10 Favourite Hubpages on the Subject of Wild Plants and Flowers
In these days of concrete jungles, urban living and over population, the wild places are becoming more and more important to us both as the lungs of the world, and as places of tranquil relaxation. Any time spent in the great outdoors is thus becoming increasingly precious to many people. And what makes such time infinitely more enjoyable, is an appreciation of the wild life around us, the animals of course, but most of all the plants and flowers which create the beauty of the countryside with all their shapes and forms and colours. Web pages which extol the virtues of natural plant life and encourage readers to experience more of the world's natural beauty, are therefore to be wholeheartedly encouraged.
This page is a review of many of the best pages on the HubPages website devoted to wild flowers, trees and other plants. Ten featured pages are described and illustrated with links.
This is the fifth of a series of articles I am publishing reviewing some of the best 'hubs' (web pages) on particular subjects at the HubPages site. The home page for these reviews and a list of published reviews can be found at:
HubPages is a site on which anybody from any background and level of experience or ability, can publish articles on any subject about which they feel passionate or on which they have knowledge to impart. As a member of HubPages, I use the site to write my own pages and to seek out articles on subjects which are of interest to me.
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REVIEW AND SELECTION CRITERIA
The hardest aspect of reviewing pages about wild plants is that there is no set category on HubPages which embraces all the pages. It has been necessary to scan through many separate topics and categories to find the majority of the hubs.
For this hub review I have selected several hubs from the major topic of 'EDUCATION AND SCIENCE', under the category of 'Geography, Nature and Weather', and the subheading of 'Regional Fauna and Flora', and I have selected some hubs under the category of 'Life Sciences', and the subheading of 'Plants'. And from the major topic of 'HOME', under the category of 'Gardening', I have taken hubs from the subheading of 'Wild Plants'.
I also found wild plant hubs under many other subheadings including 'Horticulture', 'Field Guides', and 'Botany'. And I know there are some other hubs listed under yet more subheadings. It is a shame that the majority of these hubs cannot be grouped together, but the best advice for anyone interested in finding pages of this kind is simply to search through all relevant topics and categories or enter the names of particular plants for a keyword search.
What I was looking for were well written, reliable and informative articles covering all the different aspects of the subject of wild plants - species descriptions, ecology and conservation, and value to mankind. Because of the nature of the subject matter, I felt good quality photographs or drawings were almost an essential for a hub to be selected for review. Fortunately, a number of HubPage members have proved themselves adept at writing good, well illustrated pages about plant life, and have contributed many articles on the site. My policy is to include just one hub from each author, but where appropriate I have also drawn attention to other quality articles by the ten authors featured here.
THESE 10 HUBS
I start the review with two hubs which illustrate the colour and beauty of wild flowers in the countryside of England and America, and one hub which illustrates perfectly that wild plants - in this case pitcher plants - can also be exotic and intriguing. Of course, the countryside has its hazards as well as its virtues, and one wishes that any who venture out into wild places enjoys the experience and avoids the less agreeable members of the wild plant community. The fourth hub therefore looks at the infamous poison ivy. In these conservation-minded days, the next two hubs examine the importance throughout history of the hawthorn tree to mankind, and the importance of the milkweed plant to the ecology of its natural environment. The remaining four hubs all deal with different aspects of man's tampering with nature. Himalayan blackberries and bowstring hemp are two rather attractive plants which nevertheless have been introduced into environments to the great detriment of native flora. And for every successful, invasive species such as these, there are unfortunately hundreds of native species in danger of extinction, and so the ninth hub looks at the plight of just a few of these on Mount Teide in Tenerife. The last hub brings together several of these themes - the beauty of wild native bluebells, the concern over-aggressive introduced bluebells, and the potential for conservation of the native species assisted by the growing of bluebell seed in gardens.
Spring in England: Spring Flowers
This page looks at a selection of ten of the most appealing wild flowers to be found in England, with concise descriptions of the plants. The author clearly has talent in more than one field as each plant is accompanied with an attractive photo supplied by nettlemere. A nice touch at the end of the page, particularly for those who live in the county of Lancashire or the city of Burnley, is a table charting where and when the flowers may be found locally. nettlemere has also written a two part hub in a similar vein - Wild Flowers Found in Burnley, Lancashire, and More Wild Flowers Born in Lancashire, Burnley. Although it is debateable whether I should include mushrooms and toadstools in a review of wild 'plants', nettlemere has also written an excellent photographic essay on Finding Fungi in Burnley, Lancashire. All of these hubs should inspire readers (in any part of the world) to get out of their armchairs and go and seek out the local flora.
