Nature’s patterns

 

 

On this page, the word nature has a somewhat wider meaning, including man-made habitats, such as fields and stone fences.

 

 

In Norse religion, yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) was dedicated to Frigg, goddess of knowledge, love, and marriage, who was also protector of women giving birth. It was a custom to line the childbed with this fragrant herb. When Christianity was introduced, this heathen habit was banned, but as it persisted, the Church decided to dedicate yellow bedstraw to Virgin Mary instead, claiming that this herb was lining the crib of the newborn Jesus, hence the folk name of the species, Our Lady’s bedstraw. – Read more about this species elsewhere on this website, see Traditional medicine: Galium verum.

 

Sverige 2016-18
At the edge of a gravel road in Småland, Sweden, the wind has been moving this yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) back and forth, hereby creating a pattern of concentric circles in the sand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Tree roots, which have been exposed due to rain water erosion, often create beautiful patterns on the forest floor. Four examples are shown below.

 

Bali-Lombok 2012
Exposed roots on a hiking trail, Gunung Rinjani Volcano, Lombok, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Nordindien 1991
Exposed roots of a huge banyan, or Bengal fig (Ficus benghalensis), Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India. – Read more about this species elsewhere on this website, see Plants: Pipal and banyan – two sacred fig trees. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Alperne 2018a
Exposed roots on a hiking trail in a beech forest near Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Taiwan 2014b
Exposed roots of a Taiwan red cypress (Chamaecyparis formosana) on a hiking trail, Alishan National Forest, central Taiwan. Read more about these magnificent trees elsewhere on this website, see Plants: Ancient and giant trees. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 2017-18
Patterns on the trunk of an ancient, gnarled cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera), central Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sydasien 1980
Early in the morning, a patch of sunshine is illuminating people, who harvest rice in the Trisuli Valley, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The native area of the beach almond (Terminalia catappa), also known as country almond, Indian almond, Talisay tree, and umbrella tree, is unknown. Today, this species is widely distributed in most tropical and some subtropical areas of the world, growing in a wide range of habitats. Three of its popular names stem from the similarity of its fruits to those of the true almond (Prunus amygdalus), but the two species are not at all related, the true almond belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae), while beach almond belongs to the family Combretaceae. – Other pictures of beach almond are found elsewhere on this website, see: In praise of the colour red.

 

Taiwan 2014
Bright red winter leaf of beach almond (Terminalia catappa), Taiwan. On this island, this species is widely planted as an ornamental tree. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Taiwan 2014d
In this picture from Taiwan, leaves of a beach almond have been partly eaten by insects. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Tyrkiet 2018a
Tyrkiet 2018a
Tyrkiet 2018a
Patterns in natural terraces, consisting of deposited calcium bicarbonate, Pamukkale, Turkey. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

As its name implies, the most important food item of the acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is acorns. It has an interesting habit of storing acorns as a winter supply in small holes, which the bird chisels into the bark of living or dead trees. This bird is common from California through Mexico and Central America to northern Columbia.

 

Californien 2013b
Californien 2013b
This acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) has chiseled its nesting hole in the trunk of a palm tree in Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, California, and around the nesting hole, it has made numerous small holes for storage of acorns. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The parasol-leaf tree (Macaranga tanarius), also called heart leaf or nasturtium tree, belongs to the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). It is a native of eastern China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea, and eastern Australia.

 

Taiwan_2017b_256
The nerves on these leaves of the parasol-leaf tree (Macaranga tanarius) create beautiful patterns against the light. This picture is from Taiwan, where this species is very common. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Every morning, devout Buddhists feed feral pigeons around the great Buddhist Bodhnath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. – Read more about the Bodhnath Stupa elsewhere on this website, see Religion: Buddhism.

 

Nepal 2013
After being fed, feral pigeons rest on the dome of the Bodhnath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal, contrasting sharply with the yellowish-white dome. Tibetan prayer flags can be glimpsed in the upper left corner. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

As a companion of Man for thousands of years, the horse, which in the wild state once roamed grass steppes of Europe and Asia, is today found in most parts of the globe. It is dealt with in detail elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Animals as servants of Man – Horse, donkey and mule.

