Plants

Maize

Maize Many myths surround the first Thanksgiving celebration in the United States. The gathering most commonly cited as the inaugural festival happened in October 1621. For three days, 53 Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony dined with 90 Wampanoags to revel in gratitude for a bountiful harvest. For many people, today’s traditional Thanksgiving meal centers around items …

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Plants Can Hear

Plants Can Hear As humans, we are experts at anthropomorphology. We easily identify aspects in other organisms that match our own. For example, we understand the eyes of animals, which appear largely similar to our peepers, provide the critters with sight. In art, a long tradition of attributing human traits to non-human entities has provided …

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It’s All Mustard

It’s All Mustard   Today, we connotatively view mustard as a yellow condiment we might slather on sandwiches. It’s easy to forget that delicious spread comes from the seeds of plants known as mustards. In the grand genealogical tree, mustard plants fall into the Brassicaceae family. This demarcation not only includes mustards but also cabbages …

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Poseidon’s Ribbon Weed: The World’s Largest Plant

Poseidon’s Ribbon Weed: The World’s Largest Plant On the western flank of Australia, 500 miles north of Perth, the ocean meets the continent in a jagged puzzle piece that resembles two disembodied legs. This spot is known as Shark Bay. UNESCO declared Shark Bay a World Heritage Site in 1991. They cited the bay’s enormous …

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Miracle Fruit

Miracle Fruit In 1725, French explorer, cartographer, navigator, and slave-ship captain, Chevalier des Marchais noticed something incredible as he journeyed through West Africa. In addition to charting the continent, des Marchais also took a keen interest in the native flora of the region. He noticed the Indigenous people rummaging through forest undergrowth for a particular …

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The Squirting Cucumber

The Squirting Cucumber We’ll journey today into the plant world. And I know I will need to ask a few of you to remove your minds from the gutter. Ecballium elaterium is the lone species of its genus and a member of the gourd family. Native to Europe, northern Africa, and parts of Asia, this …

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The Ripening of the Banana

The Ripening of the Banana You’re in a supermarket. As you sashay through the produce department, you decide to procure some fresh fruit. Pondering which sweet foodstuff to take home, the yellow catches your eye. Ah, yes. Bananas. You love bananas. They’re just the right amount of ripe, too. Mostly yellow with a hint of …

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Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce In 1620, Pilgrims in Massachusetts celebrated a bountiful harvest with the Wampanoags, who had nourished them through a brutal winter the previous year. Pilgrim Chuck Norris provided cranberry sauce, which became a staple at Thanksgiving meals henceforth. Only one portion of the preceding paragraph is a fact. Much of what we grow up …

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