Hiking the Whale Trail with Foldscope.

After many months I finally had time to play with Foldscope again. Dried flowers which I daily collected on our 2018 Whale Trail hike in the De Hoop Nature Reserve on the southern coast of South Africa, were mounted and interesting floral features captured with the low magnification lens. The trail runs through the indigenous…

Hiking the Tankwa Camino with Foldscope

From 29 Sept to 9 Oct 2016 I took part in a 260km ‘Tankwa Camino’ endurance hike,  which stretches through one of the most desolate regions on earth: South Africa’s Tankwa Karoo. For 10 days our group of 50 hikers covered distances of up to 32kms per day while facing scorching temperatures. My Foldscope was…

Botanizing – of trichomes and things :)

I’m a bit tied up this weekend to experiment with Foldscope, pleading from downstairs to go out and explore more of nature! I did however take time to scan some of my trichome papers from the 1980s, and they are now online: 1. Taxonomic value: 2. Morphogenesis: 3. Initiation during leaf growth: More to come…

Botanizing 3

Tea from Southern Africa! Looking at samples of my tea collection with Foldscope actually resembles a throwback to looking at your ‘Hortus siccus’ – a collection of dried plants from a herbarium, like plant explorers and collectors of old. I first looked at Rooibos (red bush) tea – Aspalathus linearis – a species endemic to…

Shapes of Nature

Reticulite is like glass in rock form… A frothy volcanic rock that forms during vigorous fire-fountaining of lava. It is so full of bubbles that it floats on water. It is like very fine pumice made of glass, and has the lowest density of any rock, with a porosity of up to 98 percent. The...

Botanizing 2

Looking at the fern in my backyard I notice small spherical bumps on the lower (abaxial) side of its leaves, or fronds. These tiny spheres are so-called  ‘sori’ that contain spore-bearing sporangia. Ferns are part of the plant division Pteridophyta, which are very old and very smart, since they survived since the age of dinosaurs….

Botanizing

My first images after assembling and registering my Foldscope! Pelargonium leaves and flowers were mounted dry with transparent tape on a paper slide, to look at the trichomes and signs of pollination. Covering hairs (trichomes) have a protective function and also help sustain a micro-environment close to the leaf surface.  Glandular hairs secrete monoterpenes (essential…