Spring in England: Spring Flowers by nettlemere
Midwest Wildflowers - Part I
The first of two hub pages of really attractive photographs of some really attractive flowers to be found in the midwestern states of America. This page concentrates on the plains and the foothills of the Rockies. Jerilee Wei describes a selected few of the thousands of flowers which paint the landscape with colour, and anyone looking at these images, and their descriptions and the three nice videos which accompany the piece, could not fail to wish they were walking in the great outdoors spotting the wildflowers for themselves. Jerilee Wei has published several hubs in this category including pages on Common Edible Wild Plants and Edible Ferns, Nuts, and Grasses; many of these hubs contain Jerilee Wei's distinctive artwork.
Midwest Wildflowers - Part I by Jerilee Wei
Pitcher Plant Diversity: A Look At 10 Species
This page looks at the strange and wonderful world of the insect eating plants, and specifically the pitcher plants which use leaves expanded into vase-like traps for ensnaring and digesting prey. The page begins with a basic introduction into the formation of pitchers, and the classification of the species (pitcher plants come from several distinct unrelated families of plants. The page then goes on to reveal details of ten very different species, all beautifully illustrated with photographs. As such, the page is a must for any one with an interest in carnivorous plants, and provides a useful reminder for others of the great diversity of wild plants which exists even within such a narrow subgroup such as the pitcher plants. The hub is written by one of the foremost writers on flora on HubPages who has written equally good pages on the diversity of all other carnivorous plants (Insect Eaters: 10 Carnivorous Plants) and ten carrion flowers which for the most part are pollinated by flies (Carrion Flowers: 10 Flowers That Stink). TheNerdyGardener has also written on numerous specific plants and flowers. Among the best are pages on Viola betonicifolia, Trigger Plants, Ipomoea pes-carpae and the Fraser Island Creeper (Tecomanthe hillii)
Pitcher Plant Diversity: A Look At 10 Species by TheNerdyGardener
How to Identify Poison Ivy: Images and Treatment
Much as it's a great thing to go out into the country to look for plants and wild flowers, it can be a past time which carries its own unique hazards, including the hazards of wild plants themselves - stinging nettles, sharp thoned blackberries, and - in America - poison ivy. It's not a problem we have here in England where I live, but I've read enough about this plant to know that it can cause extreme discomfort. This hub gives a really detailed account of the plant, its distribution, and most importantly how to identify it (leahlefler's own excellent photos help in this regard). And of course, if one is unlucky enough to be affected by coming into contact with the plant, there is a useful guide to medication to ease the symptoms of the rash.
How to Identify Poison Ivy: Images and Treatment by leahlefler
HAWTHORN AND MAN
The hawthorn tree is one of the best known and most attractive of trees to be found in the English countryside. This hub page by D.A.L gives a comprehensive account of the two species of hawthorn, their history, and the medicinal and culinary uses to which people have put the tree in past times. The hub also covers the many myths and legends associated with the tree. Above all, the hub includes some of D.A.L's useful photos of the flowers, berries and leaves - all of which make identification easy. D.A.L has published a large number of hubs about different plants including other British trees such as sycamores and maples, the beech tree, and the holly, and other plants and flowers such as wild members of the pea and bean family, the bugle flower, and the wood aven. I can't mention all the other hubs here, but all I would suggest are worth a look.
HAWTHORN AND MAN by D.A.L
The Amazing Milkweed
This hub by kerryg has been chosen for this review of mine for one very good reason. Few pages give a better illustration of just why our wild plant heritage needs to be preserved and supported. The Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is just one plant, and a plant indeed considered by some as 'a noxious weed', and yet kerryg's hub shows how important this one plant can be, both to humans and to the ecology of the natural world. The plant has been used or may be used in the future in insecticides and medicines, while the floss which allows the seeds to be distributed on the wind has been used as a stuffing for blankets and pillows. But whatever its value to humans the Common Milkweed needs to be treasured as the food source for many of America's most attractive creatures. Above all, it is the sole food plant of a species of butterfly which provides in its winter resting grounds in Mexico, one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles. A video shows the Monarch butterfly in its roosting site.
