Monday, May 13, 2024

Cherry-plum, infected with pocket plum disease

I had been hoping for a good cherry-plum harvest this summer - the fruits make excellent jam - but the hedgerow trees that I had my eye on are infected with pocket plum disease, caused by the fungus Taphrina pruni. In the first picture you can see one uninfected developing fruit, green, and then the rest are red, swollen and deformed so that they are flattened, resembling pockets. Soon spores will erupt from their surface.

In previous years I've seen infections on sloes and on bird cherry. This is the first year I've seen a severe infection on cherry-plum.


Friday, May 10, 2024

Tawny mining bee

 I encountered this lovely little female tawny mining bee Andrena fulva, provisioning her newly-excavated nest tunnel with pollen, on the Teesdale Way footpath between Egglestone and Meeting of the Waters. The lower three images are of what I think is a male of the same species, photographed in my own garden in County Durham, where tawny mining bees are excellent pollinators of blackcurrants.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Brittle bladder-fern

 Brittle bladder-fern Cystopteris fragilis in a shady, damp retaining wall in Teesdale, North Pennines. A beautiful, delicate fern with brittle frond stalks, typically found in crevices in limestone and mortared walls in the northern dales. Growing with hart’s-tongue fern in the third picture.