In praise of the colour blue



Vorsø 2000-15
On a silent summer night, on the island of Vorsø, Horsens Fjord, Denmark, common elms (Ulmus glabra) stretch their dead branches into the sky. These trees have been killed by Dutch elm disease, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis novo-ulmi. – Read more about Dutch elm disease, and about Vorsø Nature Reserve in general, on this website, see: Vorsø on my mind. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2018b
In the past, the white-tailed blue robin (Myiomela leucura) was regarded as belonging to the thrushes, but recent DNA studies indicate that it is in fact a flycatcher of the family Muscicapidae. It is distributed from the Himalaya eastwards across Southeast Asia, with an isolated population in the lower mountains of Taiwan, forming a separate subspecies, M. l. montium. The species lives in dense forest and bamboo growths, feeding on the ground. Male and female have a very different plumage. The male is dark blue with pale-blue forehead and wing coverts, and a black tail with a large white spot at the base of each side, while the female is brown with a whitish throat, its tail being similar to that of the male. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Eight species of rollers, of the genus Coracias, are colourful birds, displaying bright blue or turquoise on various parts of their body. They are often perched on a prominent branch, or a fence post, scanning the surrounding landscape for prey, which includes various invertebrates, and small vertebrates such as lizards, snakes, frogs, rodents, and young birds. Most of the species live in sub-Saharan Africa, with one species in Europe and western Asia, one widespread Asian species, and one species in Sulawesi.


Tanzania 1993
The Eurasian roller (Coracias garrulus) breeds in eastern Europe and south-western Asia, with a disjunctive population in extreme southern France, Spain, Portugal, and north-western Africa. The winter months are spent in Africa, the Iberian and North African populations migrating to West Africa, from Sierra Leone east to Cameroun, while eastern populations migrate to southern Africa. This species has declined rather drastically in most of its breeding area, threats including hunting during migration, especially in Oman, where thousands are killed for food. In many places, trees have been removed, giving way to modern agricultural practices, robbing the roller of potential nesting sites and perches for hunting, while pesticides have reduced its food sources. This bird was photographed in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, in early April, when the north-going migration of this species takes place. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Sydasien 1978-79
A gorgeous Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis) takes off from a thicket in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. This species has a wide distribution, from Iraq and the Arab Emirates, eastwards along coastal Iran and the entire Indian Subcontinent, including Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands, to Southeast Asia. It is very common in India, where several states have chosen it as their state bird. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Sydafrika 2003
Kenya 1988-89
The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is rather common in open woodland and savanna in eastern and southern Africa, from Ethiopia south to South Africa, and thence west to Namibia. It is easily identified by its lilac breast. In the upper picture, taken in Kruger National Park, South Africa, a gust of wind ruffles the plumage of this bird. The lower picture, which is from Lake Bogoria, Kenya, shows a male, bringing food to his mate, who greets him by calling. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Afrika 1980-81
The Abyssinian roller (Coracias abyssinicus) breeds across the African Sahel zone, south to Cameroun, Central African Republic, northern Zaire, northern Uganda, and northern Kenya, and is also found along the southern Red Sea coast on the Arabian Peninsula, and along the Nile River, almost to the Egyptian border. Its outer tail feathers are very long and thin. This picture is from Waza National Park, Cameroun. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Kenya 1988-89
The purple, or rufous-crowned, roller (Coracias naevius) is less colourful than the other Coracias rollers. This species is very widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, excepting the West African rainforest belt and extreme southern Africa. Its preferred habitat is dry savanna, and its breeding season varies from place to place, possibly linked to recent rains. – Lake Bogoria, Kenya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Taiwan 2013
One among numerous wall paintings, made by a retired soldier in a suburban area in Taichung, Taiwan, which, for this reason, has been dubbed Tsai Hung Tsun (‘Rainbow Village’). – More pictures of this art work are found on this website, see Culture: Folk art in Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Tyrkiet 2006
This elderly woman, clad in blue, has displayed vegetables for sale at the road side, Amasra, northern Turkey. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2018
Taiwan 2018
