see "American Kestrel"
Falcon is a name given for several species of medium sized birds of prey distinguished from hawks by their longer pointed wings, which give them greater speed in flight.
The fallow-deer is a medium-sized species of deer, standing about one meter tall and distinguished by the end of the antler being palmated (flattened and expanded). It is found wild in Asia Minor, but was introduced into Britain in the early part of the 15th century. Two varieties are found in Britain, one which is fawn coloured with white spots and the other dark brown.
False Jacob's Ladder
see "Blue bell"
Fasciola is a member of the order digenea.
see "Pallas cat"
The fennec is a small nocturnal desert fox found in north Africa and Arabia. It is nocturnal, and lives in burrows, and feeds on jerboas, lizards, small birds and the like.
Fennel is a perennial plant of the family Umbelliferae. It has an erect stem 80 - 100cm high, numerous leaves deeply divided into soft hair-like segments and large terminal umbels of yellow flowers. The plant is aromatic, and the leaves are used in cooking.
Fer de Lance
The Fer de Lance (Rat-tailed Snake) is one of the species of pit vipers found in the West Indies and tropical America. It grows to about 2 meters in length, has a deadly bite, and is variously coloured but usually reddish-yellow with irregular dark bands and spots.
The Ferret is the albino variety of a domesticated polecat used for driving rabbits from their burrows.
Fescue is a genus of grasses having numerous spikelets, each of several flowers, in a compact or spreading panicle.
see "Tussac Grass"
see "Tussac Grass"
Feverfew is a plant of the family Compositae. It bears numerous small heads of flowers on an erect stem, with the lower flowers borne on longer stalks so that the whole inflorescence reaches the same level. The flowers have white ray florets. The leaves are stalked, repeatedly cut, curled and delicate green.
The Fiddler Crab (Gelasimus arcuatus) is a genus of crustacean of the order Decapoda, family Ocypodidae. It gets its name from the male's distinctive larger claw which it has the habit of holding up as though beckoning and makes him look as though he is carrying a fiddle and bow. Fiddler Crabs are solitary, shore-living animals which inhabit burrows around the coast of Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Australasia. In Africa and Japan they are called the Calling Crab.
The Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) is a native European and Asian thrush. It has a brown back, mottled breast and a grey head. It lives in woodland and farmland where it eats fruit, insects, worms and slugs.
Figs are plants of the genus Ficus, woody trees and shrubs from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. The common edible fig is the fruit of Ficus carica, a small tree with large, rough, leathery leaves lobed like a hand, rough green branches and alsmost sessile fruits of peculiar internal structure, consisting of a large, much curved receptable on which are borne numerous unisexual flowers interspersed with hairs.
Fig-wort (Scrophularia) is a genus of flowering plants of the Order Sccrophulariaceae.
Filaria is a phylum nematoda.
The File-fish (Trigger-fish) are bony fishes found mostly in tropical and warm seas, distinguished by their hard mail-like scales, powerful jaws, and teeth adapted for biting through the shells of molluscs and stripping off pieces of coral to get at the soft parts for food. They are also called trigger-fish from the way the first spine of the dorsal fin snaps back when elevated.
The finch is a popular name for birds of the family Fringillidae.
The finfoot is a water-bird native to Central America, South Africa and southern Asia. It is slender with a long pointed bill and toes with side lobes. It lives fresh or brackish water margins where it eats small animals and some plant material.
The firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus) is a small bird native to Europe, north Africa and Madeira. The head has an orange stripe and white markings above the eyes resembling eyebrows. It lives in woodland or scrubland where it eats insects. It is Europe's smallest breeding bird.
Firefly is a popular name for winged insects possessing luminosity.
Fish hawk is an American name for the Osprey.
The fish-louse are several crustaceans of the order Ichthyophthira which are parasitic on fish.
The fisher (Martes pennanti) is a mammal related to the marten and native to North America. It is about one meter long with a thick brown-black coat and lives in dense forest where it eats small animals, birds and carrion. It is also known as the pekan.
Fissurellidae is a family of gasteropodous molluscs resembling the limpets in appearance and habits, but differing in structure. They are generally too large for their shell, and so it appears that the shell is rudimentary.
Fistularia is a genus of acanthopterygious fish characterized by the elongation of the facial bones into a long fistula or tube at the extremity of which the mouth opens.
Fistulina is a genus of Fungi, allied to Boletus, found on old oak, walnut, ash, beech and horse chestnut trees. It is eaten in Europe grilled and is said to taste like broiled meat.
The flamingo is a bird of the genus Phoenicopterus allied to the ducks. The flamingo has long legs and stands about 180 cm tall. The beak is naked, lamellate at the edges and bent. Flamingos are generally pink or scarlet in colour and live in southern Europe and northern Africa around sea coasts and salt marshes.
Flatworm is a common name for phylum platyhelminthes.
Flax is a popular name of plants of the genus Linum, natural order Linaceae of which there are roughly 100 species. They are herbs or small shrubs with narrow leaves and yellow, blue or white flowers arranged in variously formed cymes.
The flea is several insects constituting the order Aphaniptera. They are small with two eyes, six feet and piercing stilets and a suctorial proboscis which is used to feed on the blood of animals. They can leap amazing distances.
A flounder is one of the flat-fishes, family Pleuronectidae, genus Pleuronectes. The flounder is found in the sea and near the mouths of large rivers around the British coast.
Fluke is a parasitic flatworm that causes rot and dropsy of the liver.
Flustra is an ectoprocta.
The fly-catcher is several species of insectivorous birds of the genus Muscicapa with a bill flattened at the base, almost triangular, notched at the upper mandible and beset with bristles. They perch on branches and wait motionless for passing insects which they dart at and catch with a snap of the bill.
The flycatcher is a small, dull-coloured, songless bird related to the shrike family. It is a summer visitor to Britain, and takes its name from the skilful way it catches small flies on the wing.
