Thursday, February 16, 2012

Greens among browns and greys

It wasn't quite as balmy today as it was yesterday, so I didn't get out on my bicycle, but I did go for a walk on the bike path at the far eastern end of Amherst. There is a lovely swamp along the path there, and I was hoping that I might see some interesting birds and capture them with the big zoom on my new Leica camera.
However, it seemed that while I was there it was a bird-free zone, so I ended up looking down more than up. And I'm glad I did, because otherwise I would have missed these things -- I think Jeannine calls them "princess pines". They are so darned cute in their tiny selves (about four or five inches high)…

… and not too far away, I noticed a log covered with what I thought was moss, and took a couple of close-up shots.

It wasn't until later, when I was looking at the images on my computer, that I realized this "moss" was not really like other mosses I have seen -- it looks to my eye like some sort of miniature creeping evergreen (if such a thing is possible).
Whatever it is, I like it. It adds a touch of welcome color to the drear hues of this winter. -- PL


Mark H said...

Great pictures. It is always nice to see green plant life growing outside in the middle of winter. Is "princess pines" the actual name of that plant? That moss is very interesting. I wonder what the name of that would be. I have seen the princess pines before, here in my backwoods. I don't really think I have seen that kind of moss before. Your right it does look like some kind of creeping evergreen. Now I'm curios as to what kind of plant that is. I think I will do a little google investigation to see if I can find out. Thanks for sharing Pete!

Mark H said...

The common fern moss, Thuidium delicatulum. That is what I believe you have captured in your pictures.
Very cool. I learn something new every day. It looks really neat close up like that.

PL said...

Mark, thanks for doing that research! I Googled "princess pine" and got quite a few hits; this was one of them:

It appears "princess pine" is one name for a type of clubmoss, the Round-branched Ground-Pine, Lycopodium dendroideum.- PL

Mark H said...

Thanks for the link Pete. According to the article Lycopodium can be loosely translated into “club-shaped wolf’s claw”. What an interesting name for that species of plant. The translation of Lycopodium gives it a bit of a violent sounding definition in my opinion. I can see, looking at the physical attributes of the plant, where they might have come up with a name that means "club-shaped wolf’s claw”. It sounds more like a weapon than a small and fragile plant to me. It is very neat all the same.
This conversation has inspired me. The weather is nice today so, I think I will go for a walk and take some pictures of my own. It is funny how taking pictures can make you see things you normally would not pay much attention to. A couple years ago I would go around snapping close up shots of things in nature around my yard. Be it bugs, flowers, berries, frogs, ect. I called it my “Exercise in Observation” I would post these pictures on my myspace page to share with my friends. When I was doing this little project of mine I would notice little things I would never notice with my eye. A good example is a picture I took of a honey bee covered in pollen. The bee’s back legs had little pollen sacks on them that where full of the yellow substance. Every now and then I would get a shot of some strange looking plant or insect that I could not identify. I would research whatever the strange subject was until I could find its identity. That is how a learned about the Humming Bird Moth. I very cool insect that I never would have noticed if I did not take all those pictures. I don’t know why I stopped my little “Exercise in Observation” last year. I guess it is one of those things you can get bored with after a year or so. I wish I still had my myspace account so I could share some of the photos I took with you. I do still have them on my PC. Perhaps when I find the time I will upload some of them to my blog.
The pictures you have been posting have been making me want to go back to my “Exercise in Observation”. This thread in particular has me thinking about all of the beautiful things nature has to offer that I have been overlooking. The fern moss and club moss are plants that I’m sure I have walked right past many times without even noticing them. It is amazing to me how much we don’t notice when we are going about our busy lives.
Well I’m going off on one of my long ramblings again. Funny thing is I’m real shy in person and rarely talk. Thanks again for sharing the link and answering my question about the "princess pines". When I get the chance to post some of the pictures I was talking about onto my blog I will share a link with you. I think there are a few shots that you would appreciate.

Mark H said...

I put up some of the pictures I was talking about yesterday. If your interested you can check them out on my blog:

I think there are a few you may like. I enjoyed going through them this morning. I took most of them in the summer and spring so, they are alive with color. I forget how colorful summer can be after a few months of winters grays. Hope you like them. Have a good one Pete.