The black-naped monarch (Hypothymis azurea) has a very wide distribution, found in the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Southern China, and Taiwan. No less than 23 subspecies have been described. The male is bright blue with a distinctive black patch on the crown and a narrow black stripe across the throat, while the female is dull-blue with brownish wings, lacking the black markings of the male. These pictures, showing a male, were taken in Taiwan, where the subspecies H. a. oberholseri is quite common. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sjælland 2017 
Narrow-leaved lungwort (Pulmonaria angustifolia) – also called cowslip lungwort – is similar to common lungwort (P. officinalis), but has narrower leaves and sky-blue flowers. It is native to central and eastern Europe, but is nowhere common. This picture is from Denmark, where this species is extremely rare, growing on a single coastal bluff in northern Zealand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



USA 2002-10
Manhattan, New York City, by night, seen from Brooklyn Bridge. – To commemorate the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, which were destroyed during a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, two blue laser beams are cast into the air, six months later, on the original location of the towers. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Costa Rica-2
Coccocypselum is a plant genus of the madder family (Rubiaceae), easily identified when in fruit, displaying bright blue or purple berries. This genus is native to Central and South America, and the West Indies. This picture shows Coccocypselum hirsutum, identified by its hairy fruits, photographed in Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, Cordillera de Tilarán, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Everest 2010 
Primroses or cowslips, of the genus Primula, are distributed in temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere, and also in Temperate South America. It probably originated in the Himalaya, where no less than c. 70 species grow. The name cowslip is interpreted in various ways. According to some authorities, it is a corruption of the Old English word cuslyppe, meaning ‘cow dung’. This probably refers to the favoured habitat of several Primula species, namely cattle grazing grounds. Others claim that cowslip is a corruption of ‘cow’s leek’, derived from the Anglo-Saxon word leac, meaning ‘plant’. – With its broadly bell-shaped flowers, the Himalayan species Primula wollastonii differs significantly from most other species in this genus. This picture is from the Gokyo Valley, Khumbu, eastern Nepal. – Read more about Primula on this website, see Plants: Primroses, and Traditional medicine – Primula veris. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Chile 2011a 
Gaily coloured houses, Valparaiso, Chile. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Everest 2010
In the past, the grandala (Grandala coelicolor) was regarded as belonging to the thrushes, but recent DNA studies indicate that it is in fact a ground-living flycatcher, of the family Muscicapidae. The plumage of the gorgeous male shows an almost iridescent hue of blue. – From a stone in a mountain stream in the Gokyo Valley, Khumbu, eastern Nepal, this male would alight and flutter around butterfly-like to snap an insect, before returning to its vantage point. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2017a 
The five-striped blue-tailed skink (Plestiodon elegans) is distributed in southern China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the southernmost islands in Japan. This picture shows an immature animal, photographed on Bagua Shan, western Taiwan. Adults don’t have a blue tail. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Swinhoe’s pheasant (Lophura swinhoii) – also known as Taiwan blue pheasant – is quite common in the mountains of central Taiwan, but is found nowhere else. To lure this gorgeous bird near, many Taiwanese photographers strew maize or other food near roads or trails, often causing it to be remarkably tame. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Chile 2011a
Puya is a genus of large plants of the pineapple family (Bromeliaceae), restricted to the Andes Mountains, and mountains of southern Central America. This picture shows gorgeous blue flowers of Puya coerulea, growing in Reserva Nacional Rio Clarillo, Chile. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Alperne 1968-2001 
Rampions (Phyteuma), of the bellflower family (Campanulaceae), comprise about 25 species, distributed in most of Europe, east to Ukraine, and south to Morocco. The flowers of almost all species are various shades of dark blue. This picture shows betony-leaved rampion (P. betonicifolium), photographed in the Tavetsch Valley, Graubünden, Switzerland. A picture of another rampion species is found on this website, see Nature: Rain. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Asien 1977-78
The nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) is a large, stout antelope, found in parts of northern India. In Hindi, its name means ‘blue cow’, referring to the slate-coloured, slightly bluish coat of the male, and to its similarity to the sacred cow. For the latter reason, the nilgai is protected by devout Hindus, and has thus escaped the fate of many other animals in India, which are on the brink of extinction, such as tiger (Panthera tigris), lion (Panthera leo), and blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra). – This picture shows male nilgais, drinking from a waterhole in Sariska National Park, Rajasthan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Norden 1992-98
