Sunday, April 26, 2020

Cinnamon and Cassia, A Tangled Story

Cinnamon is a spice that has been valued for millennia. It is made from the inner bark of trees in the genus Cinnamomum (sound it out, it is fun to say) in the laurel family, Lauraceae, native to southeastern Asia. The first known records are from China, about 2800 BCE. Cinnamon has been imported to Europe since Egyptian times.
Cinnamomum, the tree that produces cinnamon
Cinnamomum, source of cinnamon. New leaves are red.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Names and Confusions

Last month, researching cucumbers (Cucumis sativa), I discovered that recent studies show that they were unknown in Europe before the 1300s. Originally from northern India, cucumbers were cultivated in southern Asia long ago but stayed there. Detaileded studies of cucumber reports from Europe before 1300, published in 2007-2009 by Janick, Paris, and Parrish, found the fruits drawn or described in Europe were actually Cucumis melo, melons, if not more distant relatives (Bryonia, Ecballium and others).

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Plant Story--Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule

Every spring I notice henbit in my neighborhood, one of