Autumn crocus-Colchicum autumnale-pictures of flowers

Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, also known as Meadow Saffron, is a showy, purple, pink or white flower that looks a lot like an over-sized spring flowering crocus, but blooms in autumn.
Although related by their name, Spring and Autumn Crocuses belong to different plant families; Spring Flowering Crocus is a member of the Iris Family (Iridaceae) together with the Iris and Gladiolus while Autumn Crocus belongs to the Lily family (Liliaceae) along with the Lilies, Tulips, and Hyacinths.
Colchicum is native to West Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and parts of the Mediterranean coast.Colchicum autumnale-Autumn crocus-macro

Autumn crocus has an unusual life cycle; its large colorful flowers arise from the earth without any accompanying foliage, the reason it is also called the "naked lady". The flowers appear in September - November and they offer a breathtaking view on field and forest ground for 2-3 weeks.
Than they die back.
Autumn crocus fieldNext spring, 3-8 grass-like leaves appear, producing food and storing it in the plant's corm, a modified underground bulb.
By early summer the foliage dries and the plant remains dormant within the soil. Usually in September (in our country), with the autumn rains, after summer's heat and drought Autumn crocus starts blooming.
Autumn crocus in the forestThough its leaves, corm and seeds are deadly poisonous if eaten, Autumn crocus is at risk of extinction, from over-harvest, due to its valuable medicinal properties.
It contains an alkaline substance called colchicine which has a similar effect as arsenic and the poison has no antidote.
Autumn crocus-Colchicum autumnale in the forestDespite its toxicity, colchicine is used today, as it may have been 4,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, to treat rheumatism, dropsy, and prostate enlargement. As with all drugs, healing or killing is just a matter of balance.
Autumn crocus is considered one of the best remedies for acute gout pain.
Leukemia has been successfully treated with autumn crocus as well.
Autumn crocus bouquet
Though Autumn crocus can be mistaken for wild garlic (Aliium ursinum), accidental poisoning with Colchicum autumnale is very rare.
It is wise to keep this beauty out of the garden, for those having small children.

These photos were taken in the forests of the Botanical Gardens of Cluj-Napoca.

Visit Macro Flowers Saturday for many beautiful flower photos.

Butterfly on marigold- macros

These bright, yellow marigold flowers look lovely in the golden light of autumn.
There are a range of flowers that are blooming all summer and continue to bloom well into the fall months. One of these flowers is the marigold.
Though the temperature is lower now in middle September, butterflies are still visiting these flowers.
Golden Marigold
I hope these beautiful creatures will stay a little longer and delight us with their amazing look and colors.
Butterfly on marigold
Bright yellow Marigold

Weekend at the lake-outdoors

To spend the weekend near a lake is the choice of many people on a sunny, September weekend.
The reflection of the surroundings at sunset is very tempting to take a few photos also.
Autumn sunset at the lake
Autumn at the lake
These old blue boats are waiting for adventurers who don't mind to get wet by trying them.
Blue boats at lake bank

Outdoor cooking-International Championship 2010 at Cluj

Last weekend, between the 10th and the 12th September , the fourth edition of the International Championship of outdoor cooking was held in Cluj Napoca, the biggest gourmet event in Romania.
International Championship of outdoor cooking-2010 Cluj
From Friday to Sunday, 40 professional and amateur chefs and teams were competing for supremacy, from different countries, Greece, Finland, Israel, Austria and Romania .

1. Cold dishes, sweets

The first day was reserved for the cold dishes competition, sweets and pastry.
Fruit cake

2. Open air cooking competition

On Saturday, cooking was done on outdoor fireplaces, charcoal grills and brick ovens.

Lamb fries(testicles) with rooster comb was one interesting delicacy.

The worldwide famous Hungarian gulyas leves is cooked here, in these huge kettles, with the recipe written on the tent.
Hungarian Gulyas
Ram on the grill.
Ram on the grill
Other funny improvisations:

This is a Dobrogean pie, with sweet cheese and raisins cooked in an improvised brick oven.
Dobrogean pie with sweet cheese and raisins
The big moment, the comity is here.
The Transylvanian kurtoskalacs is another of the attractions of the day. See how it is made and take the recipe.

