Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ghosts of 2009..

Down amongst the dead leaves left over from last autumn lie the skeletal remains of last summer's wild flowers. We found this partially decayed seed head of giant bellflower Campanula latifolia in the woodland beside the old railway line that leads to the Nine Arches viaduct in the Derwentside Country Park , where the green shoots of this year's plants are already beginning to sprout.

All the softer tissues in the seed capsules have rotted away, leaving the network of tough-walled xylem vessels - the internal plumbing system that that supplied the developing seeds with water. Double-click for larger, clearer images.

9 comments:

  1. These are beautiful, it's a damn good job that somebody knows what they are looking at.
    I feel like the Sun reporter looking for a fight in the crowd whilst you are definitely Telegraph reporting the minutiae of the game.
    These would look great printed and hung.

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    1. "These would look great printed and hung"
      I would have to second that, especially on that background, just shows off the contrasts so wonderfully, genius!

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    2. Hi Michael, decaying plants sometimes leave behind some beautiful, sculptural structures don't they? All the best, Phil

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  2. Hi Adrian, I'm more of a Guardian reader, so I guess I'd be a reporter campaigning for recognistion for the more downtrodden forms of life...

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  3. Had to laugh at the last comments.

    These certainly do have a beauty all their own Phil. That first picture is worthy of framing, and gracing the wall. Superb.

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  4. Absolutely stunning! They would make a good subject for embroidery too.

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  5. Hi Keith and Lesley, some plants seem to produce particularly attractive 'skeletons' - the papery outer covering of the 'Chinese lantern' plant Physalis always turns into a very attractive cage of veins very quickly in the winter.

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  6. What a lovely pic and a great description too Phil. Isn't it wonderful to glimpse the contrasting states of the two generations of plant. Being a Rowlands Gill lass I have fond memories of the woodland of the area and attribute my interest in nature to growing up in such a green and pleasant land. Best wishes Linda

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  7. Thanks Linda, there's always something interesting to see in the country park - even at this time of year, when spring hasn't got into its stride....

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