The Succulent Karoo is a region of south Africa which hosts 1/3 of the world’s succulent plant species — the richest diversity of succulent flora on the planet! The climate here is mild compared to other desert areas, with sparse but reliable rainfall, especially in the winter. The heat of summer is also moderated by fog created by the Benguela Current flowing northward along the coast.

succulent karoo desert biome area south africa arid cactus cacti species biodiversity hotspot

The Encyclopedia of Earth
Environmental Literacy Council
World Wildlife Fund
Plantz Africa

Wintergreen flowers look a lot like little blueberry flowers. That’s because they are in the same family — Ericaceae. Wintergreen flowers turn into bright red berries and the leaves are used as a wildwood tea. The berries are edible, but not in the quantities of delicious blueberries.

wintergreen white flowers wildflowers north america eastern gaultheria procumbens ericaceae

Wintergreen grows wild in eastern North American woodlands. It is only 4 to 6 inches tall, but you can find its reddish to dark green evergreen leaves at any time of the year, even under the snow.

Encyclopedia of Life
Plants for a Future
Paghat’s Garden

David Attenborough narrates this fun little video clip featuring a brightly colored newly emerged “Kung Fu Mantis” facing down a hungry jumping spider. Fun, fun! 😀

Kung Fu Mantis video

There are “8 to 11” species of Sarracenia or pitcher plants in North America!
These carnivorous plants can exist on poor soil by trapping & devouring insects.

sarracenia pitcher plant carnivorous plants wetlands

The amazing peacock spider, Maratus speciosus, performs a lively and entertaining dance for the camera…

More on this species:
Amusing Planet
Live Science

Peacock Spider Dance

Dwarf Mongooses can be so BROWN!

brown dwarf mongoose helogale parvula group

Leave it to Beavers is a full length, free movie on YouTube, posted by AnimalLife. This documentary is 48 minutes long and full of fun scenes and interesting information on beavers and their effect on the enironment. Very entertaining! 😀

The wooly white Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) is endangered due to over-collection. The alpine flower has a long history of use as a folk remedy and lover’s sign of devotion. Ever heard the famous song by the name “Edelweiss“? You may recognize it’s melody.

edelweiss leontopodium alpinum switzerland botanical potion song austria

What is Edelweiss?
Growing Edelweiss
Video by Dior

A short video featuring the beautiful Pine Grosbeak and its call:

More on the Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak’s Call

Dwarf Mongooses can be so RED!

red dwarf mongoose helogale parvula arkive

Chitwan National Park, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, is one of the last refuges for the Bengal tiger as well as home to the largest population of one horned rhinoceros in the world. Visitors to the park are encouraged to explore the area by boat, by foot, or by elephant. There are also several breeding areas such as for vultures, elephants, and crocodiles.

chitwan national park nepal himalyas one horned rhinoceros calf mother baby

Wikipedia   |   WikiVoyage
UNESCO   |   Official Park Site
Lonely Planet   |   YouTube Video

There are about 40 to 50 different species of plants in the Yucca genus.

yucca tall plants white flowers bells desert spikey leaves

Native Americans used every part of this plant for either food, medicine, or fiber. It is often cultivated in semi-arid regions: I have three of them growing in my front yard in Texas!

The Yucca Page
Mojave Yucca
The Yucca and its Moth

Pitcher Plant seed pods: look at that texture!

seed pod sarracenia pitcher plant

Doesn’t this palm nut vulture (Gypohierax angolensis) remind you of an eagle with a vulture’s head and feet spliced on?

This African bird of prey is unique in that it prefers the fruit of the oil palm tree over meat! It also eats crabs, insects, and other small animals — as well as a few other species of palm nuts.

Gypohierax angolensis palm nut vulture accipitridae birds of prey africa african animals aves hooked beak

Learn more about this species:
Encyclopedia of Life
Planet of Birds
Oiseaux Birds
Biodiversity Explorer

I went out on my porch to take pics of my artwork and found this little guy crawling happily along the porch railing. Knowing my daughter would love to see such a furry little thing, I put him gently on a leaf and carried him inside. I noticed he looked very grub-like beneath his fur, so I put him on a transparent lid and took some pics from both sides. Curious, I looked him up online and found out he is the most venomous caterpillar in America! If I’d have been more aggressive with him, even petting him, the spines buried in his fur might have injected enough poison into me to cause me pain that has been likened to a broken bone, even worse than a scorpion or jellyfish sting! Check out the links below, and be sure to warn the kids around you to NOT pet this furry little dude!!

furry grub caterpillar hair hairy megalopyge opercularis puss southern flannel moth larva

iNaturalist   |   Featured Creatures
BugGuide   |   Daily Mail
National Geographic

Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia spp) have flowers that look like cascading fireworks… The shorter, red-petaled object in the pic.

sarracenia flower pitcher plant carnivorous hawaii cultivated

The binturong (Arctictis binturong) is one of those strange creatures that most people have never heard of, and that appear to be made of several animals spliced together (like a platypus). Whiskered face like a cat, stocky body like a bear, and prehensile tail like a monkey, this animal is sometimes called a bearcat. However, the binturong is neither a type of bear nor a cat. Instead, it is a viverid like civets and genets (more animals most people do not recognize by name).

binturong viverid bearcat indonesia asia animals mammals strange creatures

Learn more about this species:
San Diego Zoo
A-Z Animals

Ever wonder what the “magic” is in “magic mushrooms”?

nature natural magic mushrooms psilocybin psychedelic

Yes, I’m a hippie chick, but no, I do not encourage drug use.
Still, ya gotta wonder just WHY did the Creator make certain plants to contain chemicals such as the Psilocybin in mushrooms that seem to alter consciousness and otherwise provide quite a psychedelic ride. I’ve not had them myself, but many a “holy man” or those on a quest have sworn by Psilocybin mushrooms.

The crown-tipped coral fungus is white to yellowish and about an inch or two tall with little spikey crown-shaped tops on its “branches”. It grows on long-dead wood in North America and is edible, with a peppery taste that tends to disappear when cooked. The video below describes where to find this fungus species, how to identify it, and how to harvest and cook it. The links below the video feature more pics and species information.

Artomyces pyxidatus
Crown-Tipped Coral
Mushroom Expert

Crown Tipped Coral Fungus

Intro to 3 species of tarsiers
= primates of southeast Asia with huge eyes!

tarsiers map three species philippines indonesia fauna animals primates exotic