3. Gourmet shows:

On Sunday many famous guest chefs, like Maestro Catana George with desert for 200 people, Maestro Fatol Ioan – Food for Business People, Melinda Okos – Szilvas Gomboc - making 200 plum dumplings and many others participated on the Gourmet - Culture project.

Tibi Kiss Budai and his team of 20 chefs set a new world record for the Guinness Book, in frying chickens. They managed to fry 210 chickens in one pan, in less than two hours. Read more about this record in my next post.

It was an entertaining and exhausting weekend for the people of Cluj, three days of eating and tasting all kind of goodies.
Outdoor cooking competition
Visit Scenic Sunday for many beautiful scenery photo.

Kurtoskalacs making at the outdoor cooking competition-2010

Kurtoskalacs, more correctly, kürtőskalács, is a famous Hungarian sweet treat, flavored with several spices, the most common being cinnamon, topped with walnuts or almonds, and sugar.making
The technique of making chimney cake or kurtos kalacs is not as difficult as it seams, as you will see in this post.
Kurtoskalacs-chimney cake
The recipe and indications are in the first part of this kurtos kalacs series, there is a link at the end of this post.
When you've read them already, just watch this video for making the job easier.

I've recorded a live demonstration of how kurtos kalacs is made, at the outdoor cooking championship. These young people from team 10 at the competition, really make it look easy.
Have a look at the video and give it a try!

You can find the recipe and indications too at this earlier post.

Yellow wildflowers- macro pictures of flowers

These tiny, yellow wildflowers don't mind the cold autumn nights, unlike our beautiful garden flowers. They have the same bright colors yet and still look fresh.

This little yellow flower is the Linaria vulgaris, also called Butter-and-eggs and sometimes, Foxglove.
Yellow flower macro-Linaria vulgaris
The Linaria vulgaris is part of the snapdragon family and it looks like a miniature snapdragon flower. The little critter likes the bright flowers too.
Linaria vulgaris-Foxglove macro
This one is the Lotus corniculatus or "birdsfoot trefoil", another common, yellow wildflower.
Yellow flower-Lotus corniculatus macro
Visit Macro Flowers Saturday and Macro Monday at Lisa's for amazing macros.

Between the lakes-sunset photos

Between the lakes is the name of a small area in the eastern part of my town.
This afternoon I was visiting there and I remembered that the name comes from the lakes that existed here, long time ago.
There are so many new malls and buildings in this area but I could see some weeping willows in the distance, showing directions to the lake.
Marasti neighborhood-Cityscape
Sunset near a lake is always a beautiful view, especially in autumn colors.
I took these photos a few hours ago.
Sunset reflection
Autumn evening near the lake
A few people were enjoying the last sun rays of the day in these old boats that can be hired at the banks.
Calm evening in a boat
I was hoping for some reflection photos but the wind was blowing hard enough to spoil my plans.
The old lake

Caterpillar fights with Venus flytrap for its life

Venus Flytrap is a small, innocent looking carnivore plant.
We don't have such plants here by us, so on my last visit to the flower center, I bought one of these little wonders for my home.
At first, it was interesting to see how it hunts annoying flies but yesterday I witnessed a scene less pleasant; the fight of a little caterpillar for its life, with the Venus flytrap.
Venus Flytrap-Dionaea muscipula
The caterpillar probably came from the sunflower bouquet, next to the Venus.
Venus Flytrap and caterpillarI was watching its careful sliding over the dangerous trap foliage of the Venus, with great skill, without touching the plant's sensible trigger hairs and I even took my camera, when it made a slip.
Caterpillar on Venus FlytrapIn one single second the trap was closed and the head and a part of the caterpillar were captive in the deadly arms of the Venus.
Caterpillar in the Venus FlytrapThe little caterpillar was fighting for its life, tearing the leave apart, with the rest of its hanging body and trying to pull his head out.
At this moment I couldn't decide what to do; to let the plant feed of to help the caterpillar, anyway I wouldn't know how to help. So I decided to let nature do what it has to do and leave them alone.
Still I turned my had back once more, while living and see a miracle. The little guy freed itself and was trying to escape through the same minefield.
/caterpillarNow, it was the right moment to help him. I lifted it up with the help of a toothpick and put it out, in the grass.
Visibly damaged, with a few lost legs, as you can see in the above picture, I hope it will survive and live its short life without more incidents.

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