Sunday, 31 January 2016


The eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus) is a parrot native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeastern Australia and the Maluku Islands (Moluccas). It is unusual in the parrot family for its extreme sexual dimorphism of the colours of the plumage; the male having a mostly bright emerald green plumage and the female a mostly bright red and purple/blue plumage. Joseph Forshaw, in his book Parrots of the World, noted that the first European ornithologists to see eclectus parrots thought they were of two distinct species. Large populations of this parrot remain, and they are sometimes considered pests for eating fruit off trees. Some populations restricted to relatively small islands are comparably rare. Their bright feathers are also used by native tribes people in New Guinea as decorations.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,

and also part of the  Friday Greens meme.

Thursday, 28 January 2016


Petrea is a genus of evergreen flowering vines native to Mexico and Central America. They have rough-textured leaves, hence the common name "sandpaper vine". It looks somewhat similar to a tropical Wisteria. Shown here is Petrea volubilis. Carolus Linnaeus named Petrea in honour of Robert James Petre, 8th Baron Petre of Ingatestone Hall in Essex. Petre was a patron of botany.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Set on Siloso Beach facing the South China Sea, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa in Singapore, offers comfortable accommodation amidst a natural landscape. Each room comes with an attached private balcony and a view of the hills, garden, pool or sea so guests can enjoy the lush, natural surroundings.

This post is part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Friday, 22 January 2016


This is an image I created in a program called 'Mojoworld', where one may create graphic representations of planets according to parameters that are inputted, and then zoom in on views of the surface. The planet here I've called Chartreuse and it is interesting in that it has two moons, one of which is getting dangerously close to the planet surface!

This post is part of the Nature Footstep Digital Art Meme,
and also part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


Passiflora, known also as the passion flowers or passion vines, is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. The monotypic genus Hollrungia seems to be inseparable from Passiflora, but further study is needed.

 Nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. Most other species are found in South America, Eastern Asia, and Southern Asia, New Guinea, four or more species in Australia and a single endemic species in New Zealand. New species continue to be identified: for example, P. pardifolia and P. xishuangbannaensis have only been known to the scientific community since 2006 and 2005, respectively.

 Some species of Passiflora have been naturalised beyond their native ranges. For example, Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea) now grows wild in Spain. The purple passionfruit (P. edulis) and its yellow relative P. flavicarpa have been introduced in many tropical regions as commercial crops. A number of species of Passiflora are cultivated outside their natural range because of their beautiful flowers. Hundreds of hybrids have been named; hybridising is currently being done extensively for flowers, foliage and fruit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos Meme.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016


A major feature within the Southbank Parkland in Brisbane City is its man-made beach, which is 2,000 square metres of free-formed concrete surrounded by 4,000 cubic metres of sand. The sand surrounding the beach is sourced from the Rous Channel in Moreton Bay and every year the beach is topped up with an additional 70 tonnes to ensure that it is kept in pristine condition. Almost half of the lagoon area sits on reclaimed land that was once the Brisbane River.

The Streets Beach was designed by Desmond Brookes International. It was constructed by Fletcher Jennings Construction and Water and Industrial Engineering. Construction commenced in February 1991 and was complete by June 1992. The beach has received awards including the 1999 Moreton Bay region's cleanest beach in the Keep Australia Beautiful Council's Clean Beach Challenge and the 2001 Environmental Protection Agency's Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach Challenge, Friendliest Beach Award.

The beach area comprises a lagoon with enough water to fill five Olympic swimming pools, with sand beaches, palm trees, rocky creeks and subtropical trees and exotic plantings. The beach is patrolled seven days a week by lifeguards. The lagoon contains chlorinated fresh water that is recirculated every six hours at up to 125 litres per second. Water for the beach is pumped through two large sand filters and chemically treated before being pumped back into the pools. Dredge pump and self-propelled sifting machines clean the adjoining pools

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 382,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1,520,000 in the metropolitan area. Florence is famous for its history: a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, it is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages".

