Living in Fresh Water

David Beeson, July 2021 Living in fresh water sets up challenges for organisms. It is quite a different environment from dry land or from salty marine places. And it is a rare space on Earth – 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh. Yet most of the earth’s fresh water is unavailable: locked up inContinue reading “Living in Fresh Water”

Simply Hoverflies

July is hoverfly season. David Beeson, 11th July. References: https://bna-naturalists.org/id-guide-hoverflies/ and https://www.naturespot.org.uk/gallery/hoverflies Flies have a single pair of wings and, before them, a pair of halteres (shown). Halteres are a pair of small club-shaped organs on the body of two orders of flying insects that provide information about body rotations during flight. They have compoundContinue reading “Simply Hoverflies”

Botany – Plant Movement

David Beeson, July 2021 Many people feel that plants ‘do not do anything’. Clearly, that is far from the truth, they often just work at a different speed. The clearest example could be a giant US redwood – they generate more height, more bulk and more potential offspring then me. But it takes them aContinue reading “Botany – Plant Movement”

The Eco-garden in Early July and the Problem with Clay Soils.

David Beeson Note: a garden meadow is a garden feature. It is designed as part of a garden and not as a wildlife reserve. The wildlife that comes with the garden meadow is a bonus. Our Summer Meadow is ideally only cut from early autumn and is part garden feature and part wildlife reserve. WithContinue reading “The Eco-garden in Early July and the Problem with Clay Soils.”

Waste ground?

David Beeson, 1st July 2021 North-west Hampshire’s non-urban areas are dominated by three land uses. 1) Forest on the alkaline, chalky clay caps, 2) Damp riverine meadows, some of which were proper water meadows until the mid-1900s and 3) Traditional farmland, which is mostly arable, growing grass crops – wheat, barley and blue ryegrass forContinue reading “Waste ground?”

Photo Essay – Plants in June

David Beeson, 24th June 2021 Just a ramble through some of my recent images. A bit of this and that! The Dorset area called Purbeck is a great wildlife location. It also offers ‘family’ entertainment and great cream teas at Worth Matravers. When the steam railway is not operating the track bed offers good sightingsContinue reading “Photo Essay – Plants in June”

Ox Drove Meadows

It is a small meadow ‘given’ to the local population to compensate for the urbanisation of other local habitat. The meadow will end up as a dog-running area but the thick hedges will supply additional dormouse habitat, nesting sites and food for many other creatures. Good to see the additional planting around the site. MyContinue reading “Ox Drove Meadows”

Some early summer orchids and other floral delights

David Beeson 07/06/2021 I have been looking in three spots for plants, on one occasion as John wielded his camera in pursuit of butterflies. Spot one was in my own garden: spotted, southern marsh, twayblade and lesser butterfly orchids are currently in flower. Location two was alongside the A303 road, the route from London toContinue reading “Some early summer orchids and other floral delights”

Botany 2 – They eat like animals and look (a little) like plants. And some wander around, as well. Amazing organisms! What are they?

David Beeson, mid-May 2021 Yes, you’ve guessed it … they are FUNGI. At one time the fungi were considered as part of the plant kingdom. Sure, they do produce spores (as are pollen grains and those liberated by ferns, horsetails and mosses) and a few have cellulose cell walls, but they contain no chlorophyll, andContinue reading “Botany 2 – They eat like animals and look (a little) like plants. And some wander around, as well. Amazing organisms! What are they?”

BOTANY 1: The world’s commonest green organisms

And they are not what you possibly think they are! David Beeson, mid-May 2021 Biology is currently dominated by the FIVE-KINGDOM concept of organism diversity: plants, animals, fungi, protista and those organisms without a nucleus, such as bacteria – the prokaryotes. Generally, plants, animals and fungi are mostly easy to recognise. Protista contains those nucleatedContinue reading “BOTANY 1: The world’s commonest green organisms”

Plants are Clever, 3

Plant metabolism David Beeson, 24th November 2020 Posh words, like metabolism, frighten some folks. Not you, I’m certain. This word just means the total chemistry inside an organism. And we, plants and even our friend Covid-19 are bundles of chemicals, and they all work via chemical reactions. Yup, you and me are bags of chemistry.Continue reading “Plants are Clever, 3”

What is inside a plant? Stems.

Inside plants – the stem Let us face it, the stem must provide multiple functions for the plant. It supports the leaves in suitable positions to allow them to photosynthesise, carries water and possibly nutrients up to the leaves or flowers and sugars down to the roots, it may store useful materials such as carbohydrates,Continue reading “What is inside a plant? Stems.”

Plants are clever. 2

David Beeson For more information on this topic: see MOSSES article. September 2020 Seeds are crucial to the survival of a plant species. No viable seeds and the genetic line will die out, although some plants (e.g. English elm) mainly asexually reproduce from suckers forming a genetically identical cluster of plants. Seeds are a geneticContinue reading “Plants are clever. 2”

What do plants look like inside? Part 1, leaves.

David Beeson August 2020. A section through the mid-rib of an Acer plant. A section through the mid-rib of an Acer plant. The mid-rib is the central support of a leaf and has both structural support and the transport (vascular) tissues. The cells are visible as they have firm cellulose walls which hold their shapeContinue reading “What do plants look like inside? Part 1, leaves.”

Plants are clever. Part 1.

Plants are well adapted to life, part 1. David Beeson, August 2020 Annuals, biennials and perennials Evolution, through Natural Selection (Survival of the Fittest), is a powerful force. Death does that! If a plant’s strategy is poor, it dies and fails to pass on its genes. On the other hand, if it gets everything perfect,Continue reading “Plants are clever. Part 1.”

Nectar, food of the gods?

Firstly, some questions. Now, no cheating and you really should write down the answers. Question one. (An easy one to give you confidence) Does nectar contain dilute honey? Question two. Are nectar and honey of the same composition, even if honey has less water? Question three. Where is nectar made? (Precision needed here!) Question four.Continue reading “Nectar, food of the gods?”

The fringes of an ancient English forest

Harewood’s fringe and Longparish in summer – a photo tour David Beeson The woodlands that now form Harewood Forest once spread far and wide. They joined south to the New Forest, west to Great Selwood and north-east to join The Windsor Forest and east to The Wield. So, there’s not much left! Not much IContinue reading “The fringes of an ancient English forest”

Some of the first land plants: Mosses.

Moss in the Grass David Beeson So, how do you gardeners rid your lawn of moss? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out! When life started to emerge from the watery realms it, unexpectedly, was poorly adapted to life on land. Evolution needs time to work its miracle. LOTS of time. The mossesContinue reading “Some of the first land plants: Mosses.”