Flying fish is a name for several species of bony fishes in which the pectoral fins are lengthened and wing-like and serve to sustain the fish in its short flights through the air.
The Flying Gurnard (Trigla volitans) is a Mediterranean fish of the Gurnard genus.
The flying lemur is an insectivorous mammal not related to the lemurs, but more nearly akin to the Insectivores, differing however, sufficiently to be placed in a distinct order, the Dermoptera. Flying lemurs are found from the Malay Peninsular to the Philipine Islands, are represented by several species, all arboreal in habit and feeding on leaves and fruit.
The flying-fox or fox-bat is a fruit-eating bat of the family Pteropidae including some of the largest of the bats, one species reaching 140 cm in length across the wings! Flying-foxes are found in Australia, Asia and Africa.
The flying-squrrel is a genus of rodent animals of the squirrel family. The skin of the flank, extending between the fore and hind legs allows them to glide and make great leaps. Flying-squrrels are found in Europe, Asia and North America.
Fool's Parsley is a slender plant of the family Umbelliferae. It grows to 30 cm tall with dark green, doubly pinnate leaves, and terminal compound umbels of white flowers.
Foraminifera is an order of animals of low type belonging to the class Rhizopoda, sub-order Protozoa, furnished with a shell or test, simple or complex, usually perforated by pores called foramina from which the animals get their name.
The forest fly is a fly so called from its abundance in the New Forest. It is an external parasite on horses and cattle, is flat in form, leathery in consistency, and has legs specially adapted for clinging to the hair of its host. Although possessing wings, it rarely uses them. It is a pupiparous fly, giving birth to a single larva which quickly turns into a pupa.
see "West African Dwarf"
Forget-me-not is a common British plant of the natural order Boraginaceae found growing in damp or wet places. It is a pretty flower considered as the emblem of friendship throughout Europe.
The fossa is a large carnivorous mammal found in Madagascar. It is about the size of an otter, but is related to the civet and mongoose. It is brown in colour, has a long tail, short legs, teeth like a cat's and lives mainly in trees feeding on birds and small mammals.
see "West African Dwarf"
The term fowl was once used as a synonym for bird, but since around 1900 the term fowl has come to refer to birds of the genus Gallus. They resemble the pheasants, but the crown of the head is generally naked and furnished with a fleshy comb, the base of the lower mandibles also bears fleshy lobes (wattles).
The fox is an animal of the genus Vulpes closely allied to the dog, with a straight bushy tail, elongated pupils and erect ears. Foxes are intelligent, adaptable and omnivorous, consuming small animals, eggs, honey and refuse.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a common British flower of the natural order Scrophulariaceae. It grows on banks and pastures. The flowers are campanulate and resemble the fingers of a glove, hence the name. Foxglove posesses diuretic, narcotic and sedative qualities which are used in medicine. It is also deadly in sufficient quantity.
The Foxhound is a breed of dog bred for chasing foxes. The foxhound is smaller than the staghound, its average height being about 53 cm. Foxhounds were bred by crossing the old English bloodhound with the greyhound to blend speed with stamina and scent.
Foxtail-grass is a grass of the genus Alopecurus so called because of the close cylindrical panicle in which the spikelets of flowers are arranged which look rather like a fox's tail.
The francolin is a genus of birds belonging to the same family as the partridge which they resemble except for one or more strong and sharp horny spurs on the tarsi.
Frasera is a genus of plants of the natural order Gentianaceae containing seven species of erect perennial herbs native to North America.
Fratercula is a genus of web-footed birds which contains the puffin.
Fraxinella is a species of dittany. It is an ornamental herbaceous annual plant cultivated for its fragrant leaves and rose-coloured flowers.
Fraxinus is a genus of deciduous trees of the order Oleaceae which includes the ash.
French Beans is a twining annual plant with alternate leaves on footstalks composed of three oval pubescent folioles. The seeds are shaped rather like a kidney, and from this the plant gets its alternative name, the Kidney Bean.
The French Oak is a tree of the genus Catalpa. It contains a lot of tannin in its bark.
The French-alpine is a large goat with medium sized erect ears kept for its milk. They originated in the Swiss Alps and are now found throughout Switzerland.
The frigate-bird is a tropical, web-footed bird of the family Pelecanidae. The male bird reaches one meter in length, including the tail, but the body is comparatively small. The bill is longer than the head, hooked at the end and sharp. The wings are very large, and the bird has a wing span of over 2 meters.
Fringillidae is a large family of conirostral birds comprising the finches.
Fringillidea is the Finch family of birds. They are a large family of small seed-eating birds found in all parts of the world. Fringillidea belong to the order Insessores, section Conirostres. They are distinguished by having a sharply-pointed, conical, and in most cases strongly-formed, bill suitable for crushing seeds and other hard objects.
Fritillary is a genus of plants of the order Liliaceae, native to northern temperate regions.
The frog is an anura with four legs, four toes on the fore feet and five on the hind. The feet are more-or-less webbed. The body is naked and has no ribs and no tail. The tongue is fleshy and attached in front to the jaw but is free behind so that it can be protruded.
The froth-fly is an insect of the family Cercopidae, the larvae of which is found in a frothy exudation on plants (Cuckoo-spit).
Fruit-pigeons are pigeons of the genus Carpophagus. They have brilliant plumage and are found in India and Australia. They are so named because they eat nothing but fruit.
Fucaceae is a natural order of dark-coloured algae consisting of olive-coloured inarticulate seaweeds distinguished from other algae by their reproductive organs which consist of archegonia and antheridia, contained in common chambers, united in club-shaped receptacles at the ends of the fronds.
The fuchsia is a plant of the order Onagraceae. It has erect, much-branched stems, smooth, rather thick pointed leaves, and drooping heavy flowers borne singly in the axils of leaves towards the end of the branches. The flowers have coloured, fleshy calyx and tubular corolla, usually of different colours or shades of the same colour, and long deep-purple filaments bearing cross-set anthers.
