Thursday, 30 May 2019

NUTMEG PELARGONIUM

Pelargonium × fragrans is a pelargonium hybrid between Pelargonium odoratissimum and Pelargonium exstipulatum. It is in the subgenus Reniforme along with Pelargonium sidoides and Pelargonium abrotanifolium. Pelargonium comes from the Greek; Pelargos which means stork. Another name for pelargoniums is storksbills due the shape of their fruit. Fragrans refers to the fragrant leaves.

Pelargonium × fragrans, like its parent Pelargonium odoratissimum, is a small, spreading species which only grows up to 30 cm high and 60 cm wide. It has small white flowers and its leaves are waxy, green and ovate with slightly fringed edges. It has a sweet, slightly spicy, eucalyptus-like ("nutmeg") scent.

Nutmeg-Scented Pelargonium makes a nice scented border in zones 9 and up, and a great summer bloomer for other zones. In Zone 8, during a very cold winter, it dies back but returns fairly reliably. If the winter is milder, Nutmeg Pelargonium will stay evergreen and even bloom early in Zone 8.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

URANIUM GLASS

Uranium glass is a type of glass which has had uranium, usually in oxide diuranate form, added to a glass mix before melting for coloration. The proportion usually varies from trace levels to about 2% uranium by weight, although some 20th-century pieces were made with up to 25% uranium.

Uranium glass was once made into tableware and household items, but fell out of widespread use when the availability of uranium to most industries was sharply curtailed during the Cold War in the 1940s to 1990s. Most such objects are now considered antiques or retro-era collectibles, although there has been a minor revival in art glassware. Otherwise, modern uranium glass is now mainly limited to small objects like beads or marbles as scientific or decorative novelties.

The normal colour of uranium glass ranges from yellow to green depending on the oxidation state and concentration of the metal ions, although this may be altered by the addition of other elements as glass colorants. Uranium glass also fluoresces bright green under ultraviolet light and can register above background radiation on a sufficiently sensitive Geiger counter, although most pieces of uranium glass are considered to be harmless and only negligibly radioactive.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA

The seaside city of Wollongong,  located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia, lies on the narrow coastal strip between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, 82 kilometres south of Sydney. Wollongong’s Statistical District has a population of 292,190, making Wollongong the third largest city in New South Wales after Sydney and Newcastle, and the ninth largest city in Australia.

The Wollongong metropolitan area extends from Helensburgh in the north to Shellharbour in the south. It sits within the Wollongong Statistical District, which covers the local authority areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama, extending from the town of Helensburgh in the north to Gerroa in the south. Geologically, the city is located in the south-eastern part of the Sydney basin, which extends from Newcastle to Nowra.

Wollongong is noted for its heavy industry and its port activity, having a long history of coalmining and manufacturing. The quality of its physical setting is unique, occupying a narrow coastal plain between an almost continuous chain of surf beaches and the cliffline of the rainforest-covered Illawarra escarpment. It has two cathedrals, churches of many denominations and the Nan Tien Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temples in the southern hemisphere.

The city attracts many tourists each year, and is a regional centre for the South Coast fishing industry. The University of Wollongong has around 22,000 students and is internationally recognised. Although other explanations have been offered, such as “great feast of fish”, “hard ground near water”, “song of the sea”, “sound of the waves”, “many snakes” and “five islands”, the name Wollongong is believed to mean “seas of the South” in the local Aboriginal language, referring to NSW's Southern Coast.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 27 May 2019

FLORAL MOSAIC

Mosaic of patterned tiles with flower photos.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

OLD IN RHODES

A few years ago we visited Rhodes, Greece, and drove around the island. We visited the small town of Archangelos situated about 28 kilometers south of the town of Rhodes. It is an inland town, about two kilometers far from the sea, on a small plateau amongst mountains and hills. It has about 5,500 permanent residents. The old town is located at the foot of the old castle on top of a prominent hill, with the modern part of town surrounding the old one. The medieval castle dominates the town and was built in 1320 AD by the Knights of the Order of St. John, on the ruins of the older Byzantine castle, parts of which have been incorporated in the construction. The Holy Church of the Archangel Michael, which gives the town its name is worth a visit.

