Saturday, 14 December 2019

DESKTOP 2326 - ZEBRAS

Zebras are several species of African equids (horse family) all having in common, distinctive black and white striped coats. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and donkeys, zebras have never been truly domesticated.

There are three species of zebras: The plains zebra, the mountain zebra and the Grévy's zebra. The plains zebra and the mountain zebra belong to the subgenus Hippotigris, but Grévy's zebra is the sole species of subgenus Dolichohippus. The latter resembles an ass, to which it is closely related, while the former two are more horse-like. All three belong to the genus Equus, along with other living equids.

This post is part of the Weekend in Black and White,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

DESKTOP 2324 - POLYGALA

Polygala myrtifolia, the myrtle-leaf milkwort, is an evergreen 2-4m tall South African shrub or small tree found along the southern and south-eastern coasts, from near Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. It is a fast-growing pioneer plant, a typical fynbos component, and may be found on dunes, rocky places, along forest margins, beside streams, and in open grassland. It belongs to the milkwort family of Polygalaceae.

The thin, oval, mucronate leaves, 25–50 mm long and up to 13 mm wide, are arranged alternately and have entire margins - some forms of P. myrtifolia have thin, needle-like leaves. The attractive mauve sweetpea-like flowers, which close at night, may also be pink, magenta, crimson or white, and have a characteristic brush-like tuft protruding from the keel. For pollination an intricate piston mechanism is used. The fruit is an oval, brown, dehiscent capsule which is narrowly winged.

The species is often cultivated in South African and Australasian gardens. The genus of Polygala comprises some 360 species with a wide distribution in the tropics and temperate zones. 'Polygala' is interpreted as 'much milk' since the plant was thought to stimulate milk production in European cows - 'myrtifolia' translates as 'myrtle-shaped leaves'. This species has become naturalised in some of the coastal areas of Australia, Norfolk Island, New Zealand and California. This species is noted for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Research conducted by the University of KwaZulu Natal found that aqueous extracts of P. myrtifolia proved effective against Candida albicans.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

DESKTOP 2323 - WEATHER

Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria and second largest city in Australia, has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. This is mainly due to Melbourne's geographical location. This temperature differential is most pronounced in the spring and summer months and can cause strong cold fronts to form. These cold fronts can be responsible for all sorts of severe weather from gales to severe thunderstorms and hail, abrupt temperature drops, and heavy rain. In late Winter and early spring we do get a lot of weather and it's quite dramatic to see the sky darkening with clouds as the change moves in.

In the last few weeks we have experienced a great deal of weather and some quite spectacular changes that have come through and affected the city. I'm just grateful that we have not had the extreme heat and drought that have caused the massive bushfires that have been burning for months now in the Northeast coast.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

DESKTOP 2322 - LIMA, PERU

Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of more than 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the second-largest city in the Americas (as defined by "city proper"), behind São Paulo.

Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as Ciudad de los Reyes. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Around one-third of the national population lives in the metropolitan area. Lima is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on May 12, 1551, during the Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.

In October 2013, Lima was chosen to host the 2019 Pan American Games. It also hosted the December 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Miss Universe 1982 pageant. In October 2015, Lima hosted the 2015 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

Lima’s architecture offers a mix of styles. Examples of early colonial architecture include the Monastery of San Francisco, the Cathedral and the Torre Tagle Palace. These constructions are generally influenced by Spanish Baroque, Spanish Neoclassical and Spanish Colonial styles. After independence, preferences gradually shifted toward neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles. Many of these works were influenced by French architectural styles. Many government buildings and major cultural institutions were constructed in this period.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 9 December 2019

DESKTOP 2321 - CITY

Ambling along the banks of the Yarra River on the South side, looking out towards the North. Picnicking, walking, boating, photographing, canoeing, or just having a lazy afternoon relaxing on the lawn, which is disrupted every now and then by the squawking seagulls... 

Deborah Halpern's mosaic sculpture "Angel" is prominent in the second small shot. Deborah  is one of Australia's most celebrated sculptors, known for her wildly colourful mosaic work. "Angel" stood in the moat of the National Gallery of Victoria for many years before it was moved to its current location.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

 

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Thursday, 5 December 2019

DESKTOP 2317 - HYDRANGEA

Hydrangea (common names hydrangea or hortensia) is a genus of 70-75 species of flowering plants in the Hydrangeaceae family, native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 m by climbing up trees. 

They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous. Having been introduced to the Azores, H. macrophylla is now very common, particularly on Faial, which is known as the "blue island" due to the vast number of hydrangeas present on the island. Species in the related genus Schizophragma, also in Hydrangeaceae, are also often known as hydrangeas. Schizophragma hydrangeoides and Hydrangea petiolaris are both commonly known as climbing hydrangeas.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.