12th June 2014

The starry Greater Stitchwort, a wild flower which loves a damp, part-shady spot in our garden, has nearly finished flowering but its attractions aren’t over yet. The nectar-rich flowers are a food source for the rare Wood White Butterfly, but the seed-pods or ‘poppers’, as we called them as kids, are what we always searched for in the hedgerows. When at exactly the right degree of ripeness, the spherical seed-heads can be pressed between your fingers to give a loud ‘pop’. Just brushing past a patch at ripening time can produce audible popping!

Greater Stitchwort, a wild flower I love having in the garden.

Greater Stitchwort, a wild flower I love having in the garden.

Ripening seed pods of Stitchwort or 'Poppers' about to explode to disperse the seeds.

Ripening seed pods of Stitchwort or ‘Poppers’ about to explode to disperse the seeds.

 In local grassland, near a pond I found this Spider, which has taken a bit of identifying. I-spot has come to the rescue again. It is a Stretch Spider, also known as the Long-jawed Spider. This is one of a genus found all over the world. When disturbed, they will stretch their front legs forward and back legs back, lie along a piece of grass and become very hard to spot. They spin a weak web, and during mating the female and male lock their long jaws together, in order to prevent the female eating the male before mating occurs! The egg sac is cunningly disguised as a bird dropping! On the right of the spider is a captured insect wrapped in silk, waiting to be eaten at a later stage by the adult. Conditions: Hot, mostly sunny day. Temperature: Max 22- Min 15 C

Stretch Spider on its web, with a food parcel awaiting to its right.

Stretch Spider on its web, with a food parcel awaiting to its right.

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