 

Kirgisien 1999
Horse riders in a snow-covered landscape, Arashan Valley, Kyrgyzstan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Nepal 1998
Horses on a snow-covered field, Manang, Upper Marsyangdi Valley, Annapurna, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica
Agave leaf, still not fully opened, Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja, Cordillera de Guanacaste, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2011a
A slight puff of wind creates ripples in a calm Pacific Ocean, in which a flock of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) are resting – Coos Bay, Oregon, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

In Taiwan, betel palms (Areca catechu) are cultivated by the millions. On this island, every other man chews betel, a mild intoxicant, consisting of a leaf from the betel bush (Piper betle), which is wrapped around bits of betel palm nut, lime, and, according to your taste, tobacco or spices. Chewing this mixture increases your spit production, and red blotches of betel spit is ubiquitous in Taiwan, and in many other parts of South and Southeast Asia.

 

Taiwan 2018b
Plantation of betel palms (Areca catechu), Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A cristate, or crested, saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) forms, when the cells in the growing stem begin to divide outward, rather than in the circular pattern of a normal cactus. This mutation results in the growth of a large fan-shaped crest at the growing tip of a saguaro’s main stem or ‘arms’.

 

Arizona-Utah 2001
Crested saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2018
Banana leaf, torn by the wind, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The medium-sized ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) has a very wide distribution, breeding across North America, from the northern prairie states of Canada south to northern California and the U.S. prairie states, and eastwards to Newfoundland. It winters in the U.S., Mexico, and the Greater and Lesser Antilles.

Its specific name refers to the Delaware River, where it was first collected. It was described by American naturalist George Ord (1781-1866), who, incidentally, also described several specimens, brought back by the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804-1806), e.g. black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), grizzly bear (Ursus arctos ssp. horribilis), and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana).

Read more about the black-tailed prairie dog, as well as the Lewis and Clark expedition, elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Squirrels of North America. The pronghorn is dealt with under Nature: Rain.

 

USA 1998-99 
This young ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) has just landed in Mill Neck Creek, Long Island, United States, hereby creating concentric circles on the surface. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Alperne 2017
Fallen inflorescences of an edible chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) create patterns at a roadside, Bühlertal, Schwarzwald, Germany. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2017b
Hair pattern on the rump of a Taiwanese dog, also called Takasago dog. – Dogs are dealt with in detail elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Animals as servants of Man. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sverige 2016-18 
Detail of a weather-beaten beam in a house, which was formerly used as storage hut for harvested flax (Linum usitatissimum), Lerkaka, Öland, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Kirgisien 1999
Glacier with patterns, created by deposited moraine, Yrdyk Valley, Kyrgyzstan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The attractive wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) resembles a tiny spruce tree. This species is distributed in the northern temperate and arctic zones of Eurasia and North America.

 

LFM 1987-2016
Wood horsetails (Equisetum sylvaticum) in a dark forest, illuminated by a patch of sunshine, Møn, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Annapurna 2007 
Mustang is a very dry area in central Nepal, which, however, receives enough precipitation to create gullies in a bluff along the Jhong Khola River. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Common goat’s-beard (Tragopogon pratensis) is native to Europe and northern Asia, and has also become widely naturalized in North America. The sepal-like bracts, which surround the flowerhead, contract before noon, closing it, which has given rise to a popular name of the plant, Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon. When the plant has seeds, these protrude from the flowerhead during the contraction, hereby resembling a goat’s beard.

 

Sjælland 2012-16
Fyn 2005-09
A close view of seeds of common goat’s-beard (Tragopogon pratensis), Denmark. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bali 2009
Leaves of a tree fern, seen from below, Bedugul Botanical Garden, Bali, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 2013-15
Brightly coloured buildings, reflected in Lake Birksø, Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Malaysia 1984-85
Pattern, created by a small crab, which has brought up tiny sand balls from its den and deposited them on the beach, Pulau Gaya, Sabah, Borneo. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2003-05 
Eroded Nanya Sandstone with layers of oxidized iron, northern Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Tunesien 1987
Stems of chopped-off leaves create patterns on the trunk of this date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), Nefta, Tunisia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2013 
Washed-up bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) creates patterns on a stony beach, Salt Point State Park, California, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2011
Tunnels, made by insect larvae, create patterns in a leaf of California black oak (Quercus kelloggii), Sequoia National Forest, Sierra Nevada, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Cambodia 2010
Impressions of ox-cart wheels create patterns in fallow paddy fields beneath Phnom Krom Hill, near Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Guatemala 1998
Palm leaf, Tikal National Park, Guatemala. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2012 
Plant, clinging to a stone wall, Lion’s Head National Scenic Area, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Parque Nacional Corcovado is a protected rainforest area on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. This interesting national park is presented elsewhere on this website, see Travel episodes: Costa Rica 2012 – Coastal hike to Corcovado. Two pictures from beaches in this park is shown below.

