A small selection of the plants and insects seen last weekend (May 21–22):
Dictamnus albus (Burning bush, Nagyezerjófű). Tall and stately by the sides of woodland paths. In high summer it exudes a faintly lemon-sented sticky substance which is highly flammable. Perhaps the Burning Bush of the Bible was formed from clump of them.
Zygaena loti (Slender Scotch burnet, Közönséges csüngőlepke). A pair of them on dianthus. Beautiful day-flying moths. These were at the edge of a woodland ride.
Lycaena tityrus (Sooty copper, Barna tűzlepke). In the garden, flying among tall, unmown grass in strong wind.
Coenagrion pulchellum (Variable damselfly, Gyakori légivadász). Coming in great numbers to the nettles by the lakeside.
Cercopis vulnerata (Black-and-red froghopper, Vérehullató kabóca). Terrible picture but it hopped away before I could focus on it.
Colias crocea (Clouded yellow, Sáfránylepke). Flitting erratically, hardly ever settling, in a dry meadow.
Pontia daplidice (Bath white, Rezedalepke). In quite large numbers along a sunny woodland ride.
The pungent leaves of wild garlic are on all the market stalls this month (April). In the wild they are easy to confuse with lily of the valley (poisonous), but crush a leaf between your fingers and the oniony scent will tell you if it’s wild garlic or not. Also known as Ramsons in English, and as ‘bear garlic’ in many other languages (aglio orsino, medvehagyma, bärlauch–its botanical name is Allium ursinum), it goes delightfully with eggs and rice. I use it in risottos and omelettes and to make baked frittata:
Wild garlic frittata
Pre-heat the oven to about 190°C. Lightly grease a flan dish.
Beat together six eggs, chopped wild garlic (plenty of it), a generous slug of milk, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Pour it evenly into the flan dish and pop in the oven. Take it out after 25 minutes. Ready to eat. Serves 4. Easy as pie.
Lathyrum vernus, in the pea family. Brilliant purple turning to blue. April 16th.
Anemone ranunculoides. April 16th.
Almond blossom. Mandulavirág. March 31st.
Crabapple blossom (Malus sylvestris). Vadalma. April 7th.
Yellow Pheasant’s Eye (Adonis vernalis). April 8th.