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Leaf of the Day: Frog disturbed nights and the Acalypha Fire Dragon

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Saturday 28 June 2008

Leaf of the Day: Frog disturbed nights and the Acalypha Fire Dragon

I have been to Leu today and to my delight have found a Ginkgo tree... leaf to follow soon. Also I took a photo of a beautiful large green/brown frog which was by the pond in the Arid Garden, one of many, whose friends and relations are disturbing the gentile peace of Winter Park these hot and humid nights.

My photo from this am, variety not known yet.

Because, with the now daily and torrential rain, has come the astonishingly loud nightly croaking of the local frogs. There are 32 species of frogs and toads in Florida and I think they are all right here at our apartment block. There must have been a My Space invitation for some midnight revelries at Killarney Bay. Even Florida locals, tired of the raucous partying ring up the council to see if anything can be done.

Gary Morse, spokesman for the Lakeland office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission explains;

"The nocturnal symphony," he said, "is one of the many quirky aspects of living in a state that has alligators, urban coyotes, sharks, hurricanes, lightning and sinkholes. The rain will pass before too long, he said, and so too, will the frog noise. Until then, try to endure", he counseled.
"The more damp it is at night, the happier they are and the louder they croak," Morse said. "Loud frogs are part of the price you pay to live in a place like Florida."
More from the Tampa Bay Chronicle here

But frogs are delightful, and here they are extremely useful as they eat mosquito lava. The ones that make the noise are most likely to be various species of tree frogs.The Cuban variety probably the main culprit .. big latino party animal this. They are the biggest and noisiest with voracious appetites, hoovering up almost anything they can overpower and according to Wiki, they are also believed to cause power outages by sitting on transformers on electrical poles.

image from here
I miss my small froggy UK pond, I hope my frogs are thriving..

My leaf today is a gorgeous leaf, blousey and ruffled like a harlequin's collar, and is one of the many varieties of Acalypha wilkesiana whose leaves are decorative and multicoloured. They vary widely in leaf shape, size and colour and are known by many different names, Joesph's coat, Match me if you can, and Copperleaf. They are from the extensive spurge family Euphorbiaceae . To me, like the croton, its leaf is more interesting in isolation and away from the colourful muddle of the whole plant. To see the real beauty of the structure you need to see the leaves in isolation.

The drawing is actually of 1 leaf and 1 flower spike. The flowers are tiny and are held protected by the curl of the smaller part of the leaf, which itself nestles close into the larger leaf blade. The little leaf is a lopsided shape as well and curves in the opposite direction to the larger leaf. The veins are red.
I made a few scans of the drawing as I went along. It's interesting to see how it develops. I had to keep the leaf in the fridge overnight which it seemed to enjoy, but if I continue on to a colour version I will have to get another one. But I have so many other things to do ..


Acalypha Fire dragon

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