I look down on a path in the Grove and see at my feet an unexplained cherry. I look up to see the leaves of a laurel tree. It is, I realize, a cherry laurel, not strictly speaking a laurel , but a member of the prunus family and therefore, in fact, related to plums and cherries. It has always seemed to me to be an uninteresting tree, with its monotonous sprays of shiny leaves, dark and cheerless, but I am glad to be able to put a name to it.
Among the facts to be learnt from the current BBC wild life series, Lost Land of the Volcano, made in an extinct crater in a remote part of the forests of New Guinea, is that there are 1 million known species of insect in the world's forests and an estimated 5 million species yet to be discovered.
And the least engaging species were the humans. In its preview of the programme The Guardian warned viewers about the background music; the over-dramatic voiceover should also have carried a health warning, too. Pity, because the creatures themselves were worth the viewers' effort.
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