Coming out of the church we encountered a beautiful little traditional house with a small front yard full of flowers. The front door was open and the interior was just visible. We were peering inside when a wizened little old lady of about 90 years came out and invited us in to see her house. It was just one room with an attached little kitchen. Her wedding bower was still decorated in its finery and perched in a large niche in the wall, accessible by steps.

On the walls were hanging a couple of hundred colourful plates and old photographs. Traditional embroideries were festooning ledges, furniture and mantels. She told us that she became a widow at 29 years of age and she had to raise her two children on her own – they now lived in Athens and occasionally came to visit her. She lived alone and took care of herself, although a neighbour popped in now and then. She still earned her living by gathering wild herbs from the mountainside, drying them and selling them in little plastic bags. We bought a few packets and thanked her for showing us her home.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

TURTLE

The eastern long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is an east Australian species of snake-necked turtle that inhabits a wide variety of water bodies and is an opportunistic feeder. It is a side-necked turtle (Pleurodire), meaning that it bends its head sideways into its shell rather than pulling it directly back. This specimen sighted in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. A close-up of the head shows off the resemblance to a snake!

The species is found throughout south eastern Australia where it is found west of Adelaide (South Australia) eastwards throughout Victoria and New South Wales, and northwards to the Fitzroy River of Queensland. Where the species comes in contact with Chelodina canni they freely hybridise exhibiting hybrid vigour in the Styx River Drainage of Queensland.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.


Wednesday, 22 May 2019

BOUGAINVILLEA

Bougainvillea is a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. They are native plants of South America from Brazil west to Perú and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Bougainvillea are also known as Bugambilia (Mexico), Napoleón (Honduras), veranera (Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama), trinitaria (Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic & Venezuela), Santa Rita (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Bonggang Villa (Philippines) or papelillo (northern Peru).

The vine species grow anywhere from 1 to 12 m tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4–13 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colours associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.

Bougainvillea glabra is sometimes referred to as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery. The species here illustrated is Bougainvillea spectabilis. The first European to describe these plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville (hence the generic name), during his voyage of circumnavigation, and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789. It is possible that the first European to observe these plants was Jeanne Baré, Commerçon's lover and assistant whom he sneaked on board (despite regulations) disguised as a man (and who thus became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

TEMPLE

The Thesseion (Temple of Hephaestus [Vulcan]) is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in Athens; it remains standing largely as built. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of St. George Akamates.

Hephaestus was the patron god of metal working, craftsmanship, and fire. There were numerous potters' workshops and metal-working shops in the vicinity of the temple, as befits the temple's honoree. Archaeological evidence suggests that there was no earlier building on the site except for a small sanctuary that was burned when the Persians occupied Athens in 480 BC.

The name Thesseion or Temple of Theseus was attributed to the monument under the assumption it housed the remains of the Athenian hero Theseus, brought back to the city from the island of Skyros by Kimon in 475 BC, but refuted after inscriptions from within the temple associated it firmly with Hephaestus.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA

Putrajaya is a city and federal territory of Malaysia, 25 km south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, and serves as the country’s administrative centre. Prior to the construction of Putrajaya, the Malaysian government offices were housed at various locations across Kuala Lumpur. With increasing traffic congestion, however, the distance between the offices began to hinder administrative processes. Consequently, the government resolved to create a new city where the scattered offices could be relocated and reassembled to form a more efficient administrative hub.

The prime minister’s office moved to Putrajaya in 1999. While Kuala Lumpur continued to function as Malaysia's capital (it was the site of both houses of parliament and the first royal palace), Putrajaya gradually expanded to include the Federal Court, the second royal palace, and many other administrative buildings. It was declared a federal territory in 2001. Putrajaya is managed by a corporate body that controls its development. Built on the former site of rubber and oil palm plantations, Putrajaya was developed as a “garden city.”

