BUY FOXGLOVE TREE SEEDS


Foxglove tree - Paulownia tomentosa

The Foxglove tree - Paulownia tomentosa, is amongst the grandest of all ornamental flowering trees. And while it can be a difficult plant to source, foxglove tree seeds are now for sale at the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop.

Foxglove tree seedlings
It is a hardy deciduous tree with an open rounded habit. The brown-felted flower buds are conspicuous throughout the winter but in exposed gardens may be damaged by late frosts. The foxglove-like blooms (hence the common name) are held in erect panicles, but will not form until the trees has established.

Sow foxglove seeds in a large modular seed tray containing, in equal part by volume, fine grade moss peat and horticultural sand in a cold frame in March and April. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, carefully 'pop' them out of their modules and without disturbing the rootball pot them on into 3 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 1'.

Once the root system has established in the pots they can be hardened off before being set out into a nursery bed and grown on for a further 2-3 years. When ready, plant your foxglove tree in a sunny sheltered position in a deep, well-drained, loamy soil.


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BUY FOXGLOVE TREE SEEDS
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THE FOXGLOVE TREE

HOW TO TAKE CUTTINGS OF WISTERIA

Mature wisteria


If you take a look at the wisteria on display for sale in any garden center you will see that the selected cultivars being offered are actually grafted at the base to a suitable rootstock - usually Wisteria sinensis. While grafting wisteria may be the preferred method of propagation for the commercial growers, wisteria can also be propagated by seed, cuttings, and even layering in the case of Wisteria sinensis.

Wisteria cutting - http://www.bananas.org/
Using a sharp, sterilized blade, take 3-6 inch heel or node cuttings from the base of current season's wood in August. Each cutting should have at least two sets of leaves.

Remove all flower buds and any leaves from the lower half of the cutting, then dip the rooting end of the cutting into rooting hormone powder. Using a dibber, insert the cuttings into a sandy peat mix or a good quality seed compost, either in a large propagating frame, a mist propagator, or a large heated propagator. All of which will need to be in a bright position, but one which is protected from direct sunlight. Ideally, provide a basal heat of between 16-18 degrees Celsius.

Maintain high humidity and check the compost regularly, watering when the surface is dry to the touch. The cuttings should be rooted in approximately four to six weeks.

Once rooted, carefully lift the wisteria cuttings for potting into 5-6 inch pots filled with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 2'. Without damaging the roots, add a supporting cane and place them back into their frame. Once established they can be hardened off before plunging outside until they are ready to be planted into their final position.

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HOW TO GROW YUCCA GLORIOSA 'VARIEGATA'

Mature Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata'
Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' - http://blog.travelmarx.com/
WANT TO BUY HARDY EXOTIC PLANT SEEDS? THEN CLICK HERE FOR THE 'SEEDS OF EADEN' SEED SHOP

Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' is a slow-growing, ornamental, flowering shrub and arguably the most attractive of all the selected cultivars within the genus. It is an evergreen species and despite originating from the subtropical climates of coastal Southeastern United States it has proven capable of surviving temperatures down to an impressive -9 degrees Celsius. In fact there is anecdotal evidence that Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' can tolerate temperatures as low as beyond -18 degrees Celsius although there was no mention of its condition once the freezing weather had passed.

Botanical illustration of Yucca gloriosa
Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata'  illustration 1810
In its natural habitat, Yucca gloriosa can be found growing among the sand dunes along the coast and on barrier islands. Of course, the successful garden cultivation of an non-indigenous plant species involves nothing more than replicating the plant's native environment as best as you can.

For northern European climates this can be achieved by planting Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' in full sun. It will tolerate light shade, but growth will be considerably slower and a looser, untidier habit will develop. Furthermore, the highly ornamental blooms are unlikely to be produced.

In colder, temperate climates it would be prudent to provide a sheltered position against the protection of a south-facing wall. Drainage is particularly important for most yucca species, and as you would expect from its native habitat, Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' will perform best in a free-draining sandy, or chalky soil. That being said, it has proven to be a robust cultivar and will grow happily in most garden soils.

Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' white flowers
Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' 
Try to avoid planting in heavy or clay soils and in particularly any soils which are prone to waterlogging. If ideal conditions are not available, improve the soil by digging plenty of organic compost of horticultural grade grit before planting.

In heavy soils or soils prone to waterlogging create a mound proud of the soil surface and plant the yucca in that. Soil acidity or alkalinity is of no real concern unless it is moving towards the extreme.

Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' received both the First Class Certificate in 1883 and the Award of Garden Merit in 1984 from the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society.