Fucus is a genus of seaweeds of the family Fucaceae comprising several common seaweeds with a flat or compressed forked frond, sometimes containing air vessels.
The fulmar is a sea bird which lives on the sub-arctic shores of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Fumariaceae is a small natural order of exogenous plants closely allied to Papaveraceae. The species are slender-stemmed, herbaceous plants, generally erect, though some climb by means of their twisting leaf-stalks.
Funaria is a genus of mosses.
Fungi is a large natural order of cryptogamous plants, Fungi agree with algae and lichens in their cellular structure, which is, with few exceptions, devoid of anything resembling vascular tissue; but differing from them in deriving their nutrition from the body on which the grow, not from the medium by which they are surrounded.
Fusus is a genus of gasteropodous molluscs nearly allied to Murex with a spindle-shaped univalve shell.
see "West African Dwarf"
Gadidae is a family of malacopterous fish including the cod, ling and haddock.
The gadwall (Anas strepera) is a species of duck. It is common in North America, and rare in Britain. It is not so large as a mallard and has long pointed wings and a vigorous and rapid flight.
The galbulinae are a family of tropical American fissirostal birds allied to the trogons and kingfishers.
Galeidae is the tope family of small sharks.
The galemys are a genus of mammals allied to the shrews. They live in burrows at the sides of streams and feed on insects.
Galeopsis is a genus of plants of the natural order Labiatae characterized by the equally five-toothed calyx. They are herbaceous plants with square stems usually clothed with sharp bristly hairs, nettle-like leaves on long stalks, and red, white or yellow labiate flowers.
Gall-fly is a name for several hymenopterous insects of the family Cynipidae, which form galls, each species prefering a different plant. The gall is due to an iritating fluid which the insect deposits on the plant along with its egg.
Gallinae is the domesticated fowl order of birds.
The galliwasp is a species of lizard about 30cm long and stout and plump. It is generally brown in colour and is native to the West Indies and was particularly common in Jamaica during the 19th century.
The galloway is a Scottish hornless, black, compact, low-set breed of beef cattle.
Galls (gall-nuts) are a vegetable excrescence produced by the deposit of the egg of an insect in the bark or leaves of a plant.
A gamete is one of the two cells which fuse together to commence reproduction.
The gannet (solan goose) is a British sea bird of the genus Sula, family Pelecanidae. It is about one meter long and the plummage is dirty white or grey. The bill is straight, and about 15 cm long.
The ganoids are an order of fish characterized by angular, rhombic, polygonal or circular scales composed of horny or bony plates covered with a thick plate of a glossy enamel like substance.
The gaper-shell is a lamellibranchiate mollusc common on British coasts. It has a rectangular shell and burrows in sand and mud.
The gar-fish (Lepidosteus, bony pike, sea-pike, gar-pike, sea-needle) is a long and slende sea fish of the genus Belone, about 90cm long. The head projects forward into a very long sharp snout. The sides and belly are of a bright osilvery colour and the back is green. They are found in North American lakes and rivers.
Garcinia is a genus of plants of the natural order Guttiferae.
The garden-warbler is a migratory song-bird which visits Britain from the end of April to September. It is about 15cm long, the head and upper surfaces are greenish brown and the underside is brownish white.
Gardenia is a genus of trees and shrubs of the natural order Cinchonaceae. They are native to trpoical Asia and Africa and have pretty white or yellowish flowers and a powerful fragance.
The garganey is a small British duck.
Garlic is a perennial plant of the family Liliaceae with an edible bulb divided into segments known as cloves.
Garrot is a popular name of ducks of the genus Clangula. They are oceanic ducks with a bill shorter than the head, and are widely distributed over the temperate regions of Europe and America.
Garrulus is a genus of insessorial birds of the crow family.
The Gascon is a beef breed of cow found in the region of Gascony in southwest France and is related to the Blonde d' Aquitaine and the Piedmontese.
The gasteropods are a class of mollusc, consisting of animals inhabiting a univalve shell, although some of the group are wholly devoid of a shell. Generally the shell is cone-shaped and spiral. The distinguishing characteristic is the foot, which is broad, muscular and disc-like and attached to the ventral surface.
Gasterosteus is a genus of fish which comprises the sticklebacks.
The gaur (or gour, seladang) is one of the larget of the ox tribe found in the mountain jungles of India and Malaya. It is renowned for its shoulder hide, which even when dried is often more than 5cm thick, and was used to make shields.
see "Common Loon"
see "Pacific Loon"
The gavial (Gavialis gangeticus) is the Indian crocodile. It is characterized by narrow, almost cylindrical jaws which form a very long elongated muzzle. It has 120 teeth, of equal length, and the feet are webbed.
The Gaviiformes are an order of birds. These are the divers or loons. They are water birds with legs set very far back and webbed feet. The bill is long and pointed for catching fish.
The gayal (Mithan) is a species of ox related to the gaur and domesticated in north-east India.
The gazelle (Gazella dorcas) are various species of small, fast running antelope (the Gazellinae).
The gean (Prunus Avium) is a wild cherry tree found in Britain. It has fruit which are red when unripe, and a deep purple or black when ripe. The timber can be used for making furniture.
The gebang palm (Corypha gebanga) is a fan-leaved palm of south east Asia. Sago is extracted from its pith and its leaves are used for thatch, hats, baskets and bags. The root is used in medicine and the fibres of the leaf stalks are used for making ropes, nets and cloth.
The Gecko are a family of nocturnal lizards (Gekotidae) characterized by the general flatness of their form, especially of the head, which is rather triangular. The body is covered on the upper part with numerous round prominences or warts and the feet are rather short with toes nearly equal in length and furnished with flattened suction pads which enable the gecko to run up perpendicular walls.
