CATEGORY (other) - INFO

category
category8Trees
trees
category
category8Shrubs
shrubs
category
category8UnderShrubs
undershrubs
category
category8Evergreen
evergreen
category
category8Semivergreen
semievergreen
category
category8Deciduous
deciduous
category
category8Coniferous
coniferous
category
category8Broadleaf
broadleaf
category
category8Ferns
ferns
category
category8Grasses
grasses
category
category8Lichens
lichens
category
category8Liverworts
liverworts
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category8Mosses
mosses
category
categoryZMushrooms
mushrooms
category
category8Crops
crops
category
category8Climbers
climbers
category
category8Butterflies
butterflies
category
category8Moths
moths

This is just an additional list (rather than instead of), of the trees, shrubs, mushrooms & fungi, ferns, grasses, mosses, lichens, crops, liverworts which all also appear throughout all other listings (eg - Colour, Family, Habitat, Month, Petals, etc, etc. That is, it is not a mutually exclusive list.

  TREES
Sometimes fully grown trees can grow no taller than shrubs. In which case they will be listed under both categories.

Trees (and other vegetation) produce the gas oxygen which they release into the atmosphere as they photosynthesize absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide. This reaction is powered by sunlight, and goes against the normal direction of entropy. The oxygen gas is highly reactive and is the gas necessary in order for organic materials to burn. Oxygen gas is needed by mammals and other organisms in order to live. The oxygen gas is present in the atmosphere at a concentration of about 21%. But if too much oxygen is produced by trees, then spontaneous forest wild-fires will increase both in frequency and in severity. This both consumes oxygen and reduces the number of trees available to produce oxygen. This is a negative feedback mechanism. It is by this means and others like it that atmospheric oxygen is regulated and stabilised at the concentration of about 21%.

 VOLATILE TERPENES IN TREES
The class of volatile, pungent, organic compounds called terpenes produced in many trees, especially coniferous trees, protect them from fungal attack. Trees also release these terpenes into the atmosphere. Terpenes smell aromatic. But terpenes are also partly responsible for the conversion of some of the oxygen, O2 in the atmosphere into an allotrope of oxygen called ozone, O3. This conversion of oxygen into low-lying ozone is helped by highish summer temperatures and pollutants in the atmosphere. A forest thus emits Ozone, elevating the levels of low-lying atmospheric ozone. Ozone, a powerful oxidant, is highly toxic to most, if not all, life-forms. The concentrations of this low-lying ozone formed by this process can exceed the regulatory maximum by 50-fold or more. Low-lying ozone can also be produced by other means involving nitrogen oxides from vehicle exhausts and sunlight. Although low-lying ozone is highly undesirable, upper atmospheric ozone protects the Earth from otherwise searing ultraviolet radiation emanating from the Sun. But low-lying ozone will never reach the upper atmosphere.

Upper atmospheric ozone is actually produced by the UV rays from the sun ionising oxygen, some of which recombines as ozone instead. But trace amounts of chlorine (from now banned organochlorides once used as propellants in aerosol spray cans) in the upper atmosphere will catalytically destroy the ozone, which has been happening over the north pole, and especially south pole, over the last 30 years. Slowly, as the upper atmospheric chlorine diminishes by escaping Earths gravity, the upper-atmospheric ozone holes are filling in. This could take a few more decades...

 THE LIFE-TIME OF TREES
Unlike mammals, which have sacrificial (erodible) telomeres (non-functional strings of DNA) capping the important ends of chromosomes, trees do not have telomeres. In mammals, when the cell divides, these long telomeres protect the important information near the ends of the chromosome, which also divide and double. But in offering protection, the telomeres are eroded with every cell division. Without the telomeres, the mammalian cell cannot divide, so when, after many cell divisions, the telomeres are shortened to non-existence, the cell can divide no longer and dies. This mechanism is built-in senescence for Mammals, essentially to protect us from cancer. The cells of trees, however, lack telomeres altogether as they are not necessary for cell division in trees, so they are able to divide indefinitely. Trees can live to enormous ages, some getting wider and taller with every year. Some species can be up to 7000 years old. But only the outer parts of the tree are alive - the cambrium; the inner wood is long dead but kept preserved from decay by anti-fungicidal terpenes present in the wood, but which slowly evaporate, no longer being actively produced there. An old tree having lost most of its terpenes may start to rot inside, some become hollow. A tree will only stop growing due to its sheer size or lack of structural integrity - unable to withstand a storm, it may topple. Sometimes infection of the cambrium itself (which lies just beneath the bark) by pathogens may drastically shorten a trees' life, as is happening with many species of trees at the moment. An intact cambrium is essential to a growing tree. In a World with increasing temperatures, especially the minimum at night, fungi are gaining the upper hand as normal natural anti-fungicides produced by the tree are becoming ineffective against an enemy that is evolving faster than are they.