A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. The Historic Centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 89th most visited in 2012, with 1.8 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

This view is from the small town of Fiesole, on a scenic height above Florence, 8 kilometres northeast of that city. According to the 2003 census, its population was 14,100.

This post is part of Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Thursday, 14 January 2016


We recently planted this beautiful variety of Fuchsia "Tiny Dancer' in our garden. It is a compact, prolific and delicate plant. The added interest is that the flowers are not pendant, but rather are borne erect on the end of the flowering stems.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


Astypalaia (Greek: Αστυπάλαια, pronounced [astiˈpalea]), is a Greek island with 1,334 residents (2011 census). It belongs to the Dodecanese, an archipelago of twelve major islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea.The island is 18 kilometres  long, 13 kilometres wide at the most, and covers an area of 97 km2. Along with numerous smaller uninhabited offshore islets (the largest of which are Sýrna and Ofidoussa), it forms the Municipality of Astypalaia, which is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. The capital and the previous main harbour of the island is Astypalaia or Chora, as it is called by the locals.

The coasts of Astypalaia are rocky with many small pebble-strewn beaches. A small band of land of roughly 100 metres wide almost separates the island in two sections at Sterno. Two of the most beautiful beaches of the island can be reached by the tourist boats which set off from Pera Yalos and Maltezana. These beaches are Kaminakia, where there is a tavern which serves boiled goat (stew), an island speciality, and Vatses, where there is a cave with stalactites and stalagmites.

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


The Huc Bridge on Sword Lake ("Hồ Hoàn Kiếm"), one of the major scenic spots in Hanoi, Vietnam, serving as a focal point for its public life. The Huc Bridge (meaning Morning Sunlight Bridge) leads to Jade Island on which the Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple) stands. The temple was erected in the 18th century. It honours the 13-century military leader Tran Hung Dao who distinguished himself in the fight against the Yuan Dynasty, Van Xuong, a scholar, and Nguyen Van Sieu, a Confucian master and famous writer in charge of repairs made to the temple in 1864. A lovely park surrounds the lake.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday, 9 January 2016


The tree in silhouette is an Australian native, Casuarina equisetifolia or Australian pine tree. It is a she-oak species of the genus Casuarina of the family Casuarinaceae. The native range extends from Burma and Vietnam throughout Malesia east to French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu, and south to Australia (north of Northern Territory, north and east Queensland, and north-eastern New South Wales).  The species has been introduced to the Southern United States and West Africa. It is an invasive species in Florida and South Africa.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme.

Friday, 8 January 2016


Marsilea drummondii is a species of fern known by the common name nardoo. It is native to Australia, where it is widespread and common, particularly in inland regions. It is a rhizomatous perennial aquatic fern that roots in mud substrates and produces herbage that floats on the surface of quiet water bodies. It occurs in water up to one meter deep.

It occurs in abundance after floods and can form mats on the water's surface covering the ground in carpets as floodwaters recede. It is variable in appearance and occurs in many types of wetland habitats. In general the frond is made up of two pairs of leaflets and is borne erect when not floating. The plant produces sporocarps which can remain viable for 50 years and only release spores after being thoroughly soaked. The sporocarps are dispersed by birds that eat them but cannot digest them, and also spread by flowing water. Sporocarps are hard, woody structures about 0.5-1 cm long that are produced on stalks that arise from the rhizome. They bear sori, which are the structures in which the fern spores are produced.

The sporocarp is used for food by Australian Aborigines, who collect and grind them to powder which they mix with water to make a dough. The sporocarp can be toxic due to high levels of thiaminase, which destroys thiamine (vitamin of B1). Consumption of large amounts of nardoo can cause beriberi. It has been known to poison sheep, as well as humans, including the leaders of the Burke and Wills expedition. Nardoo must be prepared properly before consumption to destroy the thiaminase.

