Tag Archive | fruit

Oranges in December

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I just looked in the mirror
And things aren’t looking so good
I’m looking California and feeling Minnesota, oh yeah….

Outshined by Soundgarden

It’s been a long winter, however not as bad as others. Global warming had our average temperature at 32F/0C for most of January. Usually February is pretty cold… Let’s hope not =-)

Have a wonderful Monday!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Leaf-Footed Bug ~ Leptoglossus oppositus

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Leptoglossus oppositus or the Leaf-Footed Bug, is a common, minor pest of many kinds of crops, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and ornamentals. It is a major pest in the southern states containing citrus, pecan and peach fields, where its feeding on ripening fruit causes fruit drop, among other issues.
These guys are cousins of the stink bug (Perillus) and do emit a smell when threatened. He’s another ‘SBD Dropper’ when nervous.
Ironically, they choose to pick host plants in the conifer family, rather than fruit. Native conifers they tend to decide to live in are:

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Leaf-Footed Bug with parasite

  • Lodgepole Pine ~Pinus contorta
  • White Spruce ~ Pinus glauca
  • Douglas-firs ~ Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Eastern White Pine ~ Pinus strobus
  • Red Pine ~ Pinus resinosa
  • Mountain Pine ~ Pinus mugo
  • Scots Pine ~ Pinus sylvestris

Eggs are laid in small groups on the needles or leaf stems of the pine, and hatch in spring. Nymphs go through 5 instars before reaching adulthood. In the United States, the species only has one generation per season, however in southern Europe, it completes two generations a year and in tropical Mexico, three.

The poor guy to the upper right there has a parasitic egg attached to his right shoulder (thorax). I checked with Bugguide.net (an AWESOME source for insect ID) and they are not 100% on what type of hitch-hiker this is, however lean towards the Tachinid family (true flies) .

In the northern parts of its range (here, the Midwest), September is the time these bugs start to move about to seek crevices for overwintering. This is the fun time of year when all the bugs want to come in and enjoy the warmth… They will have to fight with the Lady bugs and Boxelder bugs to find a good place to sleep!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

 

On a funny note: I will remember this insect as the LEFT-Footed Bug, as that is what my brain first registered when reading the name, along with the Latin name solidifying it by having ‘oppositus’ in the name.

 

Buddha’s Hand – Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis

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I was at my local grocery store, when I noticed this oddity. I had no clue what it was, so a photograph would have to do until I could research it. This wasn’t for sale, ironically.

Turns out this is called a Buddha’s Hand.

It is believed that sometime after the fourth century, Buddhist monks carried this fruit from India to China, where it came to symbolize happiness, wealth and longevity. The Chinese like to use it as a centerpiece in their homes, and present it as an offering on temple altars. The Japanese like to use it as a decorative ornament and place it on top of specially pounded rice cakes, or they use it in lieu of flowers in the home’s sacred tokonomo (alcove).

Though esteemed chiefly for its exquisite form and aroma, the Buddha’s Hand citron is also prescribed as a stimulant, expectorant, and tonic in non-traditional medicine.

Decorative:

  • Seasonal centerpiece
  • A fragrant air freshener

Edible:

  • Shave thin slices of Buddha’s hand and add it to a salad
  • Top steamed tofu or fish
  • Sugar and Salt: Use zest or a whole finger to make scented sugar and flavored salt
  • Zest mixed into cake frosting makes it very aromatic
  • For salad dressing:
    • 4 Tbsps olive oil – 1/2 teaspoon salt – 2 Tbsps Meyer Lemon juice – 2 Tbsps zested Buddha’s Hand
    • 1 Tbsps balsamic vinegar – 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme, minced – 1 clove minced garlic
  • Combine all vinaigrette together in bowl and allow vinaigrette to marinade overnight.
  • Candied citrus peel – which you can eat by itself or use in baked goods.
  • Make infused vodka or flavored simple syrup for cocktails.

© Ilex Farrell

Camerone Settings

I’ve only just begun to understand the settings on my camerone or camera phone. I’ve never been too concerned with the quality of my photographs. As long as everyone has their eyes open, no extra neck rolls or heads cut off, it was a ‘take-print‘ in my opinion!

Now that I’ve been trying to amass a collection of plant photos, I’m more concerned with getting it right. I also need to practice, as speed is sometimes necessary when you’re pulled over on the side of the road, dragging a reluctant husband for a walk or sneaking onto someone’s property!

lacy tomatillo

NO effect

I thought this tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) that had a beautiful lace cover was a great subject to practice some of the effect settings. These were the easiest to play with. My next lesson will deal with the stuff that requires a bit more brain power.. Like F stops and speeds… What? Brain power on E!

lacy tomatillo

Vignette

tomatillo

Greyscale

tomatillo

Sepia

tomatillo

Vintage

tomatillo

Faded Color

tomatillo art

Turquoise

tinted tomatillo

Tint

cartoon Tomatillo

Cartoon

moody tomatillo

Moody

tasty tomatillo

Rugged

oil pastel tomatillo

Oil Pastel

fisheye tomatillo

Fisheye

© Ilex – Midwestern Plants