Bornholm 2008a
Common viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) is native to most of Europe and northern Temperate Asia, and it has also become naturalized in parts of North America. The generic name is from the Greek echis, meaning ‘viper’, referring to the shape of the flower, with the long, red stamens sticking out like a viper’s tongue. The English name also refers to the usage of viper’s bugloss as a cure for snake bite. British herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) says about it: “It is a most gallant herb of the sun; it is a pity it is no more in use than it is. It is an especial remedy against the biting of the viper, and all other venomous beasts, or serpents; as also against poison, or poisonous herbs. Discorides and others say that whosoever shall take of the herb or root before they be bitten, they shall not be hurt by the poison of any serpent.” – Bugloss is from the Greek, meaning ‘ox tongue’, referring to the rough surface of the leaves. – In Swedish, the name of this species is ‘blåeld’ (meaning ‘blue fire’), alluding to the wonderful blue colour of the flowers, which, when many plants grow together, resemble ‘blue fire’. – The upper picture shows a growth on a gravelly beach on the Swedish island of Gotland, while the lower picture is from the Danish island of Bornholm. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2013
Many of the houses in the town of Taplejung, eastern Nepal, are painted blue. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydindien 2008
The gorgeous butterfly pea was first named Lathyrus spectabilis, in Yemen, by Swedish naturalist Pehr Forsskål (1732-1763), on the Royal Danish Expedition to Arabia 1761-1767. Later, it was renamed Clitoria ternatea by Forsskål’s mentor, Carl von Linné, also called Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778). Nobody can doubt what he was referring to! – This picture is from Karnataka, South India. – Read more about Forsskål on this website, see People: Pehr Forsskål – brilliant Swedish scientist. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2002
In former days, bluestarts, or bush-robins, were regarded as small thrushes, but DNA analyses have revealed that they are in fact ground-living flycatchers, of the family Muscicapidae. The most widespread species is the common bluestart (Tarsiger cyanurus), found from eastern Europe across Siberia, south to Japan and the Himalaya. This picture shows a male Himalayan bluestart, by some authorities regarded as a separate species, Tarsiger rufilatus. – Sagarmatha National Park, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



USA 2012a
Iris is a genus of wonderful plants, comprising 250-300 species. They are named after Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, presumably because of their colourful flowers. Some of the species are called ‘flags’, e.g. the North American northern blue flag (Iris versicolor), here photographed in Pawtuckaway State Park, New Hampshire. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Afrika 1980-81 
The Tuareg– also known by various other names, e.g. Kel Tamasheq, Imuhagh, Imazighen, or Itargiyen – are a large group of Berber peoples, living in the western half of the Sahara Desert, south to Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. The Tuaregs have often been called ’the blue people’, because they dye their clothes with indigo, the blue colour of which stains their skin. – This Tuareg was encountered south of Arlit, Niger. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Californien 2013b
USA 1998-99
Neither of the two North American ‘blue’ herons, the great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and the little blue heron (Egretta caerulea), are really blue, but have a bluish tinge to their plumage. The upper picture shows a great blue heron, feeding on a grassy plain in Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, Santa Ana Mountains, California, while the lower picture shows a little blue heron in Everglades National Park, Florida. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Chile 2011a
Schizanthus hookerii, a beautiful plant of the nightshade family, is also called butterfly flower, fringe flower, and poor-man’s-orchid. The flowers of this genus, which is native to Chile and Argentina, is pollinated by bees, bumblebees, and wasps. – Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay, Chile. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Fanø 2001-12
Cambodia 2010
Gossamer-winged butterflies (Lycaenidae) is a very large butterfly family with over 4,500 species worldwide, constituting more than 20% of all known butterfly species (excluding moths). Traditionally, the family is divided into a number of subfamilies, of which the blues, Polyommatinae, is the largest. The upper picture shows a male common blue (Polyommatus icarus), feeding in thrift flowers (Armeria maritima), Fanø, Denmark. In the foreground is a hovering fly. The lower picture shows a common tit (Hypolycaena erylus), sucking sweat from the photographer’s finger, Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sverige 2016-18
Cow-wheat (Melampyrum) is a plant genus, comprising c. 20 parasitic species, belonging to the broomrape family (Orobanchaceae). As opposed to true parasites, they also obtain nutrients through photosynthesis, thus being able to survive without their host. This picture shows wood cow-wheat (M. nemorosum), growing along a hedge on the island of Öland, Sweden. This species is easily recognized by its purplish-blue upper bracts. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Costa Rica-2