 

Costa Rica
Small gullies on a sandy beach, created by receding water at low tide, Parque Nacional Corcovado. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Costa Rica
Tracks of numerous hermit crabs create patterns around a fallen fruit on a sandy beach, Parque Nacional Corcovado. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

USA 2016 
The shadow of two conifers creates patterns on a barn, Portland, Maine, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 2013-15
Ripples on a lake surface create wavy patterns in reflections of common club-rush (Schoenoplectus lacustris) and broad-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton natans), Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 1987 
Fallow terraced fields, Pokhara, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Vorsø 2016-20
These tufts of saltmarsh rush (Juncus gerardii), which have sprouted between large specimens of sea plantain (Plantago maritima), create patterns in a littoral meadow, nature reserve Vorsø, Horsens Fjord, Denmark. A littoral pond with vegetation of common cordgrass (Spartina anglica) is seen in the background. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sjælland 2012-16
Stacked trunks of Norway spruce (Picea abies), Zealand, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Like the North American harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) and the South American torrent duck (Merganetta armata), the habitat of the African black duck (Anas sparsa) is fast-flowing rivers. This species is distributed in the major part of Africa, from the Sahel zone and Ethiopia south to South Africa.

 

Sydlige Afrika 1996-97 
Patterns in the overflow from the Mare Dam, Nyanga National Park, Zimbabwe. A pair of African black duck (Anas sparsa) are feeding above the dam. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2009
These densely cut tea bushes (Camellia sinensis) near Alishan, Taiwan, create an irregular pattern. – Read more about tea elsewhere on this website, see Traditional medicine: Camellia sinensis. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The place of origin of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is unknown, and today it is found everywhere along tropical coasts, in some areas also inland. This species is utilized for countless purposes. Oil from the nuts, and also dried copra, is used in cooking and in lamps. Mats, weaved from the leaves, are used as walls and roofs in houses, and mats and rope are produced from the fibres in the husk. Charcoal is made from the shells, and the trunk is utilized as timber and firewood.

Coconut palm leaves are very ornamental. Two examples are shown below.

 

Cambodia 2009 
Close-up of a coconut palm leaf, Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Tanzania 1990
Detail of a withering coconut palm leaf, northern Tanzania. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is a smallish wader, which breeds in marshes of subarctic and northern temperate areas of Europe and Asia, wintering in Africa, South Asia, and Australia.

 

Sydlige Afrika 1993
Feeding in a river in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, this wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) creates concentric rings on the surface. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called tulip tree, whitewood, or fiddle-tree, is one of the largest East American trees, sometimes reaching a height of 60 metres, with a trunk diameter up to 3 metres. The generic name is from the Greek leirion (‘lily’) and dendron (‘tree’), while the name tulip tree refers to the large flowers, which superficially resemble tulips. The species, however, is in fact a member of the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). The popular name fiddle-tree refers to the peculiar shape of the leaves, which sometimes resemble small violins. This popular tree is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

 

USA 2002-10 
Leaves of an American beech (Fagus grandifolia) cast shadows on the trunk of a yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Long Island, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2014c
Eroded volcanic coastal rocks, covered in a species of sea lettuce, Ulva compressa, Fugueijiao, northern Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The grey-headed kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala) is widely distributed in Africa, from Mauritania east to Ethiopia and Somalia, and thence south to South Africa. It is also found on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. This species belongs to a group of kingfishers, which are not closely connected with water, mainly feeding on larger insects, lizards etc.

 

Tanzania 1989 
Patterns on the underside of a wing of a grey-headed kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala), Tanzania. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 1977-90
Trunks of young beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) cast shadows, which form patterns on the forest floor, Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2
Multi-coloured leaf of a member of the arum family (Araceae), Parque Nacional de Cahuita, Limón, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Tyrkiet 2018
Dead stems of a vine create patterns on a wall, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Fanø 2001-12
Ripples in a tidal area, created by waves, Fanø, Denmark. Shells of an American razor clam (Ensis americanus) are also seen. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Tanzania 1988
Ripples in a tidal area, created by waves, Ras Murundo, Tanzania. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Most seeds of the so-called strangler figs, of the genus Ficus, begin their life as an epiphyte in a tree, the seed often sprouting in a pile of bird dung, delivered by the bird which ate the fig fruit. Over the years, aerial roots of the strangler fig wrap around the host tree, growing down to the ground, where they take root. With time, these roots completely envelop the host tree, which is eventually strangled to death, and as its trunk decays, it leaves the fig tree as a hollow cylinder of aerial roots. – Pictures of other fig species are found elsewhere on this website, see Plants: Ancient and giant trees. You may also read more about fig trees, see Plants: Pipal and banyan – two sacred fig trees.

