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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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!!
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).
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.