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HOW TO GROW YUCCA ELEPHANTIPES
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HOW TO GROW WISTERIA FROM SEED

Mature wisteria - http://cdn.earthporm.com/wp-content/

The genus Wisteria contains arguably the most beautiful of all hardy, ornamental climbing plants. Native to the Eastern United States, China, Korea, and Japan, they are valued for their spectacular blooms and often are used to decorate walls, fences, arches, pergolas and trees.

Wisteria seeds
While wisteria are usually propagated commercially using hardwood or softwood cuttings, they are also easily grown from seed. The best time for sowing wisteria seed is during March. Be aware though that specimens grown from seed can take many years before they are mature enough to bloom.

You can collect your own seeds by picking seed pods in the autumn and keeping them in a brown bag. Leave them in a dry, frost-free position until the pods burst. The seeds can be left to dry until they are required. Before sowing consider speeding up germination by nicking the seeds first and soaking them in warm water for 24 hours before planting.

Wisteria seedlings - http://bonsaibeginnings.blogspot.co.uk/
Using a large modular seed tray sow the seeds at a rate of one seed per module. Sow more seeds than you require as some seeds-grown specimens will produce poor flower spike formation and flower colour.

Press the seeds into the compost but do not bury them as they require the presence of light to help initiate germination. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite or horticultural grade grit and gently water in.

Place the tray inside a heated propagator at a temperature of between 10-13 degrees Celsius. Alternatively seal inside a clear plastic bag. Place on a warm bright windowsill, but one which does not receive direct light. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Once germinated remove them from the propagator or polythene bag, but continue to grow them on under protected conditions until the roots have established in their modules. Pot on into 3 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 1', and add a small supporting cane without damaging the new roots. Wisteria are fast-growing and are likely to need potting on again in June or July into 5 inch pots. Harden them off for a week or so before plunging them into a nursery bed until they are ready to be planted into their final position.

Wisteria will cope poor-quality soils, but will perform far better in fertile, moist, well-drained soils in a sunny position.

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TRACHELOSPERMUM JASMINOIDES

HOW TO GROW THE WALNUT TREE

Juglans regia -https://selectree.calpoly.edu


Walnut trees - Juglans species, are a group of 21 species old deciduous trees native to southeast Europe, southeast Asia and southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina. The two most commercially important species are Juglans regia (grown for its timber and edible nuts), and Juglans nigra (grown mainly for its timber). Both of these species have similar cultivation requirements and are widely grown in temperate climates.

Persian walnut - http://www.agroatlas.ru/
When planting walnut trees make sure that they are away from frost pockets and located at least 60 feet from any sensitive plants or garden areas. Black walnut trees will do particularly well in a moist, well-drained soil, or on a moist hillside or an upland site. They also tolerate occasional dry spells, and will accept any soil pH from moderately acidic to moderately alkaline.

They are a light -demanding plants, so if you are planting walnuts as garden trees, space them about 60-70 feet apart so their crowns can develop a majestic spread as they mature. However, if you're planting black walnuts for their valuable wood, plant them approximately 30 feet apart so their trunks will grow long and straight.

Where practical, mulch annually with well-rotted farm manure or garden compost in the spring for the first few years. Once they are established mulching will not longer be necessary.

Growing walnuts from seed

If you choose to start your walnut tree from a seed, you will want to either plant your seeds where you want your final tree, or transplant it while very small. Walnuts do not do well at all in containers because of deep tap roots and don’t handle transplanting.

 You can plant with or without the husk still on, though taking the husk off will help the plant germinate. Plant your nuts in the fall, and protect them from squirrels. They need a period of cold before they will sprout. It only needs to be about 3 inches under the soil. They should sprout in 4 to 5 months, or possibly not until the following year.

Gather the nuts as they fall from a tree in your area, and remove the husks. Place half a dozen nuts several inches apart in a cluster, four or five inches deep. If you have squirrels, lay a piece of hardware cloth over the planting spot and pin it to the ground with v-shaped wires. Lay a mulch of straw or leaves over the hardware cloth to reduce the freeze/thaw cycles. Mark the site so you can find it again. After autumn planting and a session of damp, cold weather, the walnut seeds will germinate in the spring. Remove the mulch and hardware cloth from the planting spot in late winter, and mark the spot clearly so you don't accidentally mow over it!

After the baby trees have grown for a few months, choose the best one and eliminate the others. caring for your walnut tree.

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Paulownia tomentosa - 100 seeds
WHAT IS A WALNUT?

WHAT IS A WALNUT?

Walnuts - http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/


Walnuts are rounded, single-seeded stone fruits of the walnut tree. It is enclosed in a green, leathery, fleshy husk, but this husk is inedible. After harvest, the removal of the husk reveals the wrinkly walnut shell, which is in two halves. This shell is hard and encloses the kernel, which is also made up of two halves separated by a partition.

