Monday, July 02, 2007

Photo Friday - grey leaved cistus

The grey leaved cistus Cistus albidus grows wild here in the hills. Its cultivated as the garden plant known as the rock rose.
The flowers are large and pretty with very thin petals which have the appearance of crushed and crumpled silk.
The leaves are a strange grey-ish green. They have an unusual texture which is a bit like fuzzy felt.
The grey-ish colour and leaf texture are adaptations to allow the plants to resist drought conditions which are common here in the Mediterranean region.
The cistus plants seem to be incredibly popular with Speckled bush crickets Leptophyes punctatissima . There were masses of the little creatures, mostly sitting inside the cistus flowers and covered in pollen.

This speckled bush cricket is sitting on one of the cistus flower buds.

It turned out that all the crickets i photographed that day were male- the females have a scimitar shaped protrusion [ovipositor for laying eggs] on the end of their body, which makes distinguishing them fairly easy.

The speckled bush crickets are really quite small but their antennae are massively long, about twice the length of their body. This cricket has picked up some of the bright orange cistus pollen on his antennae.
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natural attrill said...

The petals are beautiful, they do look like thin crumpled paper.

Polly said...

Hi Alison

I just found your blog via Blue Vicar, and I love the photos. Your blog name is great - I've met my match for expat plays on words. (Mine is Polly Vous Francais)