Chocolate cosmos is a delicacy for the eyes.
- Chocolate cosmos are a species of perennial flowering plant, that originated in Mexico.
- ‘Chocolate cosmos’ is also known as ‘black cosmos’ and was once known as ‘black biden’.
- The scientific name of chocolate cosmos is Cosmos atrosanguineus, formerly Bidens atrosanguineus, and it is from the family Asteraceae, the family of daisies.
- Chocolate cosmos generally grow to be around 40 to 75 centimetres (1.3 to 2.5 feet) in height.
- Chocolate cosmos are believed to be extinct in the wild, while many specimens today are clones of a non-fertile specimen, so those will not produce fertile seed.
- The blooms of chocolate cosmos plants are a deep brown to maroon colour, and they have a fragrance reminiscent of chocolate.
- Chocolate cosmos grow best in sunny or mostly sunny conditions, and the plants grow from tubers that enable them to be divided.
- Chocolate cosmos plants prefer warm climates if they are to be grown all year round, and they typically bloom during summer months and into early autumn.
- Seed merchant, William Thompson from Ipswich in England, was the first known person to cultivate a chocolate cosmos plant, doing so in 1835, and the plant was described by English botanist, Joseph Hooker, shortly after, who obtained a specimen from Thompson.
- Chocolate cosmos are commonly grown in gardens for decorative purposes or as cut flowers.
There is no devil hiding atop Devils Tower!
- Devils Tower is a rock butte found among the Bear Lodge Mountains in the Black Hills National Forest in the United State’s Wyoming.
- The top of Devils Tower sits at an elevation above sea level of 1558 metres (5112 feet), and it is 265 metres (867 feet) in height from the base.
- ‘Devils Tower’ is also called ‘Devils Tower National Monument’, and it was once named ‘Bear Lodge’, and has also been known as ‘Great Gray’, ‘Tree Rock’ and ‘Home of the Bear’.
- In 1892, Devils Tower became somewhat protected as part of a temporary forest reserve, and in 1906, it was named a United States National Monument, being the first monument to receive this honour.
- Devils Tower mainly comprises of igneous rock, primarily phonolite porphyry, that is arranged in a series of large columns, and there is much rubble at the base, where many of the columns have broken away and tumbled down.
- At the top of Devils Tower it is roughly 84 metres (275 feet) in diameter, while the base is around 305 metres (1000 feet) in diameter, and a walking track exists that circles around the tower.
- On the 4th of July, 1893, the first recorded climb to the summit of Devils Tower was accomplished by local ranchers William Rogers and Willard Ripley, via a ladder they made for the purpose, and today climbing the tower is still a popular activity for rock climbers.
- ‘Devils Tower’ was named as such due to a possible incorrect translation of the local native name that resulted in ‘bad god’s tower’, and there has been lobbying for it to be renamed ‘Bear Lodge National Monument’.
- Native Americans consider Devils Tower a sacred site, and as such, climbers are encouraged to avoid climbing the rock in the ceremonial month of June each year.
- Devils Tower is a popular tourist destination, and a fee is payable to visit the monument, while camping is permitted in the nearby designated camping area.
You’ll need some shades if you visit a field of common sunflowers.
- Common sunflowers are a species of annual flower, popularly cultivated for agricultural purposes, and are native to parts of the North American countries of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
- The scientific name of the common sunflower is Helianthus annuus and it is from the family Asteraceae, the family of daisies; and there are a large number of cultivars, these varying greatly in height and flower colour and size.
- Common sunflowers flowers generally have yellow petals, although orange and red tones are available, surrounding a brown central disc, and the flowers are usually a diameter of 10 to 50 centimetres (4 to 20 inches) and bloom during autumn and summer months.
- Contrary to popular belief, common sunflower flower heads do not continually change direction to face towards the sun, rather, they face east, though the flower buds do turn with the sun.
- Common sunflowers, also known simply as ‘sunflowers’, grow best in full sun, and they grow to heights between 0.5 to 5 metres (1.6 to 16.4 feet), depending on the variety.
- Seeds and oil can be extracted from common sunflowers, which are edible by both humans and livestock, and the oil is often used in cooking and in margarine, cosmetics, soap and paint.
- Common sunflowers were introduced to Europe for food purposes in the 1500s by Spanish explorers, and this eventually spread to mass cultivation of the plants in Russia, Caucasus and Ukraine by the 1800s.
- The central disc of a common sunflower features a spiral pattern that can be mathematically defined using a formula that is part of the Fibonacci sequence.
- Common sunflowers are sometimes grown in domestic gardens for ornamental purposes; and they can be used to decontaminate soil and water from poisonous or otherwise harmful chemicals.