The red-legged honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) is a small bird, belonging to the tanager family (Thraupidae). It is distributed from southern Mexico, south to Peru and central Brazil. This male is feeding in flowers of blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta frantzii), Cordillera de Tilarán, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sverige 2015 
The theme on the local banner of the Swedish island Öland is identical to the official heraldic coat of arms of the island, dating back to c. 1560: a blue sheet of bunting, depicting a golden stag with red antlers, tongue, and hooves, and wearing a red collar – a symbol of Öland as a royal hunting area. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Jylland 1991-95
Picking delicious blueberries is a popular pastime in many parts of the world. This picture shows Vaccinium myrtillus, which is called European blueberry, or common bilberry, to distinguish it from many other species, which are also called blueberry. It is very common on acidic soils, especially heathland, in Europe, northern Asia, and western North America. This picture is from Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydindien 2000-01 
Towards the end of the 1800s, a narrow-gauge railway track was constructed, heading out from the small town of Mettupalayam in the state of Tamil Nadu, South India. This railway leads up through the Nilgiri Mountains, terminating at the hill station Ootacamund (Ooty). Over a distance of 46 kilometres, the terrain rises from c. 300 to c. 2,200 metres altitude, the tracks passing through 16 tunnels, and across 31 larger and c. 200 smaller bridges. The lower mountain slopes are covered in tropical monsoon forest, and this area is full of waterfalls. Above c. 1,400 metres altitude, the forest gives way to plantations of tea, pines, and eucalyptus. This steep railway is operated by a small blue steam train, the Nilgiri Mountain Express, here puffing its way up into the mountains. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Tanzania 1989
Bright blue rump feathers of an African pitta (Pitta angolensis), Rondo Forest, southern Tanzania. This gorgeous bird is breeding in tropical forest in several areas in West Africa and in south-eastern Africa, from central Tanzania south to Moçambique. The south-eastern populations are migratory, spending the southern winter in Central African Republic, Uganda, and Kenya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2012
Nepal 2009-2
The blue morning-glory (Ipomoea nil) – also called ivy morning-glory due to the shape of its leaves – is probably native to Tropical America, but has been introduced to most warmer parts of the world, where it has become naturalized in many places. The upper picture is from Taiwan, where the species is very common. In the bottom picture, a blue morning-glory is climbing on a species of sagebrush (Artemisia) in the Marsyangdi Valley, central Nepal. – Read more about this species and other members of the morning-glory family on this website, see Plants: The morning-glory family. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Ethiopien 1996
Ethiopien 1996
The Blue Nile originates in Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands, from where it makes its way c. 1,500 kilometres to Khartoum, in the Sudan, where it joins the larger White Nile. The name ‘Blue Nile’ is in fact a misnomer. During the summer monsoon, this river washes down huge amounts of soil from the highlands, which turns its water almost black. In a local Sudanese language, the word for black is also used for blue, so, in reality, the river should be called ‘The Black Nile’. The first written account of the Blue Nile is from 1565, when a Portuguese, João Bermudes – who called himself ‘Patriarch of Ethiopia’ – provided a description of the Blue Nile Falls, Tississat, in his memoirs. – Incidentally, to many Christian Ethiopians, the Blue Nile is identified as the sacred river Gihon, one of the four rivers flowing out from the Garden of Eden, as related in Genesis, 2:13. – These pictures show the Tississat Falls. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Gentians are a huge, worldwide genus, Gentiana, comprising c. 635 species, or c. 360 species, if you acknowledge the authorities, such as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group System, APG IV, which split out c. 250 species of dwarf gentians (Gentianella), with hairs or lobes in the throat, and no scales, or lobules, between the corolla-lobes, and c. 23 species of fringed gentians (Gentianopsis), with ciliate margins to the petals. The majority of gentian species are found in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and New Zealand. The flowers of most species are various shades of blue, while others are purple, violet, mauve, yellow, white, or, rarely, red, and the four or five petals are usually fused, being trumpet-, funnel-, or bell-shaped. The name ‘gentian’ derives from King Gentius, who ruled in Ancient Illyria 181-168 B.C., and who allegedly discovered the medicinal value of the yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea). Read more about this species elsewhere on this website, see Traditional medicine: Gentiana lutea. – The following 6 pictures show various blue gentian species.



