Friday 22 April 2011: Pasque Flower
Well, it looks as though I peaked a day too early! Yesterday's hare was my second most popular entry - so many thanks to everyone who favourited it or gave it stars. I suspect it was a once in a lifetime capture!
So today I've reached my 200th blip. I toyed with the idea of doing something special with a 200 in it, but decided that I would go for something that is 'me'. So I got up nice and early (Blipfoto has a lot to answer for!) and headed out to Barnack Hills and Holes NNR to photograph the pasque flower in the low early morning light (and got soaking wet in the process, again!). This seemed a particularly appropriate subject for Good Friday and also happens to be one of my favourite species.
Pasque flower is unmistakable with its beautiful and quite large, violet, bell-like flowers with their circle of golden anthers. The flowers start out upright and extend their anthers for the insects to pollinate. As the flower ages it droops but when the fruits are ripe, the stalk straightens up again so the feathery seed heads can catch the wind for their dispersal. The flower grows on a short stalk above a whorl of woolly, deeply divided, carrot-like leaves, which form a rosette around the stem at ground level. The main rosette is long-lived.
In the wild, pasqueflowers are scarce and confined to well-grazed grassland. The grassland at Barnack Hills and Holes NNR has developed over the hummocky remains of a Medieval limestone quarry and it has one of the largest populations of pasque flower in Britain. It is an outstanding reserve, of European importance for the number of species of orchid that grow there. The name was first derived from the French passefleur, 'the flower which excels', but it was modified to 'pasque' or Easter flower because this is when it is usually in bloom.
Blipfoto continues to have a major impact on both my photography and my life. I am now much more confident with my camera, but have less free cash thanks to the desire for better lenses! I've made lots of really good Blipfriends and am still thrilled when people comment on or favourite my images. The team at Blipcentral do an excellent job in keeping everything running smoothly - many thanks to all of them. I'm looking forward to the next 100 blips, though it'll be interesting to see how I cope during my busy time of year!!
Pictures of the reserve
The hummocks at Barnack Hills and Holes NNR
Area of scrub clearance at Barnack Hills and Holes NNR