Tag Archives: europe

The Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens, is a very common and easily identifiable species of damselfly in the UK and adjacent parts of Eurasia, with a range extending all the way to northern China. The video below shows the process of mating and egg laying, while the links below the video will give you much more information about this intriguing species. Check out how the mating couple form the shape of a heart!

Encyclopedia of Life (lots of pics!)
First Nature
ARKive
Nature Spot

Banded Demoiselle Mating

As with many species of fungi, this one has no official common name. It is Lactarius uvidus, what I am calling the Purple-Staining Milkcap. This species thrives in North American and European forests around birch, aspen, spruce, and willow trees. The cap is either flat or indented, and it gives off a milky secretion that turns purple or lilac wherever it sticks on the fruiting body. Click the links below to find out more about this interesting fungus.

Lactarius uvidus lilac staining milkcap milky mushroom north america europe aspens birch willow forest fungi

Wikipedia   |   EOL
Mushroom Expert
First Nature
Rogers Mushrooms
Mushroom Observer

The Pine Grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator, is one of the largest of the true finches, Fringillidae. This fruit eating bird lives at the top of the world, in the subarctic reagions of Asia, Europe, and North America. In years where the fruit harvest is low, this species will adapt by extending its range further south to wherever enough fruit can be found, even as far south as the midwest and prairie states.

Pinicola enucleator pine grosbeak finch subarctic asia europe north america canada birds red

ARKive   |   Wikipedia
BirdWeb   |   All About Birds

Kenilworth Ivy or Ivy-Leaved Toadflax, Cymbalaria muralis, was originally native to Mediterranean Europe but has been naturalized to the UK and parts of the USA for hundreds of years. It is widely planted in rock gardens and along garden pathways. This hardy snapdragon-like plant is an edible and a Stepable Plant that matures to just a few inches tall, but is often found creeping along or cascading over a stone wall or ledge, the whole plant being several feet long. The purple toadflax-like flowers have two lips with bright yellow spots on the lower one. Flowers draw back into the soil or rock crevice once fertilized.

Cymbalaria muralis climbing toadflax kenilworth ivy vine purple lipped wildflowers rock garden steps

Climbers by U of M
First Nature
Wild Plants of Malta
Get seeds on Amazon!

Common Heather, Calluna vulgaris, is a dominant plant in European moorland, and can also be found in some bog areas and pine forests. This hardy species of heath has come to be naturalized in parts of North America and Asia and is often cultivated in rock gardens around the world. There are close to 1000 different cultivars of this once-humble species, varying in growth form, flower color, flowering time, and other features. The natural species has tiny scale-like leaves and mostly pink flowers, and blooms in late summer.

 
Calluna vulgaris common scotch heather heath flowers wildflowers moor europe

ARKive   —   Wikipedia   —   EOL
YouTube video   —   UCONN Plants
How to Grow Heathers and Heaths

When my children were young, our family knew mallows as “cheeses” because their seeds come in a fun little package similar to a cheese wheel. The seeds are edible, so we used to hunt them down and have fun opening up the little wheels and crunching on the nutty little seeds. They are tiny, so this was more for fun than for nutrition. Common Mallow, Malva sylvestris, has one of the broadest geographical ranges of all mallows, and is also heavily researched for its medicinal properties. Many cultivars of mallow are also available for your gardening pleasure.

Malva sylvestris common mallow north american world wildflowers medicinal pink purple

Encyclopedia of Life
iNaturalist
Nature Gate
SEINet — Arizona Chapter
Permaculture – UK

The stickpins or stubble lichens are 30 species in the genus Calicium, which often grow on live branches of trees such as giant redwoods. Below is a closeup of the fruiting body of Calicium adaequatum, sometimes called the “tiny daisy” lichen. Click the links below the pic to see just how minute these bodies really are…! Our Creator sure likes to put a lot of detail into tiny structures! 😀

Calicium adaequatum tiny daisy stickpins stubble lichen fruiting body miniature redwood forests boreal

Encyclopedia of Life
Ways of EnLICHENment
United States Forest Service

This uniquely patterned flower goes by several names including Checkered Lily, Snake’s Head Fritillary, and Guinea Hen Flower. It is Fritillaria meleagris, the genus name meaning (basically) checkered and the species name referring to guinea fowl. This plant is native to Eurasia from the UK across into western Russia. It is also widely grown as a spring bulb in gardens all across the USA. Certainly planting a few of these bulbs would provide a new conversation starter for any garden!

