A brief diversion to terrestrial habitats in order to praise my Olympus TG2 camera (see “Getting close to pearl mussels with my underwater camera…”).
The photograph below shows Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca) photographed by Heather on a recent visit to the North Yorkshire coast near Skinningrove. The left hand image shows the flower head whilst the right-hand image is an enlargement of the same photograph showing individual stigmas on which you can see pollen grains. That’s a huge amount of detail for a single photograph, particularly as the depth of field available to the macro photographer is usually very small.
Philosella aurantiaca, photographed on the North Yorkshire coast in June 2014.
Incidentally, what is the correct plural for “stigma”? My trusty Wild Flower Key (Rose, 1981) says “stigmas” but diatomists use the same term to refer to isolated pore on the surface of a valve, and the plural for these is “stigmata”. This is also the usage amongst Catholics when referring to the crucifixion wounds of Christ. My Shorter Oxford Dictionary offers both “stigmas” and “stigmata” as legitimate plurals for six different definitions of stigma. “Stigmas” grates on my ears, as my sub-discipline prefers “stigmata”. However, as it is a very widely used botanical term, understood by many non-specialists, “stigma” is a de facto English word, rather than just a technical Latin term. As such, it earns an English, rather than a Latin, plural. That’s why BBC correspondents say “stadiums” not “stadia” and “referendums” not “referenda”. I guess, following that logic, “de facto” is a de facto English term as well? Oh, the joys of etymology …