  SHRUBS
Shrubs have woody stems and are bushy, with many branches. Sometimes shrubs can grow as tall as trees, a particular example being Rhododendron. In which case they will be listed under both categories.

  UNDER-SHRUBS
Under-shrubs are small low-growing shrubs, often creeping. They too are woody and perennial.


HERBS

The one category out of the above that is missing is Herbs, or Herbaceous. These are all those plants with a non-woody nature and are not necessarily edible, for culinary herbs have a differing definition (and they are not necessarily non-poisonous either). So all the plants that are not Trees, Shrubs or Under-shrubs are, by default, herbaceous. The Author has not bothered drawing an icon for Herbs, although he guesses he should really.


  DECIDUOUS
Deciduous trees and shrubs shed all their leaves during one part of the year, usually autumn. The opposite is Evergreen, and not, as is commonly taught, Coniferous (which means cone-bearing). Indeed, there are some coniferous trees that are deciduous, such as Larch, which sheds all of its leaves in Autumn. Many broad-leaf trees are deciduous, such as Oak, Beech, Birch, Poplar, Maple, Alder, Willow, Hazel, Elm, Chestnut, Elder, Rowan and Whitebeam apart from Holly and a few others. Tamarisk, as in Tamarix gallica is deciduous, but many other Tamarix species are evergreen. Most hardwoods are deciduous.

  EVERGREEN
An evergreen plant is one which, although it may lose leaves during the year, it never loses all of the leaves to become bereft of leaves. They are not necessarily trees, although most coniferous trees (apart from Larch) are evergreen as well as a few non-coniferous trees or shrubs such as Holly, Garden Privet, Rhododendron, Eucalyptus and Live Oak. Most coniferous trees shed older leaves at various times of year, especially when under environmental stress such as during a heat-wave under drought conditions, but they never completely shed all their leaves, unless they are dead. Some trees are both evergreen and deciduous, such as Tamarisk, depending upon the conditions. Most evergreen trees are also coniferous.

  SEMI-EVERGREEN
A semi-evergreen plant is one which loses its leaves only in severe winters when the temperature drops below what is usual in winter or during prolonged winters. These plants are only semi-hardy in temperate climates such as the UK. Examples include Bay, Butterfly Bush, etc.

  CONIFEROUS
Coniferous simply means 'cone-bearing' and is not the opposite of Deciduous as is commonly supposed. Deciduous trees and shrubs shed all their leaves during one part of the year, usually autumn. Coniferous trees and shrubs include Larch, Spruce, Juniper, Yew, Hemlocks, Pines, Redwoods, Cedars, Douglas-firs and Firs. Most, if not all, coniferous trees also have long, narrow needle-type leaves apart from some Cypresses and Tamarisk which have scale-like leaves. Yew trees (with needle leaves) bear arils, which are modified cones or more correctly false-fruits, are nevertheless grouped under conifers, as is Juniper which also lacks the normal cone-shaped cone but instead has a hard berry-like cone. Tamarisk is neither coniferous nor broadleaf, categories which are normally considered opposite and self-exclusive. Alder is not coniferous, but has broad leaves with cone-like fruit. Most softwoods are coniferous.

Needle-like leaves usually have far fewer stomata in them which can lose water and, not shedding all leaves at once, coniferous trees can photosynthesize all year round. The needles usually have a plethora of monoterpenoids within them to make them far less palatable to insects, fungi and mammals. Coniferous trees typically inhabit soils poor in nutrients than do their broadleaf counterparts, although one can hardly appreciate the oft stated affirmation that Coniferous trees have needle-like leaves because of their propensity to grow in areas with low rainfall - the Lake District of the UK is hardly an area with low rainfall, indeed it has over between twice to ten times as much rain as does anywhere else in the UK, particularly in Norfolk (and conversely Norfolk is not an area associated with sparcity of deciduous trees either).