Fanø 2001-12
The marsh gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe) is found in marshes and moorlands, from southern Scandinavia south to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Albania, and Bulgaria, and from Britain east to Russia and the Caucasus. Formerly, a blue dye was made from the flowers of this species. Incidentally, it is the host plant of a species of butterfly, the Alcon blue (Phengaris alcon). This picture is from the Danish island of Fanø. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Alperne 2016a
Clusius’ gentian (Gentiana clusii) was named after Charles de l’Écluse (1526-1609), also called Carolus Clusius, a Flemish physician and botanist, one of the first to study the Alpine flora. Clusius’ gentian is very similar to another gentian, G. acaulis, but as opposed to that species, Clusius’ gentian does not have green stripes inside the corolla, and it prefers to grow on limestone, whereas G. acaulis is predominantly found on acid soils. Clusius’ gentian is distributed in montane areas of southern Europe, in the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Apennines, the Jura, the Black Mountains, and the Carpathians. This picture is from Col du Bous, Dolomites, northern Italy. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Nepal 2009
As its specific name implies, Gentiana ornata is a beautiful species, found in the Himalaya, from central Nepal east to south-western China. Like many gentian species, it is flowering late in the year, from September to November. This picture was taken at an altitude of c. 4,200 metres in Langtang National Park, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Alperne 2016a
Short-leaved gentian (Gentiana brachyphylla) is quite similar to the more common spring gentian (G. verna), but as its name implies, its leaves are very short, only about 1 cm. This species has a wide distribution in southern Europe, from the Spanish Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees, east across the Alps to the Carpathians, found at altitudes between 1,800 and 3,100 metres. In this picture from the Grossglockner area, Austria, purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) is also seen. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Lahaul-Ladakh 2014
Dwarf gentians, of the genus Gentianella, can be told from other gentians by their flowers, which have lobes or tufts of hair in the throat, and no scales, or lobules, between the corolla-lobes. This species, Gentianella moorcroftiana, is distributed in the western parts of the Himalaya, from Pakistan east to central Nepal, being very common in the drier landscapes of Lahaul and Ladakh, both in northern India. This picture was taken near Lake Deepak Tal, Lahaul, at an altitude of c. 3,800 m. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)


Frankrig-Spanien 2007
Fringed gentians, Gentianopsis, are identified by their ciliate margins to the petals. This species, the European fringed gentian (Gentianopsis ciliata), is found in southern Europe and western Asia, east to Caucasus, here photographed near Col d’Aubisque, Pyrenees, France. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2014b
Jamaica vervain (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) – also called blue porterweed, blue snakeweed, bastard vervain, or Brazilian tea – belongs to the vervain family (Verbenaceae). It is native throughout the Caribbean, but has been introduced to many other parts of the world and has become naturalized in numerous areas. This one is growing up through a fern leaf near Nanzen Lake, Kenting National Park, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Californien 2011
Mexican elderberry, or tapiro (Sambucus mexicana), is a small tree, growing in western United States and northern Mexico, east to Texas. In spring, it displays an abundance of butter-yellow flowers, followed by purplish-blue berries in autumn. – Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Everest 2010
Himachal Pradesh 2007
Meconopsis is a genus of gorgeous poppies, comprising c. 43 species, almost all of which are found in China and the Himalaya. This genus, popularly called Himalayan poppies, is presented in depth elsewhere on this website, see: In praise of the colour yellow. A number of Meconopsis species have blue petals, such as M. simplicifolia, which is easily identified by its largely undivided leaves. This species is found from Nepal east to Bhutan and south-eastern Tibet, here photographed in the Gokyo Valley, Khumbu, eastern Nepal (top). The lower picture shows M. aculeata, which grows between 3,000 and 4,200 metres altitude, from Pakistan east to extreme south-western Tibet, and to Uttarakhand, northern India. This picture is from the Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Indien 2003
