Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nature's banes or blessings

Thistle and bee
Have  you ever noticed how beautiful thistle is?  Hard to believe that many despise this plant.  Yet, if growing in your yard or garden, you might easily find it a nuisance, and quite prickly to touch.  This plant, that so many of us dislike, is a major source of food for the beautiful American Goldfinch. Thistle is also a great source of nectar for many butterflies.

The thistle is the national symbol of Scotland.  During medieval times when the Norse were invading Scotland it is believed that one of the Norse warriors stepped on a thistle, which then alerted the Scotts to their arrival.

Another bane for many are bees.  If you've been stung before, you can empathize. Yet, were it not for bees many of our plants and fruit trees would not be pollinated, and hence cease to produce. There has been a dramatic reduction in bees in recent years, caused by a virus and by the application of pesticides on farm land.  This is a concern, since it dramatically reduces the pollination of crops and wildflowers.

So, it seems that many of the things we may dislike play a significant role in the ecosystem... and are great photographic material!

Busy bee with Swamp Milkweed

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