Spartium junceum, commonly known as Spanish broom or weaver's broom, is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. It is the sole species in the genus Spartium, but is closely related to the other brooms in the genera Cytisus and Genista. There are many binomials in Spartium that are of dubious validity. The Latin specific epithet junceum means "rush-like", referring to the shoots, which show a passing resemblance to those of the rush genus Juncus. This species is native to the Mediterranean in southern Europe, southwest Asia and northwest Africa, where it is found in sunny sites, usually on dry, sandy soils. S. junceum is a vigorous, deciduous shrub growing to 2–4 m tall, rarely 5 m, with main stems up to 5 cm thick, rarely 10 cm. It has thick, somewhat succulent grey-green rush-like shoots with very sparse small deciduous leaves 1 to 3 cm long and up to 4 mm broad. The leaves are of little importance to the plant, with much of the photosynthesis occurring in the green shoots (a water-conserving strategy in its dry climate). The leaves fall away early. In late spring and summer shoots are covered in profuse fragrant yellow pea-like flowers 1 to 2 cm across. In late summer, the legumes (seed pods) mature black and reach 8–10 cm long. They burst open, often with an audible crack, spreading seed from the parent plant. Spartium junceum has been widely introduced into other areas as an ornamental plant, and is regarded as a noxious invasive species in places with a Mediterranean climate such as California and Oregon, Hawaii, central Chile, southeastern Australia, the Western Cape in South Africa and the Canary Islands and Azores. The plant is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and in landscape plantings. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. In Bolivia and Peru, the plant is known as retama (not to be confused with the genus Retama) and has become very well established in some areas. It is one of the most common ornamental plants, often seen growing along sidewalks in La Paz. Retama has made its way into the ethnobotany of the indigenous Aymara and Quechua cultures. The plant is also used as a flavouring, and for its essential oil, known as genet absolute. Its fibres have been used for making cloth and it produces a yellow dye. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 kilometres from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegraean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal, it measures approximately 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has about 34 km of coastline and a surface area of 46.3 square kilometres. It is almost entirely mountainous; the highest peak is Mount Epomeo, at 788 metres. The island is very densely populated, with 60,000 residents (more than 1,300 inhabitants per square km). Ischia is the name of the main comune of the island. The other comuni of the island are Barano d'Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Forio, Lacco Ameno, and Serrara Fontana. Ischia's main industry is tourism, centring on thermal spas that cater mostly to European (especially German) and Asian tourists eager to enjoy the fruits of the island's natural volcanic activity, its hot springs, and its volcanic mud.
Eating vegetables provides health benefits – people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. They are rich in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Eating lots of vegetables can increase your lifespan and reduce the effects of ageing in your body. Besides, they taste great! This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme, and also part of the Macro Monday meme, and also part of the Through my Lens meme, and also part of the Seasons meme.
Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in. The rules are simple: 1) Create your image and post it up on your blog; 2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here; 3) Leave a comment here once you have posted; 4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!
The mural above is found in Normanby Avenue, (corner of St Georges Rd), Thornbury, Melbourne. It is by Hayden Dewar. HaydenDewar works as an illustrator, muralist, storyboard artist and visual artist. Hayden produces imagery of a commercial and a personal nature. Media include painting, drawing digital illustration and design. Commercial pursuits include illustration for advertising and publishing, concept art and storyboard art for film, TV, and animation. Hayden is currently available as a commission based artist for murals, freelance illustration and storyboard art as well as private commissions. This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme, and also part of the Photo Sunday meme, and also part of the Monday Murals meme.
Currawongs are three species of medium-sized passerine birds belonging to the genus Strepera in the family Artamidae native to Australasia. These are the grey currawong (Strepera versicolor), pied currawong (S. graculina), and black currawong (S. fuliginosa). The common name comes from the call of the familiar pied currawong of eastern Australia and is onomatopoeic. They were formerly known as crow-shrikes or bell-magpies. Despite their resemblance to crows and ravens, they are only distantly related to the Corvidae, instead belonging to an Afro-Asian radiation of birds of superfamily Malaconotoidea. The true currawongs are a little larger than the Australian magpie, smaller than the ravens (except possibly the little raven, which is only slightly larger on average), but broadly similar in appearance. They are easily distinguished by their yellow eyes, in contrast to the red eyes of a magpie and white eyes of Australian crows and ravens. Currawongs are also characterised by the hooked tips of their long, sharply pointed beaks. They are not as terrestrial as the magpie and have shorter legs. They are omnivorous, foraging in foliage, on tree trunks and limbs, and on the ground, taking insects and larvae (often dug out from under the bark of trees), fruit, and the nestlings of other birds. They are distinguishable from magpies and crows by their comical flight style in amongst foliage, appearing to almost fall about from branch to branch as if they were inept flyers. Illustrated here is the pied currawong (Strepera graculina). Six subspecies are recognised. It is a robust crow-like bird averaging around 48 cm in length, black or sooty grey-black in plumage with white undertail and wing patches, yellow irises, and a heavy bill. The male and female are similar in appearance. This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme, and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme, and also part of the Camera Critters meme.
Narcissus is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants in the Amaryllidaceae family. Various common names including daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus. Narcissus has conspicuous flowers with six petal-like tepals surmounted by a cup- or trumpet-shaped corona. The flowers are generally white or yellow (orange or pink in garden varieties), with either uniform or contrasting coloured tepals and corona. Narcissus were well known in ancient civilisation, both medicinally and botanically, but formally described by Linnaeus' in his Species Plantarum (1753). The genus is generally considered to have about ten sections with approximately 50 species. The number of species has varied, depending on how they are classified, due to similarity between species and hybridisation. The genus arose some time in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene epochs, in the Iberian peninsula and adjacent areas of southwest Europe. The exact origin of the name Narcissus is unknown, but it is often linked to a Greek word for intoxicated (narcotic) and the myth of the youth of that name who fell in love with his own reflection. The English word 'daffodil' appears to be derived from "asphodel", with which it was commonly compared. The species are native to meadows and woods in southwest Europe and North Africa with a centre of diversity in the Western Mediterranean, particularly the Iberian peninsula. Both wild and cultivated plants have naturalised widely, and were introduced into the Far East prior to the tenth century. Narcissi tend to be long-lived bulbs, which propagate by division, but are also insect-pollinated. Known pests, diseases and disorders include viruses, fungi, the larvae of flies, mites and nematodes. Some Narcissus species have become extinct, while others are threatened by increasing urbanisation and tourism. Dafffodil breeding has introduced a wide range of colours, in both the outer perianth tepal segment and the inner corona. In the registry, daffodils are coded by the colours of each of these two parts. Thus in the photo below of Narcissus 'Geranium', Tazetta (Division 8) has a white outer perianth and orange corona and is classified as 8 W-O. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme, and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.