Formerly, Jerdon’s leafbird (Chloropsis jerdoni), living in the Indian Subcontinent, was regarded as a subspecies of the more widespread blue-winged leafbird (C. cochinchinensis), but differs in morphology, lacking the blue flight feathers of the latter. – This male, identified by the black throat and blue moustachial stripe, was caught in a mistnet to be ringed, near Mysore, Karnataka, South India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Californien 2013b 
Baby blue-eyes (Nemophila menziesii) is a gorgeous member of the borage family (Boraginaceae), native to near-coastal areas of western United States and Mexico, from Oregon south to Baja California. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental and comes in many colour varieties. – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, Santa Ana Mountains, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Jylland 2006-12
The flowerheads of chicory (Cichorium intybus) unfold in the morning, and until around noon they turn, always pointing toward the sun, after which they wither. A German name of the plant is Wegwarte (’waiting at the road’). A legend has it that the chicory is a transformed virgin, standing at the road side, looking for her sweetheart, turning this way and that. This picture from Denmark shows a close-up of a flowerhead, with a hover fly. – Read more about chicory on this website, see Traditional medicine – Cichorium intybus. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Kanariske Øer 2006 
The chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) is a widespread finch of Europe, western Asia, and north-western Africa. In most subspecies, the male is a pretty brownish-red, but in the Canary Islands, three subspecies are a much subtler reddish – rather bluish. Furthermore, another species of chaffinch, the aptly named blue chaffinch (F. teydea, seen here), is found on the island of Tenerife – and nowhere else. This male was photographed in pine forest on the slopes of the Teide Volcano. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Bornholm 2008a
Condensed exhaust from a jetplane draws white lines across a bright blue sky behind smoking chimneys of a fish smokehouse, Hasle, Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2010
Bluewing, or wishbone flower (Torenia violacea), has a very wide distribution in warmer parts of Asia, from India east to southern China and Taiwan, and south to Indonesia. In Taiwan, where this picture was taken, it is very common on the lower mountain slopes. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Lahaul-Ladakh 2014
The bright blue T-shirt of this salesman stands out against the subtler colours of the vegetables and fruits around him, e.g. bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages, eggplants, and potatoes. – Pandoh, Himachal Pradesh, northern India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Costa Rica-2 
This blue-grey tanager (Thraupis episcopus) is feeding on a fallen great morinda (Morinda citrifolia) fruit, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica. This bird of the tanager family (Thraupidae) is common in open woodland, gardens, and cultivated areas, from Mexico across Central America, south to Bolivia and northern Brazil. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2009-1
Larkspurs (Delphinium) are a genus in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), identified by their irregular flowers, which have five coloured sepals, the upper one with a large, back-pointing spur, and four inner petals, of which the upper two have nectar-producing spurs that are enclosed in the larger spur. This picture shows a large growth of the dark-blue Delphinium kamaonense, Langtang National Park, Nepal. A species of aster is also seen. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nordindien 1991
Nordindien 1991 
The city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, north-western India, was founded in 1459 by Rajput Prince Rao Jodha. The Old Town is aptly called ‘The Blue City’, as most of its houses are painted a light blue. Originally, these blue houses were inhabited by Brahmins, and their colour indicated that here you could ask advice about disease as well as religious issues. Furthermore, the blue paint contained copper oxides, which kept termites at bay. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2014b 
This fishing vessel is in dock, to be furnished with new paint, Wushe Fishing Harbour, north-eastern Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Bornholm 2008a
Sheep’s-bit (Jasione montana), which belongs to the bellflower family (Campanulaceae), is found in Temperate Europe and western Asia. It grows in rather arid areas, such as dunes and heathland. In this picture, it grows with sweet vernal grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) among coastal rocks on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sjælland 2006-11 
