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Spines and thorns

Spines and thorns
Photo Information
Copyright: Monika MvJ (thistle) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1309 W: 74 N: 3014] (9282)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-01
Categories: Trees
Camera: Sony DCR-HC14E, Carl Zeiss
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Frozen nature [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-02-03 3:35
Viewed: 4218
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo gives me occasion to write a bit about all this nasty thorns, spines and prickles that adorn many plants all over the world.

Thorns are a modified section of stem and spines are a modified leaves. They are most common on trees and shrubs or perennial plants. Prickles, like those on a blackberry are outgrowths of bark, but they can be found on leaves or flowers as well.

Main purpose of developing thorns, spines and prickles is protection from birds and larger herbivores, but there is some more interesting applications of these.

One of the most spiny plants are no doubt Cacti.
Thorns and spikes provide protection from predators, but also shade from the desert sun.
For this plants very important is not to lose water. Spikes and hairs make the layer of shade to cool the plant and they also break up drying winds that would rob the plant of water. The spines of cacti can collect water from fine mists or dew and form droplets which then fall to the ground where the roots can take it up.

The other very common and very thorny plant is Rose.
Thorns beside protection can be also great support for climber Roses. Thorns are often curved in form of hook and so they can very easy cling to other plants, trees or walls.

Hawthorn and Blackthorn
Well known plants very often used for hedges. Blackthorn has wicked spikes that are highly brittle and tend to snap off under the skin and then fester horribly. Thorns of Hawthorn were used by people to piercing ears, making fish hooks and as a sewing needles.

One of the most recognizable trees of the African savanna. It has two types of thorns on the branches: long, straight, brownish thorns and shorter, hooked thorns that grow alongside each other. The thorns keep the savanna animals away from eating the leaves, flowers, and seedpods. The only animal that is immune to the thorns is the giraffe.
Bullhorn Acacia has probably the most original thorns. They are also used for protection, but in very uncommon way. The hollowed-out thorns are home of colonies of stinging ants that fiercely defend the whole tree against ravaging insects and browsing mammals. In return, the host supplies its little guardian ants with protein-lipid Beltian bodies from its leaflet tips and carbohydrate-rich nectar from glands on its leaf stalk.

On my photo you can see the thorn of young Robinia pseudacacia, that grows in my garden.
It is covered with ice crystals.

I know the photo look quite strange, but the only PP I made was color conversion to B&W and I also sharpened it a bit.

red45, Janice, LordPotty, livios, PDP, gerhardt, rlortie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-02-03 4:08]

I like it Monika! Thorns of frost over thorn of Robinia :-) I like 'crystal' mood of this picture, it looks like essence of winter.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-02-03 4:36]

Cold! Cold! this is good Monika. Very well done with the frost spiking on a spike.
I'm also posting a spiny plant tonight too Monika.

Rewelacyjny pomysł :-) Trochę zabawnie mi sie kojarzy ale zdjęcie super. Uwielbiam światło odbijające sie w kryształkach lodu!

Interesting shot Monika. It looks like some cave formations I have seen. A very thorough and informative note too. Good post. Well done.

Very very nice Monika.
Good DOF, Good POV, Nice BG, nice composition.
Excellent story also.
Overall very well done.

  • Great 
  • puciu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 16] (2631)
  • [2005-02-03 10:32]

Świetny pomysł zdjęcie super podoba mi się.

Very interesting post and note, the pic quality isn't very good :-(

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-02-03 16:01]

Monika, an artistic shot. Not only because of B/W, but also because of the composition.

An original photo, typical from you.


  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-02-03 16:08]

Hi Monika, I love the composition and the ice formation is very interesting on this thorn. The B&W definitely works very well here. The focus is very soft, I know you have a video camera so I think you have done well. If you are taking shots like this then I really think you should get yourself a decent compact camera. The note is very good, the two points are for the composition and the note, well done.

Three things that impresses me every time I look at your work. Exceptional, artistic compositions. Fantastic personal written note. And last but not the least your ability to get interersting captures with the video cam. I would love to see you handle an DSLR.

Monika I want to tell you something: maybe you don't have "the" camera, but you certainly got "the" eye. Your compositions are very artistic. Sometimes impressionists. This one is no exception. And your notes are always VERY interesting. Thanks for your participation on TN.

  • Great 
  • papou (83)
  • [2005-02-17 8:16]

Bonjour Monika,
La nature est fascinante et il y a des observateurs attentifs qui voient beaucoup plus que les autres. Merci de partager.
Amicalement. Serge.

I like the 'feel' of this Monika - it sets a nice mood. Thanks for the interesting narrative too.

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