The Amazing Milkweed by kerryg
Himalayan Blackberry Plants - Invasive and Beautiful
Blackberries are among the most familiar of all wild plants, perhaps for two reasons. The first reason is a good one - the fruit which so many enjoy harvesting. The second reason isn't quite so welcome - blackberries, or brambles as the wild plants are commonly known, are among the most invasive and impenetrable of shrubby plants due to their rapid rate of growth, and their vicious thorny stems. Many different varieties exist - which brings us to the subject of this review. AliciaC has written this nice hub about the Himalayan blackberry, which I've chosen here because it contains very good information and a liberal sprinkling of her own quality photos. It has also been chosen because this hub illustrates how we can both benefit from wild plants, and suffer when we tamper with nature through introducing alien species. AliciaC has also written some equally nice hubs about The Hedge Bindweed or Morning Glory and The Oregon Grape Plant
Jan Moninckx and Bowstring Hemp (Sansevieria hyacinthoides): Plant and Illustration Still Vibrant After 400 Years
This page looks at one specific plant, the Bowstring Hemp, Sansevieria hyacinthoides, its life history and its form, which is described in detail. However, as is typical with the author Derdriu, the page combines two or three themes into one article. In this case a major focus of attention is the spread of this plant as a non-native invasive species in southern Florida. Another emphasis of the page is with the artist Jan Moninckx who portrayed this plant in very life-like fashion in a great and important tome of botanical illustrations called the Moninckx Atlas three hundred years ago. One of his illustrations is reproduced opposite. This combination of themes allows the page to be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in ecology or art, as well as those with a particular interest in wild plants. Derdriu has written many other articles in a similar vein including one on the Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa), the Tenerife Dragon Tree, Cinnabar Red Chanterelles, and a page featuring the work of Jan Moninckx's daughter, Maria Moninckx and South Africa's Gasteria nigricans and Pelargonium lobatum. All of these are highly informative.
Jan Moninckx and Bowstring Hemp (Sansevieria hyacinthoides): Plant and Illustration Still Vibrant After 400 Years by Derdriu
- SADLY DERDRIU'S HUBS ARE CURRENTLY OFFLINE. HOPEFULLY THIS IS A TEMPORARY SITUATION BEFORE REPUBLICATION IN DUE COURSE
Teide Violet and other endangered wild flowers found on Mt Teide
Tenerife Islander is a writer on this site who's username is about as self descriptive as can be. He lives on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, and most of his writing is concerned with life here in all its forms - human and otherwise. For anyone visiting the island, his pages would be well worth a look. Among other subjects he's covered in many hubs is the wild plant life of Tenerife. The page which is featured here looks at a selection with illustrations of the rarer plants indigenous to Mt Teide - the highest mountain on the island. These include the Red Viper's Bugloss, the Dwarf Teide Bugloss, the Mt Teide Catnip, and of course the Teide Violet which is mentioned in the title. If AliciaC and Derdriu's pages above featured invasive plant species, this page shows the other side of the coin; on Mt Teide there are many rare plants which are found nowhere else in the world. Looking at the photos makes one realise that the world becomes a poorer place whenever a species of plant or animal becomes extinct. One hopes that these protected species always have a home on the island. Other pages in the series include Prickly Pears on Tenerife, Palm Trees, Tenerife parasitic plants, and Medicinal herbs.
Teide Violet and other endangered wild flowers found on Mt Teide by Tenerife Islander
How to Grow English Bluebells from Seed
The bluebell is certainly one of the most colourful and welcome sights each year in the English countryside, not just because this well known woodland bulb forms highly attractive carpets of blue flowers, but also because the season of flowering in the months of March and April means that this lovely plant heralds the spring and the promise of warmer weather to come. This page by IzzyM introduces the English bluebell as well as two other species - the Spanish bluebell and and a hybrid species. The page tells us how the English bluebell - the traditional wildflower - is under threat from its more aggressive Spanish counterpart, which is slowly taking over in many places after being introduced as a garden plant. Above all, the page evokes the beauty of a bluebell wood in spring, the dangers of alien plant introduction, and the possibility of spreading the English bluebell through the sowing of wild seed, and it concludes with an attractive video of a bluebell wood. IzzyM has also written a hub about the Difference between Spanish and English Bluebells, and a number of hubs about growing plants, including wild species, from seed.
A NOTE ON COPYRIGHT
In order to make this page attractive and well presented, and to give a much better indication as to the reviewed hubs' content, I feel it is necessary to include one photo from each hub. Usually these will be public domain images. If they are copyright work, I will inform the author, and seek permission. Although my intention is only to increase visits to the hubs, if authors do not wish me to use the photos, I will of course, happily remove any copyright pics, or would be happy to use an agreed alternative image if requested.
THE LIST OF MY HUBPAGE REVIEWS
MY OWN HUBS
I write my own hub pages on a wide range of subjects including science and astronomy, as well as travel guides, photographic essays and film reviews. I also have pages of creative writing. A full list can be found at the above address.