 

Bali 2009 
As the trunk of the host tree decays, it leaves the strangler fig tree as a hollow cylinder of aerial roots, here in the town of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2014d
Planted trees create an intricate pattern, Huoyan Mountains (’99 Peaks’), Pinglin, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Fyn 2010-16
Sloping, harvested field, Funen, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2010
Fungi on a withered leaf, creating a beautiful design, Basianshan National Forest, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Lobelia telekii is a very tall member of the bellflower family (Campanulaceae), which is restricted to mountains in Kenya (Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, and the Aberdares), growing at altitudes between 3,000 and 5,000 metres. Its flowers, which are pollinated by birds – especially the scarlet-tufted sunbird (Nectarinia johnstoni) – are hidden among long, hairy bracts, giving the plant an extremely hairy appearance.

This species was named in honour of Count Samuel Teleki de Szék (1845-1916), a Hungarian explorer, who led the first expedition to the northern parts of Kenya in 1887-1888.

 

Kenya 1988-89
This picture of Lobelia telekii, from Makinder Valley, Mount Kenya, shows the hairy bracts of this species. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

Kenya 1988-89
Morning light on a leaf rosette of Lobelia telekii, Makinder Valley. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

USA 2002-10
Fallen branches create patterns in a vernal pool, Parker River Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2
Leaves of a palm species, Manicaria saccifera, in Spanish called palma real (‘royal palm’) are reflected in water, Tortuguero National Park, Limón, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) has a limited distribution, found only in scattered grasslands in northern Kenya and eastern Ethiopia. Due to its very low numbers, a total of only about 3,000, it is regarded as an endangered species.

 

Kenya 1988-89
Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), showing the distinct rump pattern of this species, Buffalo Springs National Park, Kenya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Devil’s Tower is a rock formation in north-eastern Wyoming, United States – presumably the eroded remnant of a laccolith, a large mass of magma, which is intruded through sedimentary rock. As the magma cooled, 6-sided (sometimes 4-, 5-, and 7-sided) vertical columns formed. This amazing rock rises dramatically above the Belle Fourche River, 265 metres high from base to summit.

For hundreds of years, this rock has been sacred to local peoples, such as Lakota, Cheyenne, and Kiowa, and it appears in the mythologies of several other tribes. Today, it is the site of tribal vision quests and other rituals, and in the surrounding grasslands, Sun Dances and other tribal ceremonies are performed.

Read more about vision quests elsewhere on this website, see Religion: Animism, and Books: Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty, Chapter 3.

 

USA-Canada 1992
Devil’s Tower, north-eastern Wyoming, United States, rises dramatically above the surrounding landscape. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

USA-Canada 1992
Devil’s Tower is popular among rock climbers. In this picture, climbers scale some of the columns. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2012 
Branches and needles of Taiwan red pine (Pinus taiwanensis), Shei-pa National Park, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Indonesien 1985
Onion fields on the lower slopes of Gunung Bromo Volcano, Java, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2014b 
Eroded coastal rocks, Sandiao Cape, north-eastern Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

USA 2012a
Beautiful patterns on a rock wall after heavy rain, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bali 2009
Flowers and leaves, which have been brought as an offering to the Hindu Water Temple near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, are now floating on the surface of a pond. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 2017b 
The small toad rush (Juncus bufonius) is distributed over most of the world, but is restricted to humid areas. In this picture, it grows only in the deepest, most humid grooves of a tractor track, central Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2011
Twisted trunk of an ancient Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), White Mountains, California, United States. – Read more about these ancient trees and other old trees elsewhere on this website, see Plants: Ancient and giant trees. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The spotted genet (Genetta genetta) is a small viverrid, native to most of Africa and along the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. At an early stage, it was introduced to Spain, where it quickly formed a wild population. It has since spread north and east through France, into Switzerland, Belgium, and southern Germany.

