Digestive bitters. Image by Laura E.
This easily digestible edition of Students of Ethnobotany is brought to us by Laura E.
When I was a kid, I really hated licorice. The taste just put me right off; I wouldn’t go near anything that resembled the sweet, bitter flavour. Lately, however, it is helping me to heal in a powerful way.
This edition of Students of Ethnobotany, by G. Loi, looks more deeply into the medicinal uses of our smelly friend, the ginkgo.
The ginkgo plant at the University of British Columbia. Picture taken in October 2013. Photo by G. Loi.
Which tree has no living relatives? Which tree was still standing after the Hiroshima atomic bomb in 1945? Which tree has awful smelling seeds that can enhance memory? The Ginkgo biloba, a plant native to China. My first experience with the ginkgo plant was when I was shelling the white seeds and picking out the fruit to make congee for my mother when she was sick. The slightly bitter and bland taste did not make much of an impression for me. It was not until much later, that I realized how the history and the uses of the ginkgo were so diverse and curious.
Do you buy this? Image created by someone else, but we’d rather not link to them…
This skeptical edition of Students of Ethnobotany comes to from the clear-eyed Sydney Beatty-Mills.
Procrastination tends to get sweeter as the days go by while studying for my final exams. Often times, this procrastination will involve perusing the web for the most frivolous and non-academic entertainment I can find; anywhere from Facebook to searching for fun things to do once exams are over. While perusing through fun Christmas recipes and how to knit cute socks online I have lately been bombarded with advertisements for a ‘miracle’ weight loss supplement that goes by the name “Garcinia Cambogia”.These sorts of promises come a dime a dozen but I thought I would humour my botanical curiosity and click on the link which presented a svelte women’s abdomen next to an odd looking squash-like green fruit with an off-white fleshy interior.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons by photo8.
Spice up your holidays with this warming Students of Ethnobotany post by Shannon Keefe.
Have you ever noticed the amount of memories people have about the holidays that are related to spices? For example, how the smell of scented candles, gingerbread houses, cinnamon cookies, or spiced baked apple crisp are related to recollection of the holidays. In addition, as much as we look forward to the holidays, many of us fear enjoying it too much, by overeating and therefore negatively affecting our health. All of these things are directly related to spices and how they are used in the holiday season.
This installment of the second round of Students of Ethnobotany gets to the heart of the peach palm, thanks to Marizulu.
Picture this: A man climbs avidly up a bare palm trunk strapped to a triangular wooden formation. He skilfully avoids the spines that threaten to injure him 20 meters above the ground and cautiously stretches to the neighbouring plant to reach the chontaduro raceme. (See this in the video below or here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yyr3q0qFzU at the 3 min mark.)
Mimosa pudica plant. Photo from Wikimedia Commons by H. Zell.
Round 2 of Students of Ethnobotany continues with this post, which is no shy wallflower, by Michael Bo Zhang.
I do not know about you but when it comes to plants I tend to think of them as immobile living organisms. They cannot move parts of their bodies or move around like most animals can. That is, I held that thought until I came across a little shrub called the shy plant, shame plant, or sensitive plant.
Foraged blackberries. Photo by Amy J.
This new series of Students of Ethnobotany: Round 2 starts off with a bang and a paradox – a plant that is both wonderfully useful and terribly invasive – thanks to the keen observations of human nature by Amy J.
When I first moved to Vancouver, I was thrilled to discover that blackberries grow wild along the sides of roads and on the edges of forests here.