Burke and Wills ground the sporocarps dry, then cooked the flour in much the same way that wheat and barley are ground and cooked. This method of preparation contrasted with that used by the Aborigines, who ground them with water to make a thin paste. As nardoo sporocarps contain large amounts of the enzyme thiaminase, mixing the flour with water stops the enzyme's action and also dilutes the other chemicals that are needed for the enzyme to destroy thiamine. In their preparation method, the Aborigines did not allow the watery paste to come into contact with bark or leaf utensils. Had they used bark or leaf, amino acids from them could have activated the thiaminase.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme,
and also part of Pippa's Week That Has Been Friday meme.

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Erodium moschatum is a species of flowering plant in the geranium family (Geraniaceae) known by the common names musk stork's-bill and whitestem filaree. This is a weedy annual or biennial herb which is native to much of Eurasia and North Africa but can be found on most continents where it is an introduced species.

The young plant starts with a flat rosette of compound leaves, each leaf up to 15 centimeters long with many oval-shaped highly lobed and toothed leaflets along a central vein which is hairy, white, and stemlike. The plant grows to a maximum of about half a meter in height with plentiful fuzzy green foliage. The small flowers have five sepals behind five purple or lavender petals, each petal just over a centimeter long. The filaree fruit has a small, glandular body with a long green style up to 4 centimeters in length.

This is widely known as a common weed of gardens, roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas, crops, and pastures. However, it also grows in natural areas, such as grasslands and open woodlands, and is sometimes regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria. It appears on some local and regional environmental weed lists in this state (e.g. in Banyule Shire and in the Goulburn Broken Catchment), is an invasive weed of woodlands on granitic hills, and is also present in conservation areas (e.g. Brisbane Ranges National Park). It has also been described as an invasive coloniser of grasslands in South Australia, and is widespread in conservation areas in this state (e.g. Cleland Conservation Park, Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, Coorong National Park, Belair National Park and Para Wirra Recreation Park). It has also been recorded in conservation areas in Tasmania (e.g. Greens Beach/Kelso Coastal Reserve and Tasman National Park).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016


Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. The municipality has approximately 400,028 inhabitants, the urban agglomeration 1.315 million, and the Zurich metropolitan area 1.83 million.

Zürich is a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country. Permanently settled for around 2000 years, Zürich has a history that goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. However, early settlements have been found dating back more than 6400 years ago.

During the Middle Ages Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, became a primary centre of the Protestant Reformation in Europe under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli. The official language of Zürich is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect.

Zürich is a leading global city and among the world's largest financial centres despite a relatively low population. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Most of Switzerland's research and development centres are concentrated in Zürich and the low tax rates attract overseas companies to set up their headquarters there. Monocle's 2012 "Quality of Life Survey" ranked Zürich first on a list of the top 25 cities in the world "to make a base within". According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe.

 Many museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Schauspielhaus Zürich is one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.

This post is part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme 
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


Indian painting has a very long tradition and history in Indian art. The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of pre-historic times, the petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka rock shelters, some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old.

India's Buddhist literature is replete with examples of texts which describe palaces of the army and the aristocratic class embellished with paintings, but the paintings of the Ajanta Caves are the most significant of the few survivals. Smaller scale painting in manuscripts was probably also practiced in this period, though the earliest survivals are from the medieval period.

Mughal painting represented a fusion of the Persian miniature with older Indian traditions, and from the 17th century its style was diffused across Indian princely courts of all religions, each developing a local style. Company paintings were made for British clients under the British Raj, which from the 19th century also introduced art schools along Western lines, leading to modern Indian painting, which is increasingly returning to its Indian roots.

Indian paintings provide an aesthetic continuum that extends from the early civilisation to the present day. From being essentially religious in purpose in the beginning, Indian painting has evolved over the years to become a fusion of various cultures and traditions.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Friday, 1 January 2016


Basil, Thai basil, or sweet basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum of the family Lamiaceae (mints). Basil is possibly native to India, and has been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.] It was thoroughly familiar to the Greek authors Theophrastus and Dioscorides.

It is a half-hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Taiwan. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.

There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as 'African Blue'.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.