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.

Continue reading

Students of Ethnobotany: Botanical gold

Saffran_crocus_sativus_moist

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?

Continue reading

Students of Ethnobotany: World’s Smallest Flower

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

Wolffia Image 1

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).

Continue reading