For the third fun fact about nature this blog revives an old favorit quiz of mine originally from a nature tv-show for children. The show was called Myror i brallan (Ants in your pants) and the quiz was Gissa bajset? (Who’s poo?). Today I will publish four pictures and you can make your guesses in the comments! As a clue I can tell you that all the pictures have been taken in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
The largest of the samples is nr 1
I give you a quite fresh nr 2
Next to slightly larger feet then mine is nr 3
Last and smallest in our lineup is nr 4
If you need a second clue here it comes. They are all from wild animals.
I’ll announce the answers as a new years gift on Thursday.
Dear qt’s, this post will be devoted to the banana tree. Which is really not a tree but a herb however as plant categorisation is not my idea of fun we will leave it at that.
I have meet several people that claim the superiorness of the banana plant when it comes to diverse area of uses. It supposedly has a great scope of use AND you can use all the parts of the plant. Being from a country that do not cultivate banans I had mostly encountered the fruit of the plant (a more correct classification is berry but let’s not wander down the path) called banan. I was not familiar with other uses of the plant bit that changed quickly when I arrived in India the first time. Let’s start with the leaf. The leafs for are used as plates in South India so at the moment I encounter them whenever I eat out. They are also used as wrapper if you parcel your food and eat at home. Before your meal is served you of course clean your leaf. If you are lucky your meal looks something like this.
A part form the fruit you can also eat banana flowers. When I first saw them in the market I thought they were some sort of maize. But after at visit downhill where banana plantations are common I realised my mistake. The stem I have never had but I hear it is has a tender core. It is also a frequent guest at the local market and in different dishes.
In Japan the fiber form the tree is used to create textiles. However the most unlikely (to me at least) use of this plant is shown in a study published a few years ago. It investigates banana peels and there ability to bind heavy metals from contaminated water. This could be a cheap way of reducing heavy metals in waters across the world. This is still only a small selection of the uses for the banana plant. Which three do you use the most? /Ida
Exploring the nature in the Nilgiris is tremendously exiting for me. I have hardly been out in the forest at all but since everything from plants in the office campus to bugs and birds in my back yard are new acquaintances I have a nature experience everyday. In the Keystone campus there is always someone close by with a book on the endemic birds of the Nilgiris or stories of encounters with some of the local mammals. My knowledge of my surroundings is humble but thanks to all the knowledgeable staff of Keystone I’m learning bit by bit. Another source of information is the Newsletter of the Nilgiris Natural History Society.
In the first week in Kotagiri I read a piece written by Anita Varghese, working with the conservation programme at Keystone in the issue from June 2014. It was centred around trees and plants whose young leaves are red. In tropical climate the young leaves of plants are often red while turning green when aging. In temperate regions it is the other way around, the new leaves are green while the old ones turn red in the fall. The text described how the red colour works as a protection against animals that would want to eat the new leaves. You see, the red pigment makes the leaves less tasty for insects. Also, the insects cannot see colours in the red range of the light spectrum which would make the red leaves appear as dark or dead. After I read this article I see trees with young red leaves everywhere (and photo document every one of them naturally). I’m not sure why I find this particular little piece of the plant cycle so fascinating. Perhaps because the process is seemingly reversed from the deciduous trees of my native habitat.