Weeds and insects of York Way – a bit of South America…?
This rather curious plant is an introduction, from the family Asteraceae, daisies. it is a Galinsoga parviflora, and was apparently brought to Kew in 1796 (Wikipedia). It is classed as a weed and having escaped has spread around the world. It is found in many countries now including Australia and New Zealand, and it reached China in 1915. The leaves are edible and in Colombia it is used as an ingredient of Ajiaco potato soup. Wikipedia says the juice of the leaves helps blood coagulate and has antibacterial properties. In India it is used to treat diarrhoea and it has been shown to work in mice as an antidiarrhoeal agent – http://tinyurl.com/6ccfkw8 It is such an anonymous looking thing but in China (and elsewhere) is invasive http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-YYHS200805006.htm
I spotted this one – or rather its ancestors, some years ago along a factory entrance in York Way, but I have never noticed it elsewhere, though it is rather easy to overlook.
I had to walk carefully on the way home as the air was full of flying ants (Lasius niger) today. This time of year there are mass exoduses of males and females who mate then the females set up house somewhere.
As you see the male is quite small in comparison with the female, but as with many flying insects it has big eyes. The better to spot the females. The males are merely there for the fertilisation, and will be dead kin a day or two. An ant blog http://www.antblog.co.uk/species/lasiusniger.htm
Click pic to enlarge…