The gelada (Theropithecus) is a dark, shaggy-maned baboon found in Ethiopia of the family Cercopithedcidae.
The gelsemium is a woody vine found in Asia and southern America.
A gemma is a small cellular body that separates from the mother-plant and starts a new one. It is common in moss and liverwort.
The gemsbok (Oryx gazella) is a large powerful member of the antelope family inhabiting the plains of South Africa.
Genes are hereditary information material arranged in a single row along the length of each chromosome.
The genet is a digitigrade carnivorous mammal of the family Viverridae. It is about the size of a small cat, but longer. Genets were used in Constantinople (Istanbul) to catch rats. The genet is common around the mediterranean.
Genipap is the fruit of the Genipa americana tree, of the natural order Rubiaceae. It is about the size of an orange and has a pleasant vinous flavour.
Genista is a genus of leguminous plants consisting of about 100 species.
see "Dyer's Broom"
Gentiana is a genus of bitter herbaceous plants which have opposite, often strongly ribbed leaves, and blue, yellow or red, often showy flowers. The calyx consists of four or five valvate segments, and the corolla is four or five parted. The fruit is a two-valved, one celled, many-seeded capsule.
Gentile di Puglia
The Gentile di Puglia (Apulian Merino, Merino di Puglia, Improved Apulian, Italian Merino, Merino d'Italia, Merina Gentile) is a fine wooled breed of sheep from southern Italy. Development of this breed began in the 15th century but the primary improvement was from the 18th century onward. The breed was developed from Spanish Merino crossed with the local breeds. Saxony and Rambouillet breed was introduced during the 19th century.
Geotrupidae are a family of burrowing lamellicorn beetles.
Geraniaceae is a natural order of exogenous plants the distinguishing character of which is to have a fruit composed of five capsules or cases, connected with as many flat styles, consolidated around a long conical beak.
The Geranium (Crane's Bill) is an herbaceous plant of the order Geraniaceae, akin to the Wood Sorrel and Balsam. It takes its alternative name of Cranes Bill from the fancied resemblance of the fruit to the beak of a crane.
The germander are plants of the genus Teucrium.
Gervas (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) is a small shrub of the natural order Verbenaceae. It is native to the West Indies and warm parts of America. Its leaves were used to make Brazilian tea and to adulterate tea in Britain in the 19th century.
Geum is a genus of hardy herbaceous perennials, belonging to the natural order Rosaceae, chiefly natives of the northern hemisphere.
The ghost-moth is a nocturnal lepidopterous insect (Hepialus humuli), so called from the male being of a white colour, and from its habit of hovering with a pendulum-like motion in the twilight over one spot where the female is concealed.
The Giant Clam (Chama gigas) is a marine bivalve with the largest known shell (approximately one meter across). They are found in the Indian Ocean.
A gibbon is a type of small ape of the genus Hylobates, particularly the species Hylobates lar which inhabits the islands of the Indian Archipelago. It is noticeable by the extraordinary length of its arms and its slender form.
The gibel (Cyprinus gibelio) is a fish of the carp genus. It is also called the Prussian Carp. The gibel rarely weighs more than 250 gms.
Gigante di Bergamo
Gills are very efficient organs of respiration found in fish and the early development stages of amphibians. They are highly vascular and are bathed in oxygen containing water from which the oxygen is extracted.
The gilthead (Chrysophrys aurata) is an acanthopterygious fish of the Sparidae or sea-bream family common in the Mediterranean. It has strong grinding teeth which it uses to crush the shells of the molluscs on which it feeds. It has a yellow band which extends from eye to eye, and typically weighs 9kg.
Ginger is a perennial plant of the order Zingiberaceae found in south east Asia, the West Indies, South America and Africa of which Jamaican ginger is the most prized.
The gingko are coniferous trees of the genus Salisburia belonging to the yew family and which are native to China and Japan.
The ginkgo is a tree related to the conifers and native to China and Japan.
Ginseng (Panax schinseng) is a plant of Northern Asia of the order Araliaceae. It is herbaceous and grows to about 30cm tall. Its root has long been regarded by the Chinese as a source of sexual potency.
The giraffe is the tallest mammal, found only in Africa south of the sahara.
Girdle of Venus
The Girdle of Venus is an animal of the Ctenophora found in the Mediterranean.
Gladiolus are a genus of plants of the iris order, having a bulbous root with a reticulated covering. They are natives of Europe and north Africa, but especially South Africa. The leaves are ensiform and the flowers brilliantly coloured.
The Glass Snake is a lizard of the genus Ophiosaurus which resembles a snake in form and reaches a length of one meter. The joints of the tail are not connected by caudal muscles and so the tail is very brittle and joints break off when the animal is even slightly irritated.
Glasswort are plants of the genus Salicornia, natural order Chenopodiaceae. They are succulent marine herbs growing abundantly on the coasts of southern Europe and north Africa. When burnt their ashes yield soda which was once used in making glass, hence the name glasswort.
Gleditschia is a genus of plants of the order Leguminosae to which the honey-locust belongs.
Globe-fish is a popular name applied to several fish of the genera Diodon and Tetraodon of the order Plectognathi, on account of their ability to assume a globular form by swallowing air or water which inflates a ventral sac and inflates the whole animal like a balloon.
The globe-flower (Trollius europaeus) is a European plant of the natural order Ranunculaceae. It is found in mountainous regions and has five-lobed, deaply serrated leaves and round pale-yellow blossoms the sepals of which are large and conspicuous while the petals are very small.
Globigerina is one of the Foraminifera, a microscopic animal having a many-celled shell found fossilised in the chalk and tertiary formations and alive in the seas where shells of the abundant dead animals form vast calcareous deposits of mud known as globigerina ooze.
Gloriosa is a genus of tuberous-rooted climbing herbs of the natural order Liliaceae, so named from their splendid flowers. They have branched stems and flowers mostly of a pretty red and yellow colour, with six long lanceolate undulated segments, which are entirely reflexed.