Split walnut fruit
Walnut seeds are high density source of nutrients, particularly proteins and essential fatty acids. Like other tree nuts, walnuts must be processed and stored properly. Worryingly, poor storage makes walnuts susceptible to insect and fungal mould infestations; the latter produces aflatoxin - a potent carcinogen. Mould infested walnut seed batch should not be screened then consumed - the entire batch should be discarded.

The seed kernels - commonly available as shelled walnuts - are enclosed in a brown seed coat which contains antioxidants. The antioxidants protect the oil-rich seed from atmospheric oxygen so preventing rancidity.

As mentioned previously there are two major varieties of walnuts grown for its seeds — the English walnut and the Black walnut. The Black walnut is of high flavour but due to its hard shell and poor hulling characteristics it is not grown commercially for nut production. The commercially produced walnut varieties are nearly all hybrids of the English walnut.

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HOW TO GROW BOUGAINVILLEA FROM SEED

How to grow Bougainvillea from seed - http://gnfeehan.blogspot.co.uk/






Bougainvillea is a genus of 18 species of shrubby, climbing deciduous plants native to South America. The true flowers are actually insignificant, however it is the brightly coloured, long-lasting bracts (modified or specialized leaf) which make bougainvillea such a popular garden and houseplant.

How to grow Bougainvillea from seed 
While bougainvilleas are most commonly propagated from cuttings, there is no reason why you can't grow them from seeds - just so long as you can get hold of a viable seed pod. If you are collecting your own seeds then you will find that large, mature specimens are likely to be more fruitful. True species will generally grow true to the parents, while cultivated forms will not and are generally believed to be sterile.

You will find the seeds in a pod, inside the bract. Each pod is in three sections, each one containing a plump, and usually brown seed. Gently remove the seed from the pod. Undersized or shrivelled seeds can be discarded.

Fill 3 inch pots with an ericaceous, well-drained seed compost. Alternatively produce your own by mixing equal parts of fine-graded peat moss and perlite. Place one seed on the surface of the compost and press in to help secure it in place and to provide good contact with the compost. Top the compost with a thin layer of horticultural grit, vermiculite or perlite and then either water from the base or gently water from the top.

How to grow Bougainvillea from seed 
Place the seeds in a heated propagator at a temperature of approximately 25 degrees Celsius. Alternatively seal the pots inside a clear polythene bag. Place the pots or propagator on a warm, bright windowsill, but once which does not receive direct sun during the warmest part of the day. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but avoid waterlogging.

You can expect the seedlings to emerge between 2-3 weeks, however bougainvillea seeds are known for their irregular germination so don't give up on them until week 5. Once germinated, remove the pots from the propagator or bag but continue to grow them in their warm, bright position.

Bougainvillea roots are notoriously fragile and so do not pot on until the root system has fully established in the pot. Once established they can be potted on into 2 litre pots containing a good quality ericaceous compost. Avoid disturbing the roots when potting on.

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HOW TO GROW LAVENDER



Lavender are one of the most popular of all hardy, evergreen flowering shrubs and as such have multiple selected cultivars. So well do they perform under garden conditions that many of them have received Award of Merit (AM) and Award of Garden Merit (AGM) accolades from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Image credit - http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/
Native to the Mediterranean region, West Asia, India and Northeast Africa, it is a favorite for dwarf hedges, associating well with stonework or rose beds and as a component of blue or grey borders. They have fragrant, ornamental foliage, long lasting blooms and will happily tolerate poor soils and neglect. However poor cultivation can result in woody and untidy specimens, and if planted in an unfavorable position individual plants can fail.

Lavenders are generally best planted between April and May in any well-drained garden soil. However avoid heavy or clay soils and particularly those prone to waterlogging. If suitable soils are all that are available add organic matter and gravel to improve the drainage and plant on a mound. Do not disturb the root system when planting. To maintain compact habit, and strong flowering all lavenders must be planted in a position that receives full sun for as much of the day as possible. In cooler, temperate regions be aware that lavenders can easily become damaged are cold, wet conditions.

When planting lavender as hedging pants provide a distance of between 9-12 inches apart. In formal, cloud-like hedges can be planted 2-3 ft apart. In poor draining soils, plant on a ridge to keep the base of the plants out of wet soil.

Pruning

Lavenders will need to be pruned every year to keep them compact. Remove spent flower stems in late summer. Maintain compact growth by trim back the foliage from August to September. Straggly specimens can be pruned back hard in late March or April before the new growth starts. This will encourage bushy growth and new shoots from the base.