  BROADLEAF
Broadleaf trees have broad-leaves rather than long narrow needle-type leaves. Most broad-leaf trees are also deciduous, but this is not a necessity, Larch has needle-type leaves yet is deciduous. A few broad-leaf trees/shrubs are evergreen, such as Live Oak, Holly, Rhododendron and Eucalyptus. Some Palms such as Chusan Palm and Cabbage Palm are broad-leaf and deciduous. Tamarisk is neither coniferous nor broadleaf, categories which are normally considered opposite and self-exclusive.

Broadleaf generally refers to the leaf possessing both a large surface area and to its being thin. The large surface area gathers more light for photosynthesis which proceeds at great pace, far more light intercepting power than are coniferous trees with needle-like leaves. They are more efficient when warm, but when the temperature drops, so do the leaves, to litter the forest floor and cover up their root system with leaves which slowly decay. Once decayed, the roots can re-cycle those nutrients released back to the soil (unless the over-avid gardener collects fallen leaves and puts them in the pink bin for municipal Council composting - the Council never bring around a bag of compost in return afterwards for the house occupant!). Broadleaf trees typically inhabit rich soils where water is plentiful.

  MUSHROOMS & FUNGI
Fungi, of which, Worldwide, there are an estimated 611,000 species, invade most living organisms, consuming them from the inside. But mammals seem to be particularly immune to invasion by fungi; only a few have ever infested humans (the superficial athletes foot and thrush to the much more life-threatening diseases such as candidiasis (by candida albicans) or invasive aspergillosis, etc. People are much more likely to succumb to a fungal infection if they have a weakened immune system or it has been compromised by taking antibiotics. But the fact remains that, of all organisms, mammals heave far fewer fungal infections.

It is thought that a high normal body temperature is responsible for keeping fungal infections at bay. Indeed, it is thought that mammals evolved by turning up their thermostat to such an extent that fungal infections were much less likely to take a hold. Most fungi cannot stand such high temperatures for long, and many die. The temperature that Mammals set their thermal regulator is extremely high, and costs them dearly; they have to eat considerable quantities of food to keep such a high body temperature. It is so high, that if it were any higher, the mammals would suffer illness for other reasons (it is dangerous for humans to have a 'high temperature', which they get when ill). But as World temperatures increase with global warming, then fungi will likely be able to evolve a greater tolerance for heat. Unfortunately mammals are unlikely to be able to evolve a still higher temperature in order to avoid being infested by fungi, their bodies are already very close to the temperature above which most metabolic processes will stop functioning properly. This being so, as global warming takes hold, mammals are likely to suffer greatly increased susceptibility to fungal infections, and many more life-threatening ones. During global warming the extinction rate for mammals is likely to increase many fold due to increased fungal susceptibility.

Mushrooms, in the form of underground filamentous threads called mycellium, trap more carbon underground than do all the trees above ground. Mycellium have the remarkable ability to adapt to the environment they find themselves. If trained on ever-increasing doses of any toxin the reader may care to name, the mycellium will eventually come up with a way of consuming it and turning it into harmless products which it can either use, or dispose of. For instance, a fungus was trained to convert the thousands of tons of the poisonous gas 'sarin' which was synthesized and stored as a weapon by Saddam Hussein into non-toxic by-products, by giving it ever greater concentrations of the liquid until it developed a way of consuming it safely.

Readers should be aware that there are about 1200 mushrooms in the UK, with about 15,000 lesser varieties and species. No attempt should be made of any positive identification of mushrooms from this limited website, which contains nothing like 1200 mushrooms. Your mushroom may look similar to one shown here, but it might actually look a lot more similar to one not (yet) shown here. And some edible mushrooms cannot be differentiated from poisonous ones by visual appearance alone. We accept no liability for any injury or death occurring as a result of ingesting or exposure to any mushroom, fungus or plant included on this website.

  FERNS

  MOSSES

  GRASSES
'Grasses' in the context here include not only the true grasses (those within the  Poaceae Family, but also grass-related plants such as Rushes and Wood-Rushes (which are in the  Juncaceae Family) and Sedges, Club-Rushes and Spike-Rushes (which are in the  Cyperaceae Family). If you would like to view lists of these families individually, then call up the respective family lists themselves by clicking on the respective family links presented here.