The glow-worm is an insect of the genus Lampyris, natural order Coleoptera. The name glow-worm is only really applicable to the female, which is without wings, resembling a caterpillar, and emits a shining green light from the extremity of the abdomen. The male is winged, and flies about in the evening when it is attracted by the light of the female.
Gloxinia is a genus of plants of the natural order Gesneraceae, distinguished by the corolla apprroaching to bell-shaped, the upper lip shortest and two-lobed, the lower three-lobed, with the middle lobe largest, and also by the summit of the style being rounded and hollowed. The species are native to tropical America and were introduced into Britian in the 19th century.
The glutton (Gulo arcticus) (Wolverene, Wolverine) is a carnivorous quadruped, about the size of a large badger, and intermediate between the bear family and the weasels. It inhabits northern Europe and America.
Glycyrrhiza is a genus of leguminous plants.
Gmelina is a genus of plants of the order Verbenaceae found in Asia. All the species form either shrubs or trees, some providing valuable timber.
Gnaphalium is a genus of widely-spread composite plants which have their foliage usually covered with a white wooly down, and their flower-heads of the ecerlasting kind.
Gnat is a popular name for several species of insects of the genus Culex.
Gnathostomata is a branch of the sub-phylum craniata group of animals. The mouth is bounded by jaws which are formed from the mandibular visceral arch.
The gnu (wildebeeste) is an antelope found in Africa. Both sexes have have horns projecting slightly outwards and downwards, then forming an abrupt upward bend. They have bristly black hair about the face and muzzle, a white stiff mane, and horse-like tail. They reach a length of about 270cm and a height at the shoulder of about 120cm.
The goat is a ruminant mammal of the genus Capra, sub-family Caprinae. They are slightly smaller than a sheep, but stronger, more agile and less timid.
Goat's-beard is a popular name of plants of the genus Tragopogon, order Compositae, which are herbaceous perennials, chiefly natives of Europe. The seeds have feathery appendages from which the plants get their name.
Goat's-rue (Galega officinalis) is a leguminous plant indigenous to southern Europe. It is used as forage and was once used as a cordial to treat fever and convulsions.
Goat's-thorn is the name given to two hard evergreen plants of the genus Astragalus.
The goat-moth (Cossus ligniperda) is a large British moth. The larvae are about 7cm long and hollow out galleries in trees and form cocoons from the sawdust in which the chrysalids are formed. The larval condition lasts for three years. The fully-developed insect is ash-coloured, with numerous small black lines on the first pair of wings.
Goatsucker is a popular name of birds of the genus Caprimulgus. They got the name from the incorrect assertion that the birds suck goats. The goatsuckers actually feed on nocturnal insects and beetles which are caught as the bird flies with its mouth open.
Goby is the popular name of a family of acanthopterous fish (Gobiidae) characterized as having two dorsal fins nearly united into one, the anterior fin having flexible rays, not spinous. The ventral fins are thoracic and united more or less by their bases. the body is scaly and the head unarmed. there are about 400 species of goby.
Godwinia is a genus of plants of the natural order Araceae.
Godwit is a popular name for birds of the genus Limosa or the family Scolopacidae.
Gold of Pleasure
Gold of Pleasure (Camelina sativa) is a cruciferous annual of the order Brassicaceae, with stem-clasping leaves and terminal racemes of yellow flowers which produce pear-shaped pods containing numerous small seeds.
Golden-beetle is a popular name for several tetramerous beetles of the genus Chrysomela. There are some British species, but most are tropical. They are characterized by their brilliant colouring.
see "Golden-crested Wren"
The Golden-crested Wren (Golden-crested Regulus, Kinglet, Regulus cristatus) is a beautiful bird belonging to the family Sylviadae, distinguished by an orange crest. It is the smallest of British birds, being only 8cm long, very agile and almost continually in motion. The upper part of the body is yellowish olive green and the under parts are pale reddish white. It lives mostly in tall trees, particularly the oak, yew, pine and fir.
Golden-rod (Solidago) is a genus of plants of the natural order Compositae. They are chiefly natives of North America. Most of the species have erect, rod-like, scarcely branched stems, with alternate serrated leaves, and terminal spikes of small yellow flowers.
Golden-saxifrage is a popular name for Chrysoplenium.
The Goldfinch (Fringilla carduelis or Carduelis Elegans) is a common British bird of the Finch family. It is about 13cm long and the plumage is a mixture of black, scarlet (around the forehead and throat), yellow and white colours. During the 19th century it was a popular caged bird, being easily tamed and able to be taught tricks and manoeuvres. Its favourite food is thistle seeds (hence its French name, Chardonneret - a frequenter of thistles).
The goldfish (Cyprinus auratus) is a member of the carp family found in east Asia.
The goliath-beetles are beetles of the genus Goliathus which are native to Africa and South America and are so named on account of their remarkable large size which can reach 10cm. They are eaten in South America.
The Gomuti Palm (Saguerus saccharifer) is the sago-palm and yields a bristly fibre known as gomuti or ejoo which is manufactured into cordage, and used for thatching. The sweet juice of the palm is fermented into a toddy by natives. The Gomuti Palm is also one of the chief sago producing palms.
The gonads are essential reproductive organs.
The goosander is a duck found in Scotland.
The goose is a bird of the genus Anser.
Goose-grass or Silver Weed, wild tansy (Potentilla anserina) is a British herbaceous perenial of the natural order Rosaceae, the leaves of which are greedily eaten by geese. The roots may be eaten raw or when boiled.
Gooseberry (Ribes grossularia) is a low branching shrub growing wild in Siberia and northern Europe. It is part of the order Grossulariaceae. the branches are armed with numerous prickles and bear three to five lobed leaves and inconspicuous flowers. The fruit is a succulent berry which makes rather good eating.