Established lavender hedges can be clipped to shape from March to April also.

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MEERKAT FACTS



Commonly known as the 'Suricat', the meerkat - Suricata suricatta is a small carnivorous mammal native to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. They are a very social animal, living in large colonies, and a popular character choice for wildlife documentaries. To find out more, check out our following list of meerkat facts.

1. According to African popular belief, the meerkat is also known as the sun angel, as it protects villages from the moon devil or the werewolf which is believed to attack stray cattle or lone tribesmen.

2. The word 'meerkat' is Dutch for 'lake cat', but the meerkat is not in the cat family, and neither are they attracted to lakes.

3. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often contains about 20-30 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members.

4. In captivity, meerkats have an average lifespan of 12–14 years, but only about half this in the wild.

5. Meerkats are immune to certain types of venom, including the very strong venom of the scorpions, unlike humans. That being said, meerkats have sometimes been known to die of snakebite wounds in confrontations with puff adders and Cape cobras.

6. Meerkats are primarily insectivores, but will also eat other animals. Depending on availability, meerkats are known to prey on lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes, plants and fungi, and (when they can catch them) small birds.

7. Meerkats are burrowing animals, living in large underground networks which they leave only during the day. Their eyes have a clear protective membrane that shields them from dirt while digging. Their ears also close tightly to keep dirt out. Each network can have as many as 15 entrance and exit holes and can reach up to 6.5 feet deep. One or more meerkats stand sentry, to warn others of approaching dangers.


Image credit - http://www.oxfordscientificfilms.tv/
8. Meerkats have a long slender body and stand at only 12 inches tall.  The coat is usually peppered gray, tan, or brown with silver, and they have short parallel stripes across their backs, extending from the base of the tail to the shoulders Dark patches around their eyes help to reduce the glare of the sun.

9. Meerkats are preyed on by martial eagles, tawny eagles and jackals. Young meerkats are so fearful of predatory birds that even airplanes will send them diving for cover.

10. The meerkat is a member of the mongoose family, but is the only species within the genus Suricata. It is also the only member of the mongoose family which doesn't have a bushy tail.

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HOW TO CONTROL CUCKOO SPIT ON LAVENDER

How to control cuckoo spit on lavender

Lavender plants are known for being tough, reliable and able to thrive in both poor soils and on neglect. However there is one affliction they seem to suffer from every year like clockwork. From May to July, the unsightly bubble nests of the froghopper nymphs appear, more commonly known as cuckoo spit.

Froghopper nymphs
Cuckoo spit is a white frothy liquid secreted by the nymphs to protect themselves against predators and to prevent their soft bodies from drying out in warm, dry weather.

Under the protection of the cuckoo spit, the nymph will feed on the soft plant tissues at the shoot tip. Damaged caused by froghopper nymphs feeding can cause the new growth to become distorted, however as this is replaced the natural look of the plant will reappear.

While you can control froghopper nymphs with systemic insecticides it isn't really necessary. As the bubble nests are conspicuous against the lavenders foliage, it is easy to identify where each nymph is hiding and can be dealt with in a more organic fashion.

Adult froghopper
If there are only a few they can be wiped off by hand. The nymphs will quickly perish without the protection of their bubble nest. Alternatively, they can be dislodged from your lavender plant with a jet of water from a garden hose.

The adult froghopper, which in the United Kingdom is likely to be the meadow froghopper - Philaenus spumarius, which also feeds on plant sap using specialised, sucking mouthparts

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HOW TO GROW YUCCA PLANTS


The genus Yucca comprises of approximately 40-50 species of hardy and tender evergreen shrubs and small trees. Native to the arid regions of the Americas and the Caribbean, they are long-lived and thrive in seaside gardens, flowering at their best during hot dry summers. They have a clear architectural habit, with narrow, usually rigid, strap-like leaves. The blooms emerge on tall racemes or panicles. The drooping flowers are bell-shaped, lily-like and help to create a subtropical effect in temperate gardens.

Of all the species so far recorded only a handful are hardy enough to grow outside in countries which experience freezing temperatures, namely:

Yucca filamentosa
Yucca flaccida 
Yucca gloriosa
Yucca recurvifolia

The hardy species can be planted outside in April or October in any ordinary, well drained garden soil and preferably in a sheltered position that receives sunlight throughout most of the day. They will fare even in poor, sandy soils. Be aware that they can be killed by excessive watering during their summer dormant phase.

Yucca species that are not frost hardy can only be grown outside in warm-temperate, Mediterranean climates or warmer. As a rule they will tolerate a range of conditions, so long as they are grown in full sun, and in a well-drained soil.

