PERIODIC PHOTOGRAPH  
I will display different photographs here at fairly regular intervals.

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Blackthorn

These are flowers that I have come across during my walks over the past week. At this time of year there are scores of wild flowering plants and shrubs in the countryside.

Above is the Blackthorn flower, that will later produce the attractive and tempting to eat, sloe berry. That is as far as the atractiveness goes, as the sloe is very bitter and dries the mouth as soon as it is bitten into to. These berries are mainly used to flavour gin. The most famous use for this shrub is the famous Irish shillelagh (cudgel). The main reason for this shrubs beauty is that the flowers appear before the leaves and therefore stand out in the countryside. The Blackthorn is mainly used in hedgerows in fields where livestock is kept. It makes a very effective fence due to its fierce and plentiful thorns.

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Cuckoo Flower

The cuckoo flower can be seen in abundance at the roadside this time of year. It supposedly got its name because of the foamy substance (called cuckoo spit) found on the plant. As children we assumed that this cuckoo spit was indeed that; a cuckoo spit. In later years we learned that this spit was a defensive measure of the froghopper. The froghopper is the the nymph of the Crane fly or more popularly known Daddy-long-legs. The crane fly is a flying insect that seems to flap its wings and hope for the best. It  seems to have very limited control over its direction and is just as likely to bump into your face as to fly where it had intended.

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Speedwell

This low-growing plant has tiny, but beautiful blue flowers. The flowers are about half the size of a little finger fingernail. It is a plant that is rarely picked, because shortly after it is picked the plant drops its flowers and cheats the collector of its beauty.

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Snowdrop

The snowdrop has tiny white bell-shaped flowers (very similar to the flowers of the wood sorrel that I had here recently). It grows to about 6 inches in height.

 

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Wild Strawberry

In total contrast to the blackthorn (above) this flower will go on to produce the very tasty wild strawberry. In June the hedgerows will be dotted here and there with these berries. They are tiny but really delicious. After eating the first few of these berries, it is almost impossible to walk without constantly searching the hedgerows for more of these.

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