Five Photos, Five Stories: A Regal Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly-506

I love monarch butterflies.  There is something so regal about them.

When I was growing up we had a huge swan plant.  I mean it was really big.  Every year we eagerly awaited the arrival of the butterflies to lay their eggs. Then we would count them all and watch them hatch.  We watched them grow so fast and the plant being stripped of it’s leaves and the swans.  Then when they had turned themselves into chrysalises we would gently cut the branch that they were hanging on, put them into mason jars and take them to school.  It was always so exciting to see the butterflies emerging.  If someone had noticed one hatching we would all stop what we were doing and watch it happening. This was our nature lesson.  Never mind the maths class.  This was way more exciting.

We found it amazing that the caterpillars could crawl so far to find a safe haven to turn into their chrysalis forms.  We would find them up under the eaves of the house and trees several feet away.  It was a favourite pastime for us kids to hunt down new chrysalises in new far away places.

My children were also fascinated by the life cycle of these beautiful butterflies.  I think this is because we can really follow them from egg to butterfly.

Now the regal butterflies are in decline.  We need to make sure we have plants that would encourage them.

This is my last story for this challenge.  As part of this challenge I want to nominate Amy from The World Is a Book… Her photos are amazing.  So Amy all you need to do is post a photo a day for five days with a story, poem or something to go with it.  And then nominate another blogger to do the same.  No obligation.

Thanks for visiting.

Copyright Raewyn Forbes


Friday Florals: Impatiens



Impatiens are such a showy flower.

Some species are annual plants and produce flowers from early summer until the first frost, whileperennial species, found in milder climates, can flower all year. Regardless of their lifespan, the largest impatiens grow up to about 2 meters (about 7 feet) tall, but most are less than half as tall. The leaves are entire and shiny; their upperside has a thick, water-repellent cuticula that gives them a greasy feel. Particularly on the underside of the leaves, tiny air bubbles are trapped over and under the leaf surface, giving them a silvery sheen that becomes pronounced when they are held under water.

The flowers, up to 2–3 cm, around 1 inch long, in most species are made up by a shoe- or horn-shaped spur for the most part, with at least the upper petals insignificant by comparison; some have a prominent labellum though, allowing pollinators to land. Others, like the busy lizzie (I. walleriana), have flattened flowers with large petals and just a tiny spur that appear somewhat similar to those of violets (Viola), an unrelated genus. A few Impatiens species have flowers intermediate between the two basic types.

The scientific name Impatiens (Latin for “impatient”) and the common name “touch-me-not” refer to the explosive dehiscence of the seed capsules. The mature capsules burst, sending seeds up to several meters away.

My mother loved these plants and due to the fact that Auckland’s climate was rather mild, we had them blooming all year round.   Even if we had some frosts, they always seem to bounce back.

But I didn’t know that they had some medicinal uses:

Impatiens contain 2-methoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, an anti-inflammatory and fungicide naphthoquinone that is an active ingredient in some formulations of Preparation H.[4]

North American impatiens have been used as herbal remedies for the treatment of bee stings, insect bites, and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) rashes. They are also used afterpoison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) contact to prevent a rash from developing. The efficacy of orange jewelweed (I. capensis) and yellow jewelweed (I. pallida) in preventing poison ivy contact dermatitis has been studied, with conflicting results.[5] A study in 1958 found that Impatiens biflora was an effective alternative to standard treatment for dermatitis caused by contact with sumac,[6] while later studies[7][8][9] found that the species had no antipruritic effects after the rash has developed. Researchers reviewing these contradictions[5] state that potential reason for these conflicts include the method of preparation and timing of application. A 2012 study found that while an extract of orange jewelweed and garden jewelweed (I. balsamina) was not effective in reducing contact dermatitis, a mash of the plants applied topically decreased it.[10]

Or that it was called Snapweed in other countries:

Common names include impatiens, jewelweed, touch-me-not, snapweed, and, for I. walleriana in Great Britain, “busy lizzie”, as well as, ambiguously, balsam. As a rule-of-thumb, “jewelweed” is used exclusively for Nearctic species, “balsam” is usually applied to tropical species, and “touch-me-not” is typically used in Europe and North America.[2]

Friday's Florals

Thanks for visiting.

Copyright Raewyn Forbes

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Liquids


Good morning from a wet and miserable Hastings day.  We have got off lightly compared to Wellington.  There has been a lot of rain and flooding down there and today the trains are not running and people have been encouraged not to go into work today.  Some people didn’t even get home yesterday.  The hotels then put up their prices for those who had to find somewhere to stay.  Where is the community spirit?

Rather appropriate that Cee’s challenge at Cee’s Photography has given us the prompt to find our liquid photos.  This photo was taken at the hot house in Cornwall Park last week with my social snappers group.


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Liquids

Copyright Raewyn Forbes

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