The gopher is a burrowing rodent of the genus Spermophulus found in the prairies of north and central America. They live in burrows and resemble the marmot. They have cheek pouches in which they carry food of plants, roots and seeds.
Gorgonia is a member of the order of alcyonaria.
The gorilla is the largest anthropoid ape, found in west Africa.
Gorse (furze, whin) is a plant of the family leguminosae. It is a low shrubby plant, the stem generally 80cm to 1m high, much branched and most of the leaves converted into spines. The flowers are solitary and yellow.
The goshawk (Astur palumbarius) is a raptorial bird of the genus Astur. It grows to around 60cm long, has deep brown plumage and was much used in falconry. It flies low and pursues its prey in a line after it.
Goura is a genus of large pigeons native to Papua New Guinea comprising about six species known as crowned pigeons which are remarkable for their large size and open erect crest with which the head is adorned. They spend most of their time on the ground and nest in low branches.
Gourd (Cucurbita) is a genus of plants of the natural order Cucurbitaceae.
The grain-moth is two species of very small moth whose larvae eat grain in granaries. The moths have narrow, fringed wings of a satin lustre.
The graining is a fish of the dace kind found chiefly in the Mediterranean and its tributaries and in some of the Swiss lakes. The nose is more rounded than that of the dace, the eye larger, and the dorsal fin commences half-way between the point of the nose and the end of the fleshy portion of the tail.
Grakle is a genus of birds of the order Passeres and of the starling family. They are found in India and New Guinea.
Grallatores is an order of birds. They are generally wading-birds and frequent the banks of streams and marshes. They have long legs and a long beak.
The grampus are several marine cetaceous mammals allied to the dolphins. Grampus are found in the Atlantic and North Sea. They grow to about 8 meters long, and are very thick in proportion to their length with a black back and white belly. On each shoulder is a white spot. Grampus are carnivorous and voracious and will attack even whales.
The grantia is a member of the calcarea class.
Grapes are the fruit of the vine plant.
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari racemosum) is a bulbous her of the order liliaceae. It is native to Europe and South Africa and has a short flower stem bearing many round dark blue flowers.
The grapefruit or shaddock (Citrus decumana) is an evergreen tree of the natural order rutaceae. It produces a pale yellow globular fruit which may be eaten.
The Grapple Plant (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a prostrate perennial herb of the order pedalinae. Its purple flowers are funnel-shaped. The fruit is large and armed with strong, sharp hooks which, when they come into contact with the lips of browsing animals, cause intolerable pain.
The grapple-plant is a South African procumbent plant of the natural order Pedaliacea. the seeds have many hooked thorns which cling to the mouths of grazing cattle causing considerable pain.
Grass (Graminaceae) is an extensive order of endogenous plants comprising about 250 genera and 4500 species. The roots are fibrous; the stem is usually cylindrical and jointed varying length from a few centimeters to 30 meters in the case of the bamboo.
Grass of Parnassus
Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris) is a perennial herb of the order saxifragaceae. It is a bog plant native to Europe, north Africa, north and west Asia and north America. It has large solitary white flowers.
The Grass-tree (Xanthorrhoea, Black-Boy) is a genus of Australian plants pf the natural order Liliaceae. They have shrubby stems with tufts of long grass-like wiry foliage, from the centre of which arises the tall flower-stalks which sometimes reach a height of 5 meters and bear dense cylindrical spikes of blossom at their summit.
Grass-wrack (Sea-Grass, Zostera marina) is a phanerogamous plant belonging to the Naiadeae, forming green beds at the bottom of the sea where it is shallow. The ash contains soda.
The grasshopper are various leaping inscets of the order Orthoptera nearly akin to the locusts. They are characterized by long and slender legs, the thighs of the hind legs are large and adapted for leaping; by large and delicate wings and by the wing covers extending far beyond the extremity of the abdomen. They are generally of a greenish colour.
The Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) is a bird with a large, conical bill, large, flat head, short tail, buffy face and breast white belly and undertail coverts. It is found in open fields and forages on the ground.
Gratiola is a genus of plants of the natural order Scrophulariaceae containing about twenty species of herbs, widely distributed through the extra-tropical regions of the world.
Grayling is a genus of fish of the family Salmonidae. The common grayling is found in English streams and in Scotland. Grayling prefer rapid streams where the water is cool and clear, and the bottom sandy or pebbly. Grayling are yellowish-brown with a white under-belly.
Great Blue Heron
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a very large American heron of the order Ciconiiformes, family Ardeidae, with a long neck and legs, long sharp bill. The adult has a grey-blue back, wings and back of neck with a white cheek; black eye stripe and cap. The neck is curled up in S-curve in flight. It hunts fish, other small vertebrates, crustaceans.
The Great Dane is a breed of dog. Originally they were bred in Germany as boarhounds for hunting, they are also employed as pets and as watchdogs. Great Danes stand one meter at the shoulder and have very strong jaws.
The Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) is an American, large all-white heron with a long yellow bill and long black legs of the order Ciconiiformes, family Ardeidae. It is a fairly common permanent resident near and in a wide variety of wetlands habitats of southern California and nests throughout most of California; in southern California it is especially common at Salton Sea, and the Colorado River.
The Great Tortoise-shell (Vanessa polychloros) is a British butterfly.
Green Gage is a variety of plum.
The Green Turtle is an amphibian of the order Reptilia, order Testudines. It is one of the largest of the seven species of sea turtle. Although once common in the worlds warmer seas, it is now threatened with extinction. Green Turtles have a thick, heavy and bony shell covered in plate-like scales and a salt gland near the eye through which it gets rid of excess salt water. The feet are modified into powerful flippers that propel it through water, and are used for walking on land.
The Green-backed Heron (Butorides striatus) is a small American heron of the order Ciconiiformes, family Ardeidae, with short yellowish legs and a short neck; greenish-blue back; neck rusty on side and back, white on front. The young are streaky brown and white on the front and brown on the back. It stalks invertebrate and fish prey, which it stabs with its pointed bill.
