It’s been a busy week at the SFI- festive preparations, major storms and power cuts abound! The greenhouse heater has given up, so some of the more sensitive occupants have come inside.
Meet the sprigs; a faeries species also known as wandering roses or meadowmaids.
During the summer months they are often found in the company of bees and other pollinators- so much so that at one time they were thought to be farming the insects.
In a way, they are- flocks of sprigs will wander towards bee hives for a taste of honey; and, naturally, the bees are drawn to their flowers.
During the winter, however, cold conditions threaten the survival of these fae creatures.
And so, we have guests for the festive season, and tiny footprints everywhere. Good luck keeping them out of the chocolate.
A walk to the woods in the mud and rain might not be your idea of a perfect trip- but it’s necessary if you want to find one of these little specimens!
The fernling: a creature that loves damp weather, and only likes to stretch its roots with a walk when there’s plenty of moisture about.
This particular specimen wasn’t thrilled to be put in a jar- but due to their reclusiveness and expertise in hiding themselves away; the fernling is one of our least studied native woodland species.
So, like it or not, he’ll be spending a couple of weeks in the SFI greenhouse, before I release him back to this spot.
(This week’s creature report was written by Keeley Claremont, SFI botanist)
The Hamadryad is a subspecies of dryad, itself a type of nymph.
Thoroughly documented by the ancient Greeks, hamadryads dwell within trees.
Though they have a physical form, they are born bonded to their one particular tree, and may never leave it.
Should the tree die, the hamadryad dies with it- and vice versa.
Like many nymphs, hamadryads enjoy music and dancing, though they are more reclusive and shy than other species.
This particular specimen is the hamadryad of a cherry tree. Like its host’s winter branches it now looks bare and stick-like. Come spring, tiny blossoms will begin to sprout along its limbs.
Name: Roaming Flytrap Nomas Muscipula
Description: Similar in appearance to Dionaea Muscipula (Venus Flytrap), the roaming flytrap has four to seven stems from a central shoot. Each stem has two to three fleshy leaves, and end with the distinctive hinged lobes that it uses to catch and digest insects.
Nomas also has four bulbs underneath that it uses as appendages to move itself to new places. It is from these bulbs that roots emerge to supply water and nutrients to the plant.
More pictures below!
Name: ‘Sprout’ species unknown
Description: A small, firm root ‘body’ capable of slow movement via two ‘feet’ clusters of lateral roots. From the top of the root sprouts a cotyledon (seed leaf). He’s really CUTE, and while i shouldn’t have favourite among the plant specimens… he’s totally my favourite.
Notes: Sprout was brought into the institute by a local, who found him shuffling along the main road. At the time he was only about 3cm high, and he had no leaves, just a small green shoot.
Name: Mandrake (Mandragora Officinarum)
Description: A fat tuber beneath leafy, dark green vegetation. The mottled root resembles a crude human figure or homunculi.