Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday Flowers

Invaders and killers.

I should have spent more time sorting out this one; an interesting subject.

One of the big invaders (we're told), along our waterways, and rivers, is the Indian Balsam.

It comes in pink, red, white, and shades in between, and has as many names too amongst them, Himalayan Balsam, Policeman's Helmet, Poor man's Orchid, Nuns, Jumping Jacks, Stinky Pops and Bee-bums. It was introduced to the UK by a remarkable man, John Forbes Royle. Royle was born in India in 1799 but educated in Scotland, developing an interest in botany.

Another plant, from the same family, Balsaminaceae, is the Orange Balsam.

Like the Indian Balsam, this riverside plant is also a foreign import, but from North America. It occurs frequently along rivers and lake edges, but it is not as invasive as Indian Balsam. Because the ripe seed pods explode on contact it is also known as 'Touch-me-not'.

A Killer next? Well, Lord's and Ladies does have poisonous berries.

Arum maculatum is a common woodland plant species of the Araceae family. It is widespread across temperate northern Europe and is known by an abundance of common names including Wild arum, Devils and Angels, Cows and Bulls, Cuckoo-Pint, Adam and Eve, Bobbins, Naked Boys, Starch-Root and Wake Robin.
The berries contain oxalates of saponins which have needle-shaped crystals which irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, and result in swelling of throat, difficulty breathing, burning pain, and upset stomach.

A well known poisoner is the Foxglove.

Digitalis purpurea, or also known as, Dead Men's Bells, Fairy Fingers, Fairy Thimbles, Floppy Dock, and Throatwort.
Due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin, the leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant are all poisonous to humans and some animals and can be fatal if eaten.

Enjoy the weekend, and be careful what you eat.


  1. A pleasure to see your captures, enriching to read about them.

  2. Great set of colourful images Keith,and some interesting details in the text.

  3. A good set again.....I like the water drops on the orange Balsam....you carry a spray too?

  4. Thank you Indrani :-)

    Thanks Trevor :-)

    Cheers Adrian. The water was natural; it's one from the vaults lol

  5. they're all so beautiful - i guess that's to lure you in like a siren. loved all the names of each one of them. truly amusing (as long as you're not fighting for your life).

  6. Beautiful and educational, thank you Keith.

  7. HI Kieth ...the Indian is one I am not familar with but the rest yes..they all grow here...
    The Orange I call Jewel weed, and as kids me called it Touch-Me-not,and where great fun popping the seed pods!! It is all over my back property but I won't have them for lunch!!
    I love Foxgloves , but only recently found out they where poisonous, and for some reason as a kid I knew that the Lords and Ladies was a no-no..probably from my parents!!
    Interesting info...

  8. I just love some of the wild nick-names given to these plants...stinky pops & dead men's bells! I didn't know that about the foxglove, still learning.
    The touch-me-not is also know here in New England as Jewel weed. The Jewel Weed Stem can be crushed and the liquid rubbed into the skin contacted by Poison Ivy and symptoms will not appear or will be much less troublesome.

  9. Theresa, imagine trying to tell the hospital you've eaten 'Naked Boys', or 'Floppy Dock' lol

    Thanks Larry :-)

    Thank you Grace. The history of some plants is fascinating.

    Thanks Andrea. I'm sure wild plants are much better than the drug company alternatives; cheaper too. :-)

  10. Fascinating. Enjoyed your post so much. My son is thinking of studying horticulture, so I might just direct him to this post. Love the photos!

  11. Thank you Gail. A great compliment.
    All the best to your son in his studies.

  12. Fantastic flower photos, forbidding for a few, fascinating facts.

  13. Interesting post on a global phenomenon. We have our own invaders here, some of which do an awful lot of damage--and interestingly they tend to spread along waterways first. At least the ones you've posted here look pretty--our nonnative invasive species all look ugly to me.

  14. Great info ... what a dangerous world out there in all that beauty!

  15. Thank you Bob :-)

    Thanks JoLynne. Seems the 'invaders' are everywhere.

    Reena, some are beautiful, but deadly.

  16. A wonderful post...
    Lovely images and a very informative read.

  17. Beautiful Friday shots Keith!! I promise not to eat ANY of these! Have a great weekend.

  18. Amazing how divinely beautiful poison can be.....

  19. Thanks Andrew :-)

    Sondra, enjoy your weekend too :-)

    The hidden beauty in some poisons Gemel :-)

  20. I can't resist popping the "touch-me-nots" when the pods are ripe. They're just so willing to entertain. Beautiful captures, Keith.

  21. Thanks Hilary. It's a bit like that bubble wrap stuff, used for parcels. lol

  22. I totally like these plant shots!
    The first one reminds me of my childhood in Germany, walks to school, popping the seeds of those plants (guess it's an invader in Europe too).

    The third one I've only seen once in Hungary (or a relative of it).

    The last one I love because of their Beauty. :-)

  23. Thanks Nicole, glad you enjoyed them.

  24. Very interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  25. Wish I'd read your post before sticking my nose on the end of one those purple balsam flowers, bloody hell nearly had a heart attack, thought it had snapped closed on the end of my beak but I later learned it must have been the seeds popping.

  26. We have the jewelweed too,as well as some others you have.I leave the orange jewelweed alone because the hummingbirds just love it,phyllis

  27. Thanks Phyllis.
    Both the balsam's here are great favourites with the bees.