Green-brier (Smilax rotundifolia) is a thorny climbing shrub having a yellow-green stem and thick leaves with small bunches of flowers. It is very common in America.
Green-dragon (Arisoema Dracontium) is a North American herbaceous plant of the arum family. It is also known as wake-robin.
The greenfinch is a bird of the finch family common in Europe and north Africa.
The greenheart (Nectandra Rodioei) is a tree of the natural order Lauraceae. It is native to Guiana where it is also called the bebeeru. The bark contains the alkaloid bebeerine.
The greenshank (Totanus glottis) is a species of sand-piper often called the whistling snipe from the shrill note it utters when first disturbed. It breeds commonly in the Hebrides and sometimes in northern Scotland and is a visitor to the coasts and marshes of Britain.
Gregarina is a member of the gregarinida order.
Gregarinida are an order of sporozoa. They are parasites which live in invertebrates, and are found in the gut, colon and tissues.
Gregarinidae are a class of minute animal organisms comprising the lowest forms of Protozoa found parasitic in various animals, especially the cockroach and earthworm. The Gregarinidae consist of an outer colourless transparent membrane, with only faint signs of a fibrillous structure inclosing a granular mass in which there is a nucleus surrounded by a clear space.
The Grey Gurnard (Trigla gurnardus) is a common British fish of the Gurnard genus.
The greyhound is a variety of dog distinguished by a greater length of muzzle than any other; very low forehead, short lips, thin and long legs, small muscles, contracted belly and semipendant ears. They are bred for racing, being the fastest running dogs.
The griffon vulture is an Old World vulture (Gyps fulvus) of the family Accipitridae, found in Southern Europe, West and Central Asia, and parts of Africa. It has a bald head with a neck ruff, and is 1.1 m long with a wingspan of up to 2.7 m.
A grilse is a young salmon after it returns to the sea from the fesh water for the first time.
Grindelia is a genus of perennial and biennial herbs and small shrubs found in South America. The early growth of most of them is covered with a glutinous varnish. They have alternate light-green, coarsely-toothed leaves with a clasping base. The distinctive mark of the genus is the limb of the calyx, consisting of two to eight rigid, narrow awns, which fall early. The dried leaves are used as a sedative and expectorant.
Gromwell are plants of the genus Lithospermum of the natural order Boraginaceae.
Grossulaceae is a tribe of plants of the natural order Saxifragaceae.
Ground Dove is a name given to several species of pigeon and especially the Chamoepelia of warmer parts of America.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is a common British plant of the order Labiatae, with a creeping stem and purple flowers. It was once used as a flavouring in ale.
Ground Squirrel is a a name for squirrels of the genus Tamias. They differ from other squirrels in posessing cheek-pouches and living in burrows.
Ground-hog is another name for the aardvark.
Ground-nut is another name for peanut.
Ground-pine is a herbaceous labiate plant.
Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) is a European plant of the natural order Compositae. The plant is emollient, has a slightly acid taste and is rejected by most animals except pigs and goats.
The grouse is a fowl like bird common in north America and north Europe and comprising the family Tetraonidae whose distinguishing mark is a naked band, often of a red colour, in place of an eyebrow. They are wild, shy and almost untamable living in families in forests and barren regions and feeding on berries, buds and leaves.
The growler (Micropterus nigricans) is a fresh water fish of North America also called the black-bass.
Growth is the idea of an animal increasing in size, weight or complexity etc.
Grub is a term applied to the soft worm-like larvae of various insects.
Grugru is the larva of the Calandra palmarum, or palm weevil found in the tropical parts of America. It is about the size of a thumb and is often cooked and eaten.
The grunt (grunter, pig-fish, red-mouth) is an American fish of the family Haemulonidae which emits a grunt when taken out of the water, hence it's name.
Grus is a genus of birds which includes the crane.
Gryllus is a genus of orthopterous insects.
The grysbok (grisbok, grey buck, Antilope melanotis) is a species of antelope found in southern Africa. It reaches a height of one meter in length and 50 cm in height at the shoulder. It is reddish-grey in colour and is hunted for food.
Guacharo (Steatornis Caripensis) is a bird of the goat-sucker family. It is nocturnal and a native of South America. It is the size of a common fowl with a curved and toothed bill and long pointed wings. Guacharo feed upon fruit, becoming so fat that Indians kill them for their oil.
Guaiacum is a genus of plants belonging to the natural order Zygophyllaceae native to the West Indies and the tropical parts of America. They are ornamental, evergreen, hardwood trees and the resin of some varieties is used in medicine as a cure for syphilis.
The guan is a gallinaceous bird of the family Cracidae, genus Penelope. The sides of the head and front of the throat are naked and wattled, the wattles being capable of inflation. The guans perch on trees descending in search of grain and fruits. They are native to Brazil and Guiana, and there was a suggestion in the 19th century of breeding them in Europe as poultry.
The guanaco is a wild member of the camel family found in South America.
Guarana is a climbing shrub of the natural order Sapindaceae. It has divided compound leaves, yellow panicles and bears pear-shaped fruit. South American Indians made a beverage from it which is slightly narcotic and a tonic.
Guava is the popular name of the genus Psidium, which are tropical trees of the natural order Myrtaceae. The fruit of the guava is high in vitamin C.
The gudgeon (Gobio) is a freshwater fish found in Europe and north Asia. It belongs to the carp family (Cyprinidae) and has short dorsal and anal fins without spines. On each side of the mouth is a small barbel.
The guereza (guerza, Colobus guerza) is an Ethiopian monkey with shirt, glossy black fur with long silky white fur on the flanks.
The Guernsey is a fawn-coloured breed of domestic dairy cattle with white markings and short horns.
