Friday, 10 April 2015

Sweet violets and the curious case of the lemming-like badger.

Woodlands in spring,  I probably don't need to say a lot more about them to those who read this blog, they're just the place to be, strong sunlight on the woodland floor and early spring flowers.  My local patch has quite an extensive covering of Viola odorata, the sweet violet at this time of year.  I know that they exist in purple and I know that they exist in white,  but it's the first time that I've noticed that they exist in intermediate colour forms as well, between the white and the purple.  Got me thinking of Mendelian genetics and co-dominance where both alleles contribute to the phenotype of their offspring, a trait shown by Red Campion, White Campion and the intermediate pink coloured variety. I'm just presuming that this is the case for the violet, I tried a bit of an internet search to discover flower colour inheritance but to no avail.  Photographs are shown to illustrate the varieties seen.

It's also the time of year for young badgers, and it was rather sad to see a rather small freshly dead fellow at the base of a steep clay cliff.  I can only speculate that this poor chap out on one of his first forays strayed a little to close to the edge and took a tumble. Not being a brock expert I don't even know when the young start to leave their sett so I might be spouting absolute tosh. This animal was about the size of a size 10 walking boot.

Viola odorata - normal purple form. 

V. odorata - white form 

V. odorata - intermediate form. 
Young dead badger, April 2015. 



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