  LICHENS
Lichens can be hard to identify positively from the numerous similar species. To help identify lichens, lichenologists usually carry out some chemical tests called 'Spot Tests' on the lichen specimens using various, often dangerous, substances. The tests are described below, but the reader is advised that no photograph of any lichen on this website has been through any chemical test, so absolute accuracy in identification cannot be guaranteed. On the other hand, if it looks like a chicken, clucks like a chicken and walks like a chicken, but isn't a chicken because it has two hearts or some other hidden trait, then, to all intents and purposes, it is a chicken (visually, and on websites that is all you can ascertain since Spot Tests wont work on images).

The K test
The so called 'potassium' test, utilising a 10% solution of potassium hydroxide, KOH. [In reality this is rather a misnomer, for it is not the potassium that is doing the testing, but rather a strong alkali - and Sodium Hydroxide, NaOH from caustic soda crystals, can be used almost as effectively].

The C test
Another misnomer, this test has nothing to do with carbon, C, but rather with chlorine, Cl2, for which a solution of Sodium Hypochlorite, NaOCl, provides a ready source. Low-cost domestic bleaches usually contain NaOCl - but check the label - up-market bleaches contain several other ingredients as well that will thwart the result).

The Pd test
Again, another misnomer, for this test has nothing whatsoever to do with palladium, but rather with the dangerously dermato-toxic para-Phenylenediamine. When exposed to bare flesh para-Phenylenediamine photo-sensitizes the skin, resulting in serious burns for up to 2 years after the initial contact with the chemical if the person exposes that skin to sunlight (it has been used as a 'black henna' hair dye in some commercial preparations, but this use is highly discouraged - it has been the subject of many lawsuits made by ladies with damaged scalps). This reagent is best avoided by amateur lichenologists. Substitutes (perhaps less effective at differentiating between lichens) are being worked out.

The HCl test
This time lichenologists have got the chemistry correct - this is the Hydrochloric Acid test to test whether the rock upon which the lichen is growing is acidic or basic. If basic (is calcareous), it will effervesce CO2. A suitable less dangerous but slower substitute is Jiffy Lemon juice in a plastic squeezy 'lemon'.

The I test
This involves the use of a solution of iodine, presumably to test for the presence of starches or carbohydrates when it will turn dark-blue; it is best left for use in the laboratory.

The Nitric Acid test
This uses Nitric Acid, HNO3, is best left and used in the laboratory. Its only use is to distinguish between Melanella and Neofuscelia lichens.

An ultraviolet light source is also useful for spotting the yellow fluorescence of many Xanthones.

Quite frequently a concatenation of these tests will be required for positive identification, with each test returning a positive or negative result. Several KEYS are published that detail the result of each test on any one particular lichen specimen.

Many Lichens contain highly coloured pigments and have been used for dying fabric. Mauve, beetroot red, cyan, fawn, lilac, yellow, cream, and various shades of brown are readily achievable, given the right mordant.

Lichens are also used as model shrubs, bushes and vegetation in model railway layouts.

Lichens contain a huge variety of unusual acids called 'Lichen Acids' ranging from Lecanoric Acid, Gyrophoric Acid, Thamnolic Acid, Usnic Acid, Salazinic Acid, Stictic Acid, Picrolichnic Acid, Baeomcesic Acid, Fumarprotocetraric Acid, Hypoprotocetraric Acid, Protocetraric Acid, Pulvinic Acid, Vulpinic Acid, Perlatonic Acid, Chlorophaeic Acid, Mevalonic Acid, Shikimic Acid, Alectorialic Acid, as well as other compounds such as Atranorin, Parietin and Anthraquinones, Napthaquinones, Xanthones and Chromones, most of which are highly coloured. Steroidal Triterpenes, Orcinols, dihydroxydibenzofurans, and m-dihydroxyphenols and Depsones also abound. The Spot Tests are designed to test for the presence or absence of these characteristic chemicals, usually by a colour change (a positive result), and by which means identification can be ascertained.

