Students of Ethnobotany: The ‘roots’ of Ginger

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Antlers? Photo credit Melissa Tong

This healthy edition of Students of Ethnobotany comes from the spicy Melissa Tong.

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Students of Ethnobotany: Bouquet of Green

800px-Salal_(Gaultheria_shallon)_Leaf_and_FlowersThis ornamental edition of Students of Ethnobotany comes from the impressive Thomas M.

Odds are if you’ve lived on the west (aka wet) coast and ever done some adventuring in the fantastic plethora of nature that thrives here you will have come across some salal.

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Students of Ethnobotany: Life is Sweet

600px-Bunter_Teller_(27_Stücke)This sugary edition of Students of Ethnobotany is brought to us by the sweet Bryan Q.

In most parts of the world, sugar, the sweet kick to every meal, has been an important part of the human diet. Apart from making human food palatable, it also provides energy. However, the health risk of diabetes has been an ongoing concern throughout the world. Increasing the consumption of sugar-sweeted foods can cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous to many known and unknown diabetic patients. Can this epidemic be solved with our ongoing desire for tasty candy, yummy ice-cream, and 1000+ flavors of cake?

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Students of Ethnobotany: Breath of the Undead

GarlicThis garlicy edition of Students of Ethnobotany comes to us from the healthy Alison V.

Garlic has been used by humans for centuries, possibly best known in western culture as a deterrent to ward off attention from less than friendly vampires. It is also used extensively in cooking, where many people may be familiar with it. According to no-on but myself, its use in cooking probably arose as a covert way to detect whether the new next door neighbours are going to come suck your blood in your sleep.

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Students of Ethnobotany: Botanical gold

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Figure 1: Saffron crocus. Photographer: Gut Gimritz (Germany) from Wikimedia Commons

This flavorful edition of Students of Ethnobotany comes from the glittering Fiona Thompson.

At between $1,000 and $10,000 USD per kilo, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Why is it that the stigma of this small flower is worth (one fifth) its weight in gold?

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Students of Ethnobotany: World’s Smallest Flower

This miniscule edition of Students of Ethnobotany comes from the keen-eyed Jonathan Heinz.

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Wolffia arrhiza. Image by Christian Fischer from Wikimedia Commons.

Wolffia arrhiza is a species of flowering plant from the Araceae family. What makes this plant somewhat unique among its peers is its exceptionally small size. The Wolffia genus includes many of the smallest flowering plants on earth, being about the size of a pin head (Maheshwari and Chauhan).

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