Practical Ecology

Nature Switched On





in the Pyrenees  the first 10 years

floristic catalogue
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gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-

>> 2007 Jan 26
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                         a   S T A M M E R  project              

2008 January 12 & 13, Saturday & Sunday

Midwinter and it is cold and wet these days. The rain is more than welcome because the autumn was very dry. Very often the mornings show temperatures below zero and low level clouds and fogs. The  pond is then mostly frozen showing interesting patterns on the ice surface. The water is of a coffee colour again because of abundant rainfall.



Overview looking north-east.
Photograph taken on 6 January 2008, 8:59.


13 January 8:52
I put some hay on the right side to stimulate regrowth and avoid erosion caused by overflow.
Compare with
13 Oct 2007.


The ice seems to have folded around the stones forming a star like pattern.
Photograph taken on 6 January 2008, 9:01.



There are of course very few flowering plants now but Erucastrum nasturtiifolium is a notable exception which is not only flowering but even producing fruit.


Perhaps a dozen of this Erucastrum nasturtiifolium
were flowering all over the terrain.
Sunday 15:01





Surprising was also the early appearance of about five rosettes of Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) in the same place where it flowered last year.

Many other perennials and bi-annuals have formed their rosettes in the autumn and are showing already some activity, defying frost and anticipating spring. Here a showcase:

  Rosette of Pyramidal Orchid in the half-shade in the centre of the terrain.
Sunday 14:48

Both the Wild Carrot (left; Daucus carota) and Oxtongue Hawkweed (right; Picris hieracioides) show the red colouring typical for winter conditions.
Sunday 15:17

Picris hieracioides
Sunday 15:08

Abundantly present are the rosettes of  Wavyleaf mullein (Verbascum sinuatum) with its sculptural design.
Sunday 15:40






At the foot of the withered stems of  Small Scabious(Scabiosa columbaria) new plants are sprouting.
Sunday 14:52

Dominantly present the whole year round is Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor).
Sunday 15:14

Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare). Its scientific and common name seems to refer to the snake-like inflorescence with the styles protruding like the tongue of a viper, but also the rosette shows a remarkable resemblance to several erecting snakes.
Sunday 15:10


Some typical groundcover plants, like Mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pillosella) and Cut-leaf Self-heal (Prunella laciniata) are also consolidating their territory.











Rosettes of Cut-leaf Self-heal under the flowers of last year.
Sunday 16:10

Exceptionally fresh green leaves of Catsear (Hypochaeris radicata), ready to flower at the beginning of March.
Sunday 15:21


The red colouring of the leaves of Mouse-ear hawkweed is not very constant.
Sunday 16:14

Mouse-ear hawkweed with shrubs of Common thyme.
Sunday 15:47


Other plants are evergreen (or 'evergrey' in the case of Thyme) and have relatively thick leaves, rolled-up leaf edges and lignified stems which stay near the ground. Nevertheless a plant like Wall Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) seems to do without all these safety measures and has a very fragile look. Its a wonder how it manages to stay green in winter. Perhaps it takes advantage of the heat buffering  effect of stone walls.








Alpine Rockrose (Helianthemum oelandicum ).
Sunday 15:04

Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) with a withered plant of Eryngium campestre on the higher central terrace.
Photography taken on 6 Jan 2008 12:29.

Wall Germander(Teucrium chamaedrys) in the half shade of Quercus faginea trees near the lower-terrace wall. Notice...


... the resemblance of the leaves. Chamaedrys means 'low growing oak'.
Sunday 16:29



A special case is the Rusty-back fern (Ceterach officinarum), whose name is derived from the rust-coloured scales which completely hide the underside of the leaf. In winter and under moist conditions the fern is active and shows the fresh green colour of the upper side of its leaves but under dry conditions the leaves roll up and form a nice rust-coloured tube which minimizes transpiration.


This specimen of Rusty-back fern shows some leaves half-way adapting themselves to the recent rainfalls.
Notice the stripes of dark-brown sporangia on the right.
Sunday 16:27




Wall on the lower southern terrace, covered with moss, lichens and Rusty-back fern.
Sunday 16:23


Stonegarden in the extreme north-east corner.
Photograph taken on 6 Jan 2008 9:16


The Stonecrops (Sedum sp.) of the rockgarden are tireless and even seem to have enjoyed the autumn drought. The red one with the tiny leaves is doing exceptionally well. It comes from a high mountain area at 50 km and I suppose it is English stonecrop (Sedum anglicum).



The green of the grass (Bromus diandrus) is competing with the white of the frost.




  Overview from the entrance towards the south-east.
Sunday 10:13

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-

>> 2007 Jan 26
<< 2007 Dec  1











Latest revision on:  01/08/2018