Friday, 9 October 2015

Feverfew and Tansy

A plant of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) which has self-seeded in my garden. Although I think it's quite an attractive flower feverfew is usually considered to be an invasive weed in gardens. In the past, however, it was a useful medicinal herb. Its common name "feverfew" derives from the Latin  febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer" although it is no longer considered useful for that purpose. Though its earliest medicinal use is unknown, it was documented in the first century  as an anti-inflammatory by the Greek herbalist physician Dioscorides.
Recently, feverfew has been used as a prophylactic treatment for migraine. After taking feverfew some people reported that their migraines gradually became less frequent and in a few cases stopped altogether and a trial published in 2005 reported on the efficacy of feverfew as a viable preventative treatment for migraine. Various preparations of feverfew are available commercially. Although they are rather bitter, it is also possible to use one or two fresh leaves of the plant taken in a salad or a sandwich on a daily basis. Feverfew is contraindicated in pregnancy and as with any herbal product professional advice should be taken as there may be toxic side effects.

Another flower of the same genus is tansy  (Tanacetum vulgare) which was growing close to the old railway track in Lower Largo. For many years, tansy was used as a medicinal herb despite its toxicity. A bitter tea made with tansy flowers has been used for centuries as an anthelmintic to treat parasitic worm infestations, and tansy cakes were traditionally eaten during Lent because it was believed that eating fish during Lent caused intestinal worms. However, it has no place in modern herbal medicine.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Every so often, a number of jelly fish get stranded on the beach at Lundin Links. The stranding may depend on particular wind and tide conditions. In this case they were lion's mane jellyfish(Cyanea capillata) which is the world's largest - their bells can be over 2 metres across. However, they vary greatly in size and the bell diameter can be as small as around 10cm. The ones I saw stranded on the beach were around 10 to 25cm across. They have a mass of thin tentacles that resemble a lion's mane, which is where they get their name from.
They can deliver a painful sting, even once washed up dead on the beach and so should not be touched.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

A Sunny Autumn Day at Lower Largo

This has been a beautiful week of weather and Lower Largo looked picture postcard perfect.

Friday, 25 September 2015

A Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Spotted this caterpillar on the underside of a butterbur leaf in the Serpentine Walk. I think that it is the caterpillar of the ruby tiger moth - Phragmatobia fuliginosa. I'm more familiar with the much darker garden tiger moth caterpillar commonly called 'woolly bear', although its numbers seemed to have declined over recent years.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Impressive Clouds Over Leven

Cloud formations over Leven viewed from the Massney Braes in Lundin Links. Patches of blue still visible and beneath the darker clouds the sun still lighting up the sky. Unfortunately the dark clouds soon moved overhead and a soaking ensued.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Walking towards Dumbarnie Links noticed that the sandy bank at the top of the beach had partially collapsed leaving the root system of this small tree completely exposed.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Painted Lady Butterflies

This has been a very poor year for butterflies and the large stand of buddleia at the back of the Lundin Golf Course car park, normally a reliable place to see them, has been deserted. However, today was more encouraging as there were several painted ladies, also spotted a peacock and a small tortoiseshell. It was very windy, so photos not very sharp.