed pod - the white hairs give it a fantastic fringed effect

Recent Patch Sightings
28/9 - Rare Moth - Blastobasis rebeli (my second in garden & 5th for Lancs)
1/9 - Juvenile Chiffchaff in the garden do its ' crazy thing '
5/9 - Moths Pinion-streaked snout (new) and Dusky Thorn (new)
6/9 - Ichneumon wasp Macrocentrus bicolor
7/9 - Moths Ypsolopha sequella (new) Mompha locupletella (new) Black Rustic moth 13/9 - New fly - Geomyza tripunctata
16/9 - Birch Sheild bug
17/9 - Pink-footed Goose 110 south - early arrival

Birch Shieldbug (Elasmostethus intersinctus)

Dusky Thorn

*‘It’s been raining DNA’ is a phrased borrowed  phrase from Richard Dawkin’s book 'The Blind Watchmaker'.
** My patch walks have also been punctuated by my trying to get seedhead photographs from below, for no better reason than the fact that it’s view you don’t normally see and also it puts them centre stage.  

It’s a question of scale - a Redwood Tree is majestic – from down here a  Hogweed seedhead on a tall stem appears almost a striking.

Together these photographs form a 'Vole’s Guide to the Seedheads of Britain'.  The voles, along with other small mamals, seem to be massively under-resourced in this area.
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