 

Kenya 1988-89 
Pattern on the coat of a spotted genet (Genetta genetta), Kenya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Lolland-Falster-Møn 1970-86 
Twig of an ivy (Hedera helix), clinging to the trunk of a common hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), Møn, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 2013
Withered leaf of Saurauia napaulensis, partly eaten by insects, Ghunsa Valley, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The American black duck (Anas rubripes) is found in eastern North America, from Saskatchewan and the Great Lakes, eastwards to the Atlantic Coast. This species is a close relative of the widespread mallard (A. platyrhynchos), and the two species often interbreed, which can make identification of pure black ducks difficult.

 

USA 1998-99 
Feeding American black ducks (Anas rubripes), creating ripples in Mill Neck Creek, Long Island, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Malaysia 1984-85
Wet rainforest leaf, seen from below, Sepilok, Sabah, Borneo. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Island-Færøerne 1999
This iceberg, partly covered in moraine, is stranded in a glacial lake, Jökulsárlon, beneath Vatnajökul Glacier, southern Iceland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bali 2009
Close-up of a jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Bali, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bornholm 2008
Common orange lichens (Xanthoria parietina) create concentric rings on a stone wall, Hammershus, Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Persian lilac, or Chinaberry (Melia azedarach), is probably native to Iran and the Indian Subcontinent. However, due to its beautiful flowers and fruits, it is widely planted elsewhere. It readily becomes naturalized and is now regarded as an invasive in e.g. North America, East Africa, some Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Australia.

 

Taiwan 2014a
The bark on old Persian lilac trees (Melia azedarach) often forms cross-like patterns, like on this one in Taitung Ecological Park, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2
Young leaf of a bamboo palm (Chamaedorea), also called pacaya, Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, Cordillera de Tilarán, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2014b 
Patterns on a rock face, Shakadang River, Taroko National Park, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sydindien 2008
Bamboo plants, which have just flowered, are now dying, stretching their withering stems towards the sky, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The aardwolf (Proteles cristata) is a small relative of the hyaenas. It is fairly common in eastern and southern Africa, but is rarely seen due to its nocturnal habits. The name aardwolf is Afrikaans (the language spoken by immigrating Dutch Boers to South Africa), meaning ‘earth wolf’, relating to the fact that it lives in underground burrows.

 

Sydafrika-Namibia 1993
Back pattern of an aardwolf (Proteles cristata), killed by a car, South Africa. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

In Turkish, the Column of Constantine, Istanbul, Turkey, is called Çemberlitaş Sütunu, from çemberli (‘hooped’) and taş (‘stone’). This column, also known as The Burnt Pillar, was constructed on the orders of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great in 330 A.D., commemorating the declaration of Byzantium, renamed by Constantine as Nova Roma (’New Rome’), as the new capital of the Roman Empire. Later, the name of the city was changed to Constantinople, and, following the conquest by the Ottomans in 1453, to Istanbul.

 

Tyrkiet 2018
Resting feral pigeons create patterns on the base of The Column of Constantine, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2 
Driftwood with numerous holes, made by shipworms, Tortuguero National Park, Limón, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Norden 1967-86 
Lichens, growing on a rock, Lake Tunnhovd, Norway. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The giant taro, or giant elephant’s ear (Alocasia macrorrhizos), which grows to 5 metres tall, is native from Malaysia south through Indonesia to northern Australia, but has been introduced to many other tropical and subtropical areas as an ornamental, food crop, or animal feed. It is listed as an invasive species in Cuba, New Zealand, and several Pacific islands.

The gigantic leaves of this plant are often used as umbrellas. Its rhizome is edible when cooked for a long time, but the sap irritates the skin in your mouth, as it contains needle-like calcium oxalate crystals. In Hawaii, this plant is called ʻape, and they have a saying, Ai no i ka ʻape he maneʻo no ka nuku. (’The one who eats ʻape, will have an itchy mouth’), meaning ’There will be consequences for partaking of something bad.’ (Sources: S. Scott & T. Craig, 2009. Poisonous Plants of Paradise: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Injuries from Hawaii’s Plants. University of Hawaii Press; and M.K. Pukui, 1986. ‘Ōlelo No’eau, Hawaiian Proverbs and Sayings. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu)

 

Taiwan 2014d 
Underside of a leaf of giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhizos), Taiwan. On this island, this species is ubiquitous in the lowland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) has a very wide distribution, found from south-central and south-eastern United States, south through Mexico and Central America to coastal areas of South America, south to Peru and southern Brazil. The name of the genus, Egretta, is from the French word aigrette, meaning ‘little heron’. Another picture of this species is found elsewhere on this website, see: In praise of the colour blue.