Myosotis is a genus of about 74 species with predominantly pale-blue flowers, belonging to the borage family (Boraginaceae). Its common names include forget-me-not and scorpion grass. The name forget-me-not is a translation of the German word Vergissmeinnicht, first used in English by King Henry IV in 1398. – This picture shows water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides), photographed on the island of Zealand, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2009-2
Early in the morning, blue pines (Pinus wallichiana) stand out as silhouettes against the snow-clad peak of Annapurna II (7,937 m), central Nepal. The name of this pine stems from its needles, which have a bluish tinge. – Read more about blue pine on this website, see Traditional medicine – Pinus wallichiana. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sri Lanka 2015 
The gorgeous Sri Lanka blue magpie (Urocissa ornata) is restricted to a few rainforest areas in south-western Sri Lanka. This bird is eating the red outer layer of a palm fruit. – Sinharaja Forest Reserve. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sverige 2015
The bellflower genus (Campanula) includes more than 500 species, found in temperate and subtropical areas of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest diversity around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. The common and generic names, as well as the name of the entire family, Campanulaceae, is due to the bell-shaped flowers of this genus. In Latin, campanula means ’little bell’. – In this picture, the widespread bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia) grows among red fescue (Festuca rubra) in the Hagestad Nature Reserve, Skåne, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydindien 2000-01 
Bluish morning mist envelops a plantation of eucalyptus in the Nilgiri Mountains, Tamil Nadu, South India. Incidentally, nilgiri means ‘blue hill’ in Hindi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Taiwan 2014b
This blue glassy tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris), of the monarch subfamily Danainae, is feeding in flowers of a species of boneset, Eupatorium schimadae, north-eastern Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Tanzania 1990 
An abundance of blue waterlilies (Nymphaea caerulea), covering the surface of a pond near Tanga, northern Tanzania. This species, often popularly called Nile lotus or sacred blue lily-of-the-Nile, is distributed in most of eastern Africa, from Egypt south to South Africa. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Jylland 2000-05
Borage (Borago officinalis) has given name to an entire family, Boraginaceae. Its leaves and flowers are excellent in salads. The leaves, which have a cucumber-like smell and taste, are also eaten as a vegetable, and used in soups. – Read more about this species on this website, see Traditional medicine – Borago officinalis. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Tyrkiet 2006 
Fountain in front of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or Sultan Ahmet Camii, Istanbul, Turkey. This marvellous building, popularly known as the Blue Mosque, was constructed between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Sultan Ahmet I. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2009-2
From the great Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath, Kathmandu, Nepal, the all-seeing, blue eyes of the Buddha survey the surroundings. The stupa is decorated with numerous Tibetan prayer flags, on which mantras are printed. These flags are always placed in this order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. When they flutter in the wind, the mantras are dispersed into space, for the benefit of humankind. – Read more about stupas and prayer flags – and about Buddhism in general – on this website, see Religion: Buddhism. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



USA 1992 
The Blue Mesa, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, consists of thick layers of grey, blue, purple, and green mudstone, which were deposited approximately 220 million years ago. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2008
Redstarts (Phoenicurus) are a genus of birds, belonging to the flycatcher family, Muscicapidae. Formerly, this genus comprised 11 species, but following DNA analyses of two species of the genus Rhyacornis and one species of the genus Chaimarrornis, these have been included in Phoenicurus. – Occupying a wide range of habitats, such as forest clearings, shrubberies, and villages, the blue-fronted redstart (Phoenicurus frontalis) is the most common among the redstarts of the Himalaya. This male was encountered in the Annapurna area, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



(Uploaded March 2017)


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