For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Marula Tree

Marula is a medium to large tree, usually 9 meters (25 feet) tall. It is single-stemmed with a dense, spreading crown and deciduous foliage. Fascinatingly enough, only the female trees bears fruits, while the male tree displays flower.
Marula wood has been traditionally used for carving pestles and mortars, bowls, drums, beehives and stools and even canoes in some areas. During colonial times it was even used for tomato boxes and toilet seats.
Regarded as a sacred tree in Africa, the Marula is protected in communal lands under the local chief. Because of its leafy foliage and shade-bearing size, it is popular with villages for local meetings, and often in a ploughed field will be the only tree left standing. The Marula tree is often the spiritual centre for ritual activity in kraals and villages.
The bark of the tree has medicinal properties and is used widely in treating dysentery and diarrhea, rheumatism, insect bites and a variety of other ailments. Essence from the leaves is said to provide a remedy for abscesses, spider bites and burns. Preliminary tests show weak pharmalogical activity relative to hypertension, anti-inflammation and painkilling.

There is even legend that a woman can take bark from the male or female tree to determine the sex of her next baby.
The ripe Marula fruit make a wonderful jelly that is delicious when served with meat especially lamb.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Orchids

The orchids are in bloom. This one has attached itself to a tree by the roots.
It is a large plant and I wonder that it is so secure there.
A few weeks ago it started to shoot out.
Now it is starting to open its flowers.
They are tiny, maybe one inch in length but pretty nevertheless.
These are some of the cultivated ones being sold right now.
They come in the most interesting colors.
This one unfortunately had a lot of watermarks on it but still lovely to look at.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Daisies

Today I am going to share a personal experience with you which was very funny for me: A young girl moved in next door and besides a once a week "hello" when we happen to run into each other, we have not really spoken. Yesterday, she came knocking on my door and asked me if I perhaps had space in my freezer as there was something wrong with hers and she was afraid the stuff would go off. I said sure, bring it over, I would make space for her things. She went to fetch it and we got chatting about them not making things as they used to as she had only recently bought her freezer and I invited her to sit down. I told her about my blog and the nice people on it and asked her about her work etc. After about half an hours she said that I was not at all what she expected me to be. I looked at her and she added that she had seen me outside taking pictures and she expected my house to be full of bugs and things. LOL!! LOL!! I had a great big laugh at this and showed her some of my photographs. The lesson to be learnt by this is not to judge people so quickly. Get to know them first, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find. LOL!!

What will we do without our daisies in the garden to brighten up our day?