For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Just added a NEW talk to my website - "The exotic spices, nuts, fruits, vegetables, plants and insects of St. Lucia”

Above is how ripe cashew "apples" and nuts fall from their trees... except that they are seeds, not nuts!
Vanilla pods come from a climbing orchid, see below.

St Lucians grow yams much like we train runner beans in the UK.

All this and much more is explained in my latest talk.  Please see

Monday 4 February 2013

Progressive destruction of woodland flora by walkers

Above; newly emerging bluebells, about to be trampled to death in a Sussex wood.
This nature reserve in the High Weald of West Sussex, New England Wood, has regular single or small groups of visitors.

Even so, the path gets a bit churned up and muddy....

So the walkers then walk OFF the path, on either side, onto the woodland flora....

But then these two new paths get muddy...

So the walkers then tread ever further from the centre of the original path.

Above you can see the latest, dry, trampled routes, parallel to the original path -- like the hard shoulder and central reservation of a seven lane pedestrian path (the seven lanes of which are not used much because of mud).
It gets worse! 
Once the seven lane path is thoroughly churned, walkers then regularly "create" another route well away from the original path to start a new potentially seven lane path a few meters from the original.  It is a bit like the parallel M6 toll motorway north of Birmingham perhaps, with the only toll being the destruction and loss of the trampled plant life.
So what to do?
The steps on some paths are more than ankle deep in mud.  People are choosing to walk down the slippery but not so muddy natural bank, again trampling and destroying emerging bluebells and other plants.  Better to have built no steps in the first place you might question!

Above, in the foreground, you can see an example of an unmaintained, unimproved path being diverted to open woodland.

By contrast, this particular section of path was, historically a pond.
Such properly maintained paths could encourage walkers to keep to a narrow path, to preserve and not trample and destroy the plants and flowers that people enjoy

Sunday 3 February 2013

Growing bananas in St. Lucia for the UK & the EU straight banana myth

The EU straight banana myth is explained at

The banana flowers are manually removed to allow the bananas to bend!  Otherwise they would grow straight.  It is easier to pack the curved hands of bananas in boxes for shipment from St. Lucia to the UK.

It takes nine months for banana fruits to grow to maturity, after which the parent plant will produce no more and is cut down.  A vegetatively produced daughter plant grows in its place.
The bananas are covered in plastic to protect them from blotching from the chemicals sprayed on the leaves.  There is no particular growing season.  They grow and are harvested all year round.  The coloured tag on the bag indicates the date for harvesting.

Click here to see details of my illustrated talk on "The exotic spices, nuts, fruits, vegetables, plants and insects of St Lucia."

Blog Archive