Near the school car park are three large Oak trees. My children all attended this school and at this time of the year they would bring home piles of acorns, collected in sweatshirt pockets, empty lunch boxes or in their school packs.
Today the ground was littered with acorns and the little cups that drop off the acorn. The little cups are the fascinating means that allow the acorn to form and hold it on the tree until the seed is ripe enough to tumble to the ground.
Did you play with acorns and the little cups when you were a child? I did, pretending the little cups could be drink containers for fairies or tiny hats for tiny heads?
And do you remember this rhyme about Oak trees and acorns? We used to chant this at each other during acorn seasons long ago.
“Don’t worry if your job is small and your rewards are few,
Remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you”….
I’ll post some photos of the flowering cherry trees in their autumn colours in my next post…..:-)
Earlier in the week I visited the nearby wetlands, wildlife area in Pauatahanui. I took my trusty “point and shoot” camera with the intention of taking some photos for possible entries in next year’s Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet photo competition. (Do have a look at the winning photos in this year’s competition, there are some utterly stunning shots. I particularly love the ones of the herons)
As we ambled along a track I spied a native Poroporo bush (Solanum laciniatum) and on it a single orange berry set amongst the deep green foliage.
I know this plant and its gorgeous deep purple flowers and the fact that Maori used it traditionally as a contraceptive. I also know that the berries when green are poisonous and that the leaves are to be treated with caution too.
A little bit of searching around on the internet gave me further information. A member of the tomato family (Solanaceae) it is toxic to sheep and cattle so is no friend to farmers and their stock. It prefers to grow in the native bush or in rough, disturbed land.
I also learnt that the early European settlers made jam from the ripe berries.
This website provided further interesting information about the plant being studied to see whether it has medicinal properties which could be used in the treatment of arthritis and skin diseases.
The ordinary things in our environment can so often be valuable to us when we take the time to learn about them.