Tender species can be grown in 6 - 10 inch pots using a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 2 or 3'. Potting on to larger pots is usually done in spring or early summer. Maintain a minimum overnight temperature of 13-16 degrees Celsius. They can be placed outside in a sunny position once the risk of late frosts have passed. However they will need to be hardened off first and protected from scorching during the hottest times of the year.

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YUCCA ELEPHANTIPES
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HOW TO GROW RHUBARB FROM SEED


In medieval Europe, rhubarb was a rare luxury. In fact, being several times the price of other valuable herbs and spices such as cinnamon, opium, and saffron, only the very rich could afford to indulge in its unique, tart flavour.

Image credit - http://s3.amazonaws.com/plantvillage/
Today things have changed and the rhubarb has fallen out of favour. To make matters worse, shop bought rhubarb stalks are generally undersized, poorly flavoured and limp-looking. Of course this is not the rhubarb plants fault, because (as anyone who has eaten freshly grown and cooked rhubarb would know) rhubarb is genuinely a king amongst temperate fruit. I do realise that rhubarb is not a botanical fruit.

While rhubarb is usually sold as pot-grown stock in the spring, there is nothing stopping you from growing your own plants from seed. Of course the various rhubarb cultivars will not grow true to the parent plants, but there are a small number of specialist varieties which will. The most popular being Rhubarb 'Glaskins Perpetual'.

Prepare the soil in advance over the autumn or winter by digging in plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost. Remove all weeds, especially perennial weeds.

Using a large modular seed tray, or 3 inch pots, fill with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Sow rhubarb seeds individually at a rate of one seed per pot, or module, at a depth of ¼ inch anytime from March to April. Gently water in the place the tray or pots inside a heated a propagator at a temperature of between 20-25 degrees Celsius. Alternatively seal inside a clear polythene bag and leave on a warm bright windowsill. Germination will usually take between 21- 40 days. Keep the soil damp but avoid waterlogging.

Image credit - https://thehandygardener.files.wordpress.com/
Once the seedlings have emerged, remove them from the propagator or bag. Leave them where they are a week or so before moving them outside to a cold frame. Once the root systems have established they can be hardened off before planting out in late spring. If late frosts are forecasted, wait until these have passed before planting. Transplant rhubarb carefully, disturb the roots as little as possible, allowing 3ft between each plant.

Allow to grow for its first full year without harvesting so as to to allow the plant to properly established. Come the following spring, remove the emerging flower heads as they appear as these will divert energy away from producing further leaves

Harvest from the second year onwards removing stems from April to June.

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WHAT IS A GROUND SLOTH?



Ground sloths are a diverse group of extinct large bodied mammals, in the mammalian superorder Xenarthra.

Their most recent survivors lived in the Antilles, where it is believed they may have survived as recently as 1550 BC.

However ground sloths have been extinct on the mainland of North and South America for 10,000 years or more.

The term 'ground sloth' is used as a reference for all extinct sloths because of the large size of the earliest forms discovered, as opposed to the still surviving 'tree sloths'. In reality this is a historical convention and does not imply that all extinct sloths were strictly terrestrial in nature.

Why did ground sloths die out

Researchers at the University of Florida reported in 2005 that the Ground Sloth may have died out as a result of human predation, rather than climate change.

Researcher David Steadman reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that evidence of the existence several species of giant sloth has been found in the West Indian islands of Cuba and Hispaniola as recently as 4,400 years ago, about the time of the first human occupation of the area.

Nineteen different species of sloths once roamed the Americas, but they were previously thought to have died out approximately 11,000 years ago. David Steadman argues that the coincidence of timing is strong circumstantial evidence that while climate change may have decimated the population, human predation assisted the extinction of ground sloth in the Americas.

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CAN FLYING SQUIRRELS REALLY FLY?



Contrary to what you might think there is more than one flying squirrel. In fact there are 15 genera of flying squirrels which host approximately 44 species. The largest of which being the woolly flying squirrel -Eupetaurus cinereus, a native to Pakistani controlled Kashmir.

Related to our more commonly seen tree squirrels, flying squirrels are not capable of powered flight like birds or bats. Instead, they glide between trees using a specialised skin membrane that are connected between their front and hind limbs.

They are capable of obtaining lift within the course of these flights, and are able to reach distances as far as 300 ft! The direction and speed of the animal in mid-air is varied by changing the positions of its two arms and legs. This is largely controlled by small cartilaginous wrist bones.

This changes the tautness of the skin membrane - known as the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle.

It has a fluffy tail that stabilizes in flight. The tail also acts as an adjunct aerofoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk.

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