 

USA 1998-99
This little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) is resting on aerial roots of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), J. N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bornholm 1999-2005 
Shadows from trees are cast on a large growth of daisy (Bellis perennis), mixed with a few dandelions (Taraxacum officinale), Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Cambodia 2010
This leaf of Dipterocarpus alatus has fallen among the ruins of Angkor Thom, Cambodia. The beautiful patterns in the leaf are created by micro-organisms, which have partly eaten it. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2 
Young leaflet of a fern, unfolding, Parque Nacional Volcán Poás, Cordillera Central, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2014b
Patterns in coastal rocks, Jialeshuei, Kenting National Park, southern Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Vorsø 2016-20
Patterns in the bark of an old ash (Fraxinus excelsior), nature reserve Vorsø, Horsens Fjord, Denmark. A twig of cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) is seen to the right. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Puerto Rico 2000 
Shadows of serrated leaflets on this fern create zigzag patterns on other leaflets, El Yunque, Puerto Rico. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Formerly, the brown-eyed wolf lichen (Letharia columbiana), which belongs to the family Parmeliaceae, was utilized by native peoples in California as arrow poison, and the Okanagan-Colville tribe used it medicinally, internally for stomach problems, externally for wounds.

 

USA 1992
Brown-eyed wolf lichen (Letharia columbiana), growing in concentric rings around the trunk of a white fir (Abies concolor), Sequoia National Park, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

USA 2012
Pine pollen create patterns on the surface of a rainwater puddle, Pine Barrens, New Jersey, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sverige 2015
Feeding tunnels on the trunk of an ash (Fraxinus excelsior), made by ash bark-beetle (Hylesinus fraxini) larvae, Öland, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sydafrika-Namibia 1993 
Ripples on a sand dune, caused by wind, Sossusvlei, Namibia. – Read more about Namibia elsewhere on this website, see Countries and places: Namibia – a desert country. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Tunesien 1987
Cracked mud in a dried-out wadi (desert wash), Metlaoui, Tunisia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is native to western North America, with two varieties, one coastal, growing from British Columbia south to central California, and one montane, found in the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia south to Mexico. Today, however, it is cultivated almost worldwide for its excellent timber.

The specific name was given in honour of Scottish naturalist Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), who participated, as surgeon and botanist, in an expedition around the world on board HMS Discovery, under the leadership of Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798). The English name honours Scottish botanist and plant collector David Douglas (1799-1834), who first reported this species.

 

Fyn 2010-16
Unripe cone of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), showing the characteristic three-pronged bracts of this species, Funen, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

All but one of the 21 extant armadillo species live in Central and South America, and only one, the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), reaches North America. Since its arrival in Texas in the 1880s and in Florida in the 1920s, this species has spread north to North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Missouri. Climate change is the likely explanation to its occurrence in southern states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. However, biologists never thought that the winters of North Carolina, Indiana, or Missouri were mild enough to support an armadillo population, and a harsh winter or two would undoubtedly knock them back. (Source: scientificamerican.com/article/armadillo-moves-north-across-warmer-north-america)

In Spanish, armadillo means ‘the little armoured one’, referring to the ‘armour’ of these animals, consisting of overlapping scales, called scutes, which are composed of bone with a covering of horn.

 

USA 1992
USA 1992
These pictures of nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) are from Louisiana, the lower one showing details of its armour plates. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Vorsø 2000-15
This common elm (Ulmus glabra), growing in Nature Reserve Vorsø, Denmark, was killed by Dutch elm disease, caused by a sac fungus, Ophiostoma novo-ulmi. A dried-out polypore fungus is seen on the trunk to the right. – Read more about Nature Reserve Vorsø, as well as Dutch elm disease, elsewhere on this website, see: Vorsø on my mind. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2012
Patterns on a withering banana leaf, Lugu, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Malaysia 1984-85 
An epiphytic fern, growing on a slender tree trunk in a rainforest, is illuminated by a patch of sunshine, Sepilok, Sabah, Borneo. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2013
Green algae, growing on eroded coastal rocks, Montaña de Oro State Park, California, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Indonesien 1985 
Knot on the trunk of a dead tree, Gunung Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2012
Slender grass stems, Shei-pa National Park, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

USA 2016 
Pattern on the underside of fallen bark, Haverhill, Massachusetts, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

(Uploaded June 2017)

 

(Revised continuously)