The Guernsey Lily (Nerine Sarniensis) is a beautiful plant with purple red flowers and native to South Africa. It is of the family Amaryllidaceae. It is called the Guernsey Lily because some of its bulbs were washed ashore in Guernsey from a ship wreck and took root.
The guillemot is a web-footed bird of the Alcidae family. The guillemot has a striaght, compressed and pointed bill covered with feathers as far as the nostrils. The wings are pointed and very short and the legs are short and placed far back. Guillemots eat fish and nest on sea cliffs.
Guinea Pepper (Xylopia aromatica) is a loft tree of the custard apple family. Its fruit, consisting of dry carpels is used as pepper.
The Guinea-fowl (pintado) is a genus of gallinaceous birds of the family Phasianidae (the pheasants). They are originally natives of Africa.
Guinea-grass is a very tall species of grass native to Africa and of the same genus as the millet, it grows to between 2 and 3 meters high.
The Guinea-pig is a rodent mammal of the family Cavidae (the Cavies). It is native to South America and rather stupid, but terribly cute and often kept in Europe as a children's pet. The South American Indians prefer to cook it roasted on a spit over an open fire and eat it.
Guinea-worm (Filaria Medinensis) is a parasitic worm of the order Nematoda. It is white and about the thickness of string and varies in length from 15 cm to one meter.
see "West African Dwarf"
Gull is the general name of a family of birds distinguished by their straight bill, bending downwards towards the point, and marked below the under mandible by a triangular prominence, by their large wings, slender legs, palmated feet, and small hind toe. They swim well, but cannot dive.
Gum-cistus is a plant cultivated in Portugal and yielding a gum with a balsamic odour.
Gum-tree is another name for Eucalyptus.
The gunnel (butterfish, Centronotus gunellus) is a fish of the Blennies family. The common gunnel resembles an eel and is about 10 cm long, is brown in colour and has black spots on the base of the dorsal fin.
Gunnera is a genus of plants of the bread-fruit order.
Gurnard or Gurnet is a popular name of acanthopterous fish of the genus Trigla. The head is angular and wholly covered in bony plates. The body is elongated, nearly round and tapering. There are two dorsal fins, the pectoral fins are large and the teeth are small and numerous.
The Gute sheep is the most primitive breed in the collection of breeds that make up the Swedish Landrace breed group. These breeds belong to the North European Short Tailed Breeds and are related to such breeds as the Finnsheep, Romanov, Spelsau, Shetland, Faroe, Orkney and Icelandic sheep. Landrace sheep on the island of Gotland in the Baltic sea were little affected by the importation to Sweden of several long tailed foreign breeds during the 18th and 19th century. The native sheep had a coarse wool of several colours. The vast majority of the rams were horned while females could be either horned or hornless. Few sheep were truly polled, i.e. having depressions on the head at the horn sites. Before 1911 four-horned animals existed. Around 1920 selection among the pure Gotland landrace started, to produce sheep, that were polled in both sexes, with a curly coat and of a uniform grey colour of a decided shade. This selection eventually resulted in the modern Swedish Pelt (sometimes referred to as Gotland Pelt). The Swedish name of that breed is Palsfar. After a couple of decades only a few horned sheep with the original type of wool were left. round 1930 Edward Graelert founded a flock of horned sheep, collected mainly from the north of Gotland. After some years four others, Nils Dahlbeck, Carl Fries, Konrad Hellsing and Arvid Ohlsson also got involved in preserving horned sheep. In 1940 probably less than 20 adult sheep existed in horned flocks on Gotland. In the beginning of the breed a few more horned animals were bought in from polled flocks. The numbers of Gute sheep have steadily increased and numbers today (1996) around 4500 ewes and 500 rams in 450 flocks in Sweden. There are some flocks in Denmark and Germany as well. The most common colour is grey. Dark grey animals have black legs and head while light grey ones also have white and tan hair on these parts of the body. Grey sheep have light hair around the eyes and muzzle. Black sheep occur but it is not
ertain if these are true black or just very dark grey. White sheep are seldom pure white, but instead they often have tan patches on the neck and other parts of the body. A few individuals with less common colours have been seen. Almost all non-white sheep have white markings. This can vary from only a small white star on the forehead to a blaze and white tail and white legs. It seems that the light grey sheep have larger white areas than the dark grey ones. Some sheep are piebald. The wool is coarse, and may be straight or wavy. It is a mixture of fine wool, long coarser hair and kemp fibers. On the neck and along the throat the sheep have long thick mane hair, much more in males than in females. The grey wool is a mixture of white and black fibers, the fine wool is then white and the coarser hair black. In light grey individuals many fibers are tan. In dark grey individuals some of the finer wool is black. The sheep never have wool in the face or on the tip of the tail. Most sheep shed their fleece partly or entirely in the beginning of the summer.
The gutta-percha tree (Isonandra gutta) is a large tree, some 20 meters tall of the order Sapotaceae growing in South-East Asia, including at one time in Singapore, but excessive cutting of the trees there instead of tapping them for their resin led to their extinction on Singapore. It's resin (gutta-percha) is tapped and used as a form of rubber.
Guttiferae is a natural order of exogenous trees and shrubs which generally secrete an acrid yellow resinous juice. They are found in hot and humid regions, chiefly South America.
The gymnoblastea is an order of hydrozoa. They are marine colonial forms in which the coenosarc is enclosed within a perisac. The perisac is not extended to form hydrothecae.
Gynerium is a genus of grasses of the tribe Arundineae which includes Pampas Grass (Gynerium argenteum). A Brazilian species, Gynerium saccharoides produces sugar, though it is not the true sugar-cane.
Gypaetus is a genus of birds which includes the Bearded Vulture.
see " Griffon vulture"
Gypsy-wort is a labiate plant found in Britain in ditches and on river banks. It renders a dye, and gets its name from the rumour that Gypsies used it to darken their skin.
Gyrocotyle is a cestoda.
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