Monday 14 June 2010

Macro Monday - Hound's-Tongue Seed

So, last week things did not go according to plan. Even though I actually got off my lazy, lard-arse behind, even though I actually put some effort into getting a marvellous Macro Monday shot, even though I really, really tried, my efforts were in vain - fruitless, barren and unproductive. But, the seed had been sown, and this week, the rewards are being reaped.

And so here, ladies and gentlemen, is the fruit of my labour:

OK, so it is actually a seed, but let’s not get too picky. It is from the hound’s-tongue plant (Cynoglossum officinale), and was found stuck to my trousers two weeks and one wash after my trip to the Okanagan in the British Columbian interior. The seeds are incredibly sticky and so can be carried far and wide by any unsuspecting person or animal that ambles by and brushes against the plant. It was accidentally introduced into North America from Europe and has now become a serious weed across much of the U.S. and Canada. It contains some quite nasty toxic alkaloids that can cause liver damage and poison any livestock that graze on the plant.

Some other quirky “facts” about hound’s-tongue:

- if you put a leaf in your shoe, you will ward off barking dogs and prevent a dog from biting you. If any dog is mad enough to bite you, a leaf poultice will heal the bite, so no worries there.

- homeopaths and herbalists claim that hound’s-tongue can cure any number of ailments, including insomnia, coughs, colds, haemorrhoids, scalds and burns, diarrhoea and dysentery.

- an ointment made from the plant is said to cure baldness.

And my favourite line from Wikipedia, re all of the above claims:

“Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.”

Are any of them!?!

Just in case anyone is wondering just how macro my photo is, here is the seed with a Canadian penny.

Please note:

Hound’s-tongue is a toxic plant. It has been shown to be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic. The author of this blog takes no responsibility for any harm that might be sustained by eating, drinking or slathering your body with this plant. If you get bitten by a dog whilst walking around with one of its leaves in your shoe, don’t try blaming me – it will obviously be your fault for being such an idiot.

For more Macro Monday, go here.


Mary Lou said...

Amazing! Well worth the wait.
I like the detail in the coin also! Am going to try that.

Cortes said...

Another photographic masterpiece. And a chuckle as well. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

Excellent image and worthy commentary.

michael said...

Great photo and thanks for all the information.

christina, sween said...

Great Macro and interesting information. The coin for showing the size is good, never thought it was that small

Teresa said...

Wow. the coin puts it in perspective. vEr interesting facts that we would never have know. I especially like your disclaimer.

Roan said...

Very informative post. Love the seed placed on the penny!

Kala said...

Bah, and I was hoping they would cure my haemmoroids. But seriously, great macro, I cannot believe how tiny that seed is.

Unknown said...

excellent work!

I love your disclaimer below, nicely written.

Dave here.

PS, can you please help me identify
this one
, no body seems to know and you re the right person to ask.

Carolina said...

Oh wow, you've turned your camera into a microscope. Now all I need to know is: what size is a Canadian penny.
Great post. Thanks for the chuckles ;-)

Baino said...

Hmmm nasty little seed but an awesome macro

Colleen said...

Lol! What a great story to go with the macro. And what an incredible macro! It made me pull the computer closer to my face so I could really look at it.

Joanne Olivieri said...

These are just so fantastic and very creative.

Don't Bug Me! said...

Mary Lou: I am glad you like it - and the wait wasn't too long, was it?

Cortes: Once again, you are much too kind.

Awarewriter: Thank you.

Michael: You are welcome.

Christina: I was going to use a ruler, but I couldn't find one. The coin was handy and is much nicer than a ruler.

Teresa: One always needs a disclaimer.

BJ: Thanks for dropping by and for the comment.

Kala: Well, it might, but I am not recommending such a treatment ;o)

Dave: I have two options for you - I suspect it is either a species of Polydrusus or of Phyllobius. Both are green weevils found in Europe. I can't tell you much more than this without having the beetle, since I would need to key it out to be more certain. Gorgeous photo though - you are inspiring me to work more on my macro shots. Thank you for that.

Carolina: It is bit smaller than an English penny - does that help!?!

Baino: Yes, they are quite nasty - they stick to everything in very large numbers and spread everywhere. It is quite a problem weed here.

Colleen: My really macro shots are getting better, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Birgitta said...

Awesome macro and a great story!

Rosie @ Centre of Interest said...

Great Macro and such interesting info to go along with it - I'm in the UK and so far I've yet to see this plant.......... after reading you info I'm glad its not in my locality.

Wendy said...

Wonderful shots! I think you did an amazing job for all your plans gone awry. Did you use extension tubes for this?

Carolina said...

You'll have to send me money. Preferably all kinds of coins and lots of paper money too, so I'll have enough material to compare things to ;-)

jay said...

That's a great macro!! And I love this part -

"- if you put a leaf in your shoe, you will ward off barking dogs and prevent a dog from biting you. If any dog is mad enough to bite you, a leaf poultice will heal the bite, so no worries there"

Add to that the disclaimer at the end and it's hilarious! ROFL!

Unknown said...

Ps, thanks a lot for answering my question, i knew your the right person to ask.

Don't Bug Me! said...

Birgitta: Why, thank you!

Rosie: Don't worry, if it is not there now, it probably will get there soon!

Wendy: I am still waiting for my extension tubes to arrive from EBay. I used my 105mm macro with a 50mm lens inverted on the front. You can get really close, but the depth of field is very shallow.

Jay: Well, you never know what people will believe, do you?

Dave: You're welcome.

Carolina: If I ever use a $100 bill as a photographic subject, I will send it your way once I am done.