  CROPS
Crops are mainly grown commercially for foodstuffs (either as animal feed, or for human consumption), and sometimes for utility purposes such as cooking oils or for methanol production of fuel for internal combustion engines. Crops are also grown for the generation of electricity in steam-raised power stations; they are first dried, then burnt instead of coal, oil or gas. Other crops may be cottage industry foodstuffs grown on vegetable patches or allotments by enthusiasts which are not grown commercially any longer. Some crops used to be grown solely for the dyes that could be extracted from them, but synthetic dyes have all but replaced natural dyes in all but hobbyist applications. A few crops are grown for the pharmaceutical drugs they synthesize if artificial synthesis proves too complex or expensive.

  CLIMBERS
There are eight differing methods of climbing employed by climbers:

  • Scrambling (Scandant) The plant grows up between the branches and stems of others. e.g. Fumitory (Common Ramping)
  • Tendrils
    • Stem Tendrils Tendrils growing from the stem (modified stems) wrap around the supporting plant. e.g. Corydalis (Climbing)
    • Leaf Tendrils Tendrils growing from the leaves (modified leaves) wrap around the supporting plant. e.g. Vetch (Bush)
  • Adhesive pads 'Adhesive' Pads on the ends of stalks growing from the stems of the climber attach themselves to the supporting plant or even onto smooth shiny substrates. e.g. Boston Ivy
  • Clinging Stem Roots Short thin adventitious roots sprouting from the stem of the climber which then grow into the substrate in order to support the plant and also provide additional nutrients higher up the plant as the plant grows ever higher and further away from its ground roots - e.g. Ivy and the American Ivy (Poison).
  • Twining
    • Loose Twining The stems of the climber wrap in a slack spiral around the supporting plant.
    • Strong Twining The stems of the climber wrap in a tightly wound spiral around the supporting plant. e.g. Vine (Russian)
    • Twining Leaf Stalks The stalks of the leaves wrap around the supporting plant in a spiral. e.g. Bindweed (Black)
In the case of Twining climbers it is usually important to note whether the entwining is in a clockwise or an anti-clockwise direction (as seen from the attached end of the twisting member rather than from its free-end).

Vines, as some climbers are known by, are a bit fussy as to what substrate they will climb up. Most wont usually climb up themselves if they can avoid it; for a start gaining support from a plant which needs support is like pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps - its not going to work. If they bind to themselves, within a few hours they may uncoil and release their grip to find a more suitable substrate. They probably also similarly avoid climbing up other types of vines for the some of the same reasons.

It is known that some vines are capable of sensing chemicals in the plants which they attempt to climb; eventually rejecting those which are incompatible, possibly because of toxins within the host. The tendrils of the non-native vine Cayratia japonica can sense oxalate and will un-wrap themselves off any shrub containing it.

  LIVERWORTS

  BUTTERFLIES
Some may notice that Butterflies and Moths are not of the plant kingdom, and they would be correct, but without flowers, butterflies would not exist. In the course of photographing plants, the author comes across many butterflies and moths. Those that stay still long enough to approach within camera distance get their portrait taken. These are those. The Butterflies and Moths do NOT appear in the NEW menu but they do appear in the Subject Index under the catch-all BUTTERFLIES and MOTHS sub-headings.

Butterflies had a really bad year in the record-breakingly wet year of 2012 (which was drought-ridden until April, when it almost never stopped raining, flooding huge areas time and time again, month by month). Numbers plummeted, especially of the rare Blue Hairstreak, which was down by 98%! The flowers of Ivy make a useful contribution providing out-of-season nectar for butterflies in late autumn.

  MOTHS
Some may notice that Butterflies and Moths are not of the plant kingdom, and they would be correct, but without flowers, butterflies would not exist. In the course of photographing plants, the author comes across many butterflies and moths. Those that stay still long enough to approach within camera distance get their portrait taken. These are those. The Butterflies and Moths do NOT appear in the NEW menu but they do appear in the Subject Index under the catch-all BUTTERFLIES and MOTHS sub-headings

Those with a further interest in butterflies may like to visit this excellent site:
 PBH's Butterfly Studies Peter Hardy
Shows photos, host plants, nectar source plants and distribution maps of Butterflies, with an emphasis on Lancashire, Cheshire and the Philippines

 INSECTS on PLANTS
For any other insects on plants (rather than inside plants) apart from Moths and Butterflies.



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