- Common sunflower petals have been used by native Americans to create a yellow dye, and the seeds to produce a black or blue dye.
You won’t want to miss the Queen of the Night.
- Queen of the Night is a species of tropical flowering cactus native to forests in Mexico in southern North America; and the plant can also be found further south in Central and South America.
- The ‘Queen of the Night’ is also known as ‘Dutchman’s pipe cactus’, ‘fragrant orchid cactus’, ‘lady of the night’, and ‘night blooming cereus’, though the latter term can refer to a number of different plant species.
- The scientific name of the Queen of the Night is Epiphyllum oxypetalum and it is from the family Cactaceae, the family of cacti.
- Queen of the Nights typically have large white coloured flowers that are usually 12 to 17 centimetres (5 to 7 inches) in diameter, that bloom in summer.
- Each flower of the Queen of the Night usually opens during the evening, and will typically last until dawn, after which it is spent, though it can produce many flowers over a season.
- Queen of the Nights appear to have green ‘leaves’, but rather they are flattened stems that can grow quite long, with a plant height of 2 to 3 metres (6.6 to 9.8 feet).
- For optimal growing and flowering conditions, Queen of the Night plants are best grown in a spot where they catch the morning sun and are shaded in the afternoon.
- The flowers of Queen of the Night plants have a strong, sweet-smelling fragrance, and the flowers can be picked at night and brought inside to enjoy their perfume.
- Queen of the Night plants are commonly grown ornamentally, and they can be manipulated to climb, or can be grown in hanging baskets.
- New plants of Queen of the Night are easily propagated from cuttings that can be taken from the stem, and planted in soil.
The keel-billed toucan is the rainbow of the rainforest.
- Keel-billed toucans are a species of colourful bird, native to southern Mexico, Central America, and northern Venezuela and Columbia.
- ‘Keel-billed toucans’ are also known as ‘rainbow-billed toucans’ and ‘sulfur-breasted toucans’.
- The scientific name of the keel-billed toucan is Ramphastos sulfuratus and it is from the family Ramphastidae, the family of toucans.
- Keel-billed toucans are sizable birds that grow to be about 42 to 55 centimetres (16.5 to 21.6 inches) in height and have wings spanning a width of 109 to 152 centimetres (43 to 60 inches).
- The feather colour of keel-billed toucans is predominantly black, with a striking yellow chest; while the lightweight, multi-coloured, keratin bill is mostly green with a mix of red, orange, and blue.
- Although the keel-billed toucan itself is not under threat, their numbers are believed to be decreasing due to habitat loss and poaching for its feathers, bill and meat; and it is on a watch-list due to its similar appearance to that of a threatened toucan species.
- Keel-billed toucans live in groups (flocks) of around six to twelve birds, and they snuggle together at night in a hole of tree trunk, while maximising space by tucking their feathers and beak in.
- A keel-billed toucan’s diet consists mostly of fruit; however it also eats eggs and lizards, frogs, insects and young birds to obtain protein.
- Keel-billed toucans are not very adept at flight; rather, they prefer to hop from branch to branch to move.
- Female keel-billed toucans generally lay between 2 to 4 eggs in a hole in a tree, two to three times in a year; and the birds have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years.
A simple snap will not capture the full beauty of McWay Falls.
- McWay Falls is a scenic waterfall located in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, in the state of California’s Big Sur coastal region, in the United States.
- Unless the tide is in, the water of McWay Falls drops directly onto a beach cove, that sits at the edge of the North Pacific Ocean.
- The height of McWay Falls reaches 24.4 metres (80 feet), while a 1 kilometre (o.6 mile) long walking track enables visitors to reach the top of the falls.
- Near McWay Falls are the ruins of a cottage built by Lathrop Brown and his wife around the 1920s, then owners of the land, and it was demolished in 1965.
- Fauna such as gulls and other birds populate the land around McWay Falls; while seals, sea lions, whales and sea otters are sometimes found in the surrounding ocean.
- The McWay Falls site was first officially owned by Christopher McWay in the 1870s, whom the falls are named after, and the land was originally used as a ranch.
- The cove that McWay Falls drops into is relatively inaccessible on foot, due to the hazardous steep rock descent that would be required, and access down the cliff is prohibited.
- In 1983, a large landslide slid into the ocean below McWay Falls to form a beach, and consequently it caused the waterfall to no longer fall directly into the ocean.
- The land of McWay Falls was donated to the government in 1961 by the Brown family, and the site was designated a park reserve.
- McWay Falls is active through all seasons and is a popular site for photographers, particularly due to its picturesque sunset.