Snake's Head Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris checkered lily ornamental eurasian france red purple spotted checkerboard pattern unusual

KEW Botanical Gardens
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia
Pacific Bulb Society
Paghat’s Garden

Great (or Northern) Crested Newts, Triturus cristatus, large for their type, are found across northern Europe from the UK to Western Russia. Females are larger than males and sport a bright yellow and black-spotted underbelly. Males have the bright belly plus two separate crests: a more scalloped or tufted version down their back and two smoother ones on the top and bottom of the tail. You may also be able to spot a silvery stripe running along the sides of the male’s tail. Watch the video below and check out the links to learn about this unique amphibian species!

ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
Freshwater Habitats Trust

Great Crested Newt

Up in the rugged, unforgiving mountains of Scotland, can any wildlife make a living? This BBC free full-length documentary film is presented on YouTube by AnimalLife. In these Scottish hills, we see that red deer and pine martens join many hardy bird species such as black-throated divers, hooded crows, ptarmigans, and reintroduced sea eagles. Follow a family of divers from a late second laying to the fledging and beyond. And follow the migration of salmon to the highest points in the river. At the end of the film is an entertaining filming diary.

Common Cotton Grass, Eriophorum angustifolium, is found in the northern regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. The fluffy white seedheads cannot be used to make clothing like cotton, but it has been used in wound dressings (padding) and as pillow stuffing. This species of cotton grass has translucent pink roots that have been used as an astringent and to treat digestive troubles.

cotton grass Eriophorum angustifolium species plant alpine mountains bog northern

Encyclopedia of Life: pics!
Wikipedia (very informative article)
Nature’s Notebook
Other types of cotton grass

The Pyrenean Desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, is one of only two species of desmans in the world. This small aquatic insectivore lives in Spain and northern Portugal, near the Pyrenees mountains. They use their long, sensitive, flexible snout to search for underwater prey — tiny invertebrates such as insects, snails, and small shrimp. Desmans are related to moles and share several characteristics with them, including poor eyesight. Desmans, however, have more powerful hindquarters for propelling them through water.

snout funny mole desman pyrenean Galemys pyrenaicus

ARKive: fun video! plus pics and info
The Mole Tunnel

The Eurasian harvest mouse, Micromys minutus, is not only Europe’s smallest rodent, but it is also the continent’s only animal with a prehensile (grasping) tail. The nest this tiny one weaves also takes the prize for the most complex of any European mammal. The little harvest mouse splits and bends stalks of grass, eventually forming a spherical structure about 4 or 5 inches wide. These tiny rodents live only about 6 months, and even in captivity 18 months is the record.

More pics & info on Encyclopedia of Life
More pics & video on ARKive

Europe’s Smallest Rodent

This appealing little fungus, Geastrum quadrifidum, is a type of Earthstar. Some people call it the “four-footed earthstar”, more due to its vertical dancing posture — on its toes — rather than to the NUMBER of “feet” it has. Click the links below the pic to see the development and variety of this widespread earthstar’s forms, while learning more about its habitat and other specifics.

rayed earthstar fungus earthstar mushroom geastrales geastrum quadrifidum

Encyclopedia of Life
Rogers Mushrooms
Mushroom Observer
Rayed Earthstar
Slideshow on YouTube

This highly variable species, Aleuria aurantia, can grow as distinct cup-like individuals or as a mass of curly orange forms — or anywhere in between! The upper, shinier side of this amazing fungus is fertile, while the underneath, more spongy-looking side is infertile. Click Here for an awesome web page explaining this species in detail.

bright orange peel fungus aeuria aurantia mushroom moss fleshy transparent translucent

Over 150 More Pics
Pics with Locations

Orange Peel Fungus can be quite reddish and cup-like!

red cup fungus orange peel aleuria aurantia log ground moss

Most are more orange and have less of a cup form — click the pic to see over 150 more pics.
This is one highly variable fungus species!

This amazing little European wildflower, Arum maculatum, is not only poisonous, but it is also known by about 100 different names!
Watch this short but informative video — or click the link above — to learn more! 😀

Arum maculatum Video

This interesting little European wildflower, Arum maculatum, is known by somewhere around 100 different names! Find out just some of these by clicking the picture and links below!

arum maculatum lords and ladies cuckoo plant pint uk united kingdom wildflowers europe

Wildscreen ARKive
A Modern Herbal
Easy Wildflowers
Wildflower Finder
Gardening Know-How

This tiny toad lives only on a single island in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain. Like all midwife toads, the father watches over the eggs until tadpoles emerge and go off on their own.

majorcan mallorcan midwife toad alytes muletensis male eggs frogs endemic species islands mediterranean sea

Learn about this species:
Wikipedia
EDGE
ARKive

A well-made slideshow portraying the beauty and wildness that is The Camargue:

The Camargue in Pictures