It has an expansive man-made lake and many areas devoted to parks, botanical gardens, and wetlands. From its conception, the city was envisioned as part of a growing high-technology communications research and development corridor stretching southward from Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya is accessible by numerous rail lines and highways and is in close proximity to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It has a population of about 100,000 people.The photograph is of the Prime Ministerial precinct and palace.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the  Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

SOUTHBANK SUNSET

At Southbank, looking out Southwest towards the Port Phillip Bay at sunset. Enjoying the view while it's still visible as more and more high rises are being built all the time.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.


Saturday, 18 May 2019

WARM DOG

The morning temperatures have been dropping all the while lately as Winter approaches. Good to see some dog owners are keeping their animals warm with fashionable woolly, coats :-)

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.


Friday, 17 May 2019

Thursday, 16 May 2019

CATTLEYA

Perhaps no other orchid surpasses the Cattleya in popularity amongst orchid fanciers around the world. And it is the Cattleya which means "orchid" to the lay person, if they are asked to think about orchid types. It is the Cattleya which has been the mainspring of the orchid industry and it is the Cattleya which has done most to stimulate interest in orchid growing as a hobby.

Cattleya is a genus of 113 species of orchids from Costa Rica and the Lesser Antilles south to Argentina. The genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley after William Cattley who received and was the first to bloom a specimen of Cattleya labiata. William Swainson had discovered the new plant in Pernambuco, Brazil, in 1817 and shipped to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens for identification. Swainson requested that a few plants be later sent to Cattley, who was able to bloom one a full year before the plants in Glasgow.

These orchids are widely known for their large, showy flowers, and were used extensively in hybridisation for the cut-flower trade until the 1980s when pot plants became more popular. The flowers of the hybrids can vary in size from 5 cm to 15 cm or more. They occur in all colours except true blue and black. Many of these species and hybrids are very fragrant. 

The specimen below is a Cattleya mossiae hybrid and is fragrant. The typical flower has three rather narrow sepals and three usually broader petals: Two petals are similar to each other, and the third is the quite different conspicuous lip, featuring various markings and specks and an often frilly margin. At the base, the margins are folded into a tube. Each flower stalk originates from a pseudobulb. The number of flowers varies; it can be just one or two, or sometimes up to ten.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

SUMMER SALAD

As we progress towards Winter, one thing I'll miss is the Summer produce from our vegetable garden - ripe red flavoursome tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, fresh herbs, Spring onions... This is a salad we enjoy in the summertime.

SUMMER SALAD

Ingredients (for 2 persons)
3 ripe beefsteak tomatoes
2 Lebanese (i.e. baby) cucumbers
4-5 sprigs of fresh purslane
2-3 sprigs of parsley
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh Spring onion
1 tbsp baby capers
A pinch or two of dried oregano
Salt, pepper to taste
70 g of blue vein cheese

Vinaigrette Dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp Italian “balsamico” vinegar

Method
Cut and slice the tomatoes and put in a salad bowl. Peel and slice the cucumbers on top of it.  Pluck the tender leaves of the purslane and add to salad. Chop up the parsley and thyme and add to salad.Add the chopped Spring onion and capers. Add the oregano, salt and pepper. Dress with the vinaigrette, tossing thoroughly, and add the cheese cut in small cubes.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

GUERNSEY, UK

Guernsey is an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. With several smaller nearby islands, it forms a jurisdiction within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependency. The jurisdiction is made up of ten parishes on the island of Guernsey, three other inhabited islands (Herm, Jethou and Lihou), and many small islets and rocks. The jurisdiction is not part of the United Kingdom, although defence and most foreign relations are handled by the British Government.

The entire jurisdiction lies within the Common Travel Area of the British Isles and is not a member of the European Union, but has a special relationship with it, being treated as part of the European Community with access to the single market for the purposes of free trade in goods. Taken together with the separate jurisdictions of Alderney and Sark it forms the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The two Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey together form the geographical grouping known as the Channel Islands.

The island of Guernsey has a population of around 63,000 in 62 km2 and forms the legal and administrative centre of the jurisdiction of Guernsey and the shopping and service centre for all three jurisdictions. The parliament of the whole jurisdiction of Guernsey, including the nearby inhabited islands of Herm, Jethou and Lihou, plus the neighbouring jurisdiction of Alderney is the States of Guernsey.Guernsey, with its sandy beaches, cliff walks, seascapes and offshore islands has been a tourist destination since at least the Victorian days. The military history of the island has left a number of fortifications, including Castle Cornet, Fort Grey. Guernsey loophole towers and a large collection of German fortifications with a number of museums. The use of the roadstead in front of St Peter Port by over 100 cruise ships a year is bringing over 100,000 day trip passengers to the island each year.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

AORAKI, NEW ZEALAND

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is in the South Island of New Zealand, near the town of Twizel. Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, and Aoraki/Mount Cook Village lie within the park. The area was gazetted as a national park in October 1953 and consists of reserves that were established as early as 1887 to protect the area's significant vegetation and landscape.

Even though most of the park is alpine terrain, it is easily accessible. The only road access into Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is via State Highway 80, which starts near Twizel, at 65 kilometres distance the closest town to the park, and leads directly to Mount Cook Village, where the road ends. The village is situated within the park, however, it consists only of a hotel and motels, as well as housing and amenities for the staff of the hotel and motels and other support personnel. The park stretches for about 60 kilometres along the southwest-northeast direction of the Southern Alps, covering 722 km2 on the southeastern side of the main spine of the Alps.

The valleys of the Tasman, Hooker, and Godley glaciers are the only entrances into this alpine territory that lie below 1,000 m. Glaciers cover 40% of the park area, notably the Tasman Glacier in the Tasman Valley east of Aoraki / Mount Cook. Eight of the twelve largest glaciers in New Zealand lie within Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, all of which terminate at proglacial lakes formed in recent decades due to a sustained period of shrinking.

This post is part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

BUTTERFLY GINGER

Hedychium is a genus of flowering plants in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, native to lightly wooded habitats in Asia. There are approximately 70-80 known species, native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.), southern China, the Himalayas and Madagascar. Some species have become widely naturalised in other lands (South Africa, South America, Central America, the West Indies, and many of the islands of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans) and considered invasive in some places.

The genus name Hedychium is derived from two ancient Greek words, hedys meaning "sweet" and chion meaning "snow". This refers to the fragrant white flower of the type species H. coronarium. Common names include garland flower, ginger lily, and kahili ginger. Members of the genus Hedychium are rhizomatous perennials, commonly growing 120–180 cm tall. Some species are cultivated for their exotic foliage and fragrant spikes of flowers in shades of white, yellow and orange. Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which 'Tara' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. 

Hedychium greenii (shown here) is a small to medium sized ginger, usually growing only 1 metre tall, but sometimes up to 1.6 m, if grown in optimal conditions. The foliage is very attractive, reddish-purple stems and undersides of leaves and dark green on the upper sides of the leaves. The flowers are bright red but the flower heads are smaller than many other Hedychiums. Its bright colour and flower shape have given it the common name "red butterfly ginger".

Hedychium greenii is unique among butterfly gingers by producing prolific small plantlets from the flower heads. You can pull off these plantlets after they mature a bit and stick them in the soil about 2 cm, and they will root readily forming new plants. This makes them easy to propagate, and it is a very good thing. Hedychium greenii requires a little more shade than other Hedychium species. It has a tendency to dry out in much sun, unless regularly watered. Its native habitat is moist, even marshy ground, and it should be kept very moist for best flowering. Hardiness ratings all the way from zone 7 to zone 9.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

RUBBISH

Rubbish is any waste material; refuse or litter and unfortunately, it is a huge problem on our planet right now as the population increases and as our society has transformed into a "single-use and throw away" society. We are the only creatures in the history of our planet that creates rubbish that is not readily returned to our environment. In fact it, our rubbish actually harms our environment, affecting both the plants and animals that live there, and us.

Rubbish causes three main types of pollution: Air pollution, Water pollution and Land pollution. We send more and more rubbish "away" to landfill every year. Unfortunately, there is no "away", everything ends up somewhere and we are all responsible. And the bad news is that just about everything we do can cause pollution. The good news is that in most cases, there are relatively easy ways to reduce or even stop the pollution.

The three R’s – REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE – all help to cut down on the amount of rubbish we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy. Plus, the three R’s save land and money communities must use to dispose of waste in landfills. Siting a new landfill has become difficult and more expensive due to environmental regulations and public opposition.

We should also add a fourth R to this: REFUSE! Refuse to buy items that are non-recyclable, harmful to the environment, or made by manufacturers who are using methods that are harmful to the environment.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Monday, 6 May 2019

ADELAIDE, SA

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is located north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf of St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges that surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km from the coast to the foothills, and 90 km from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely settled British province in Australia.

Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide’s founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens in the area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light’s design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parkland. Early Adelaide was shaped by religious freedom and a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties, which led to the nickname “City of Churches”.

As South Australia’s seat of government and commercial centre, Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city centre along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area.

Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food, wine and culture, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors. It ranks highly in terms of liveability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist's World’s Most Liveable Cities index in 2010 and being ranked the most liveable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia in 2011 and again in 2012.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.






FESTIVE MAY

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

AT PRESTON MARKET

Preston Market is the second largest market in Melbourne selling fresh produce, clothing and homewares with a variety of restaurants and food stalls; it attracts over 80,000 visitors per week. Construction on the Preston Market began in October 1969 when Preston Mayor W. K. Larkins drove home the first stake in the site of the former Broadhurst Tannery. The original investment in the site was $2 million.

The market opened in 1970 and by 1976 the market had grown to include 46 green grocers, 15 delicatessens, 4 fish shops, 4 poultry shops, 19 butchers and a variety of small goods shops including toys, clothes, carpets, plants, and sporting goods. In 2019 the market has grown even more and is still going strong despite threats to oust the merchants and redevelop the site into residential apartment buildings.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.




Thursday, 2 May 2019

CAMPANULA

Campanula is one of several genera in the family Campanulaceae with the common name bellflower. It takes both its common and its scientific name from its bell-shaped flowers —campanula is Latin for "little bell". The genus includes over 500 species and several subspecies, distributed across the temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest diversity in the Mediterranean region east to the Caucasus. 

Campanula persicifolia (peach-leaved bellflower, shown here) is a herbaceous perennial growing to 1 m. Its flowers are cup-shaped and can be either lilac-blue or white. Its foliage is narrow and glossy with a bright green appearance. It is common in the Alps and other mountain ranges in Europe. It grows at lower altitudes in the north, and higher up further south, passing 1,500 m in Provence. Normally it flowers in June; a dry summer may reduce or inhibit its flowering. Despite this it can flower as late as September in a cold year.

The natural habitat of this plant is broad-leaved forests, woodland margins, rocky outcrops in broad-leaved woods, meadows and banks. The stem is usually unbranched, erect and slightly angular. The basal leaves are short stalked and narrowly spatulate and usually wither before flowering time. The upper leaves are unstalked, lanceolate, almost linear with rounded teeth on the margins.

The inflorescence is a few-flowered terminal raceme or there may be a single flower. The calyx is fused with five narrow lobes, eventually spreading. The corolla is five-lobed, 30 to 50 mm long with five violet-blue (or occasionally white) fused petals. The corolla lobes are less long than they are wide. There are five stamens and a pistil formed from three fused carpels. The fruit is a strongly-veined conical capsule. In cultivation numerous varieties and cultivars have been developed in a range of colours including white, blue, pink and purple. It is a common, well-loved and rewarding garden plant.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

QUARTZ

 Quartz is a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall chemical formula of SiO2. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in Earth's continental crust, behind feldspar.

Quartz crystals are chiral, and exist in two forms, the normal α-quartz and the high-temperature β-quartz. The transformation from α-quartz to β-quartz takes place abruptly at 573 °C (846 K). Since the transformation is accompanied by a significant change in volume, it can easily induce fracturing of ceramics or rocks passing through this temperature limit.

There are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are semi-precious gemstones. Since antiquity, varieties of quartz have been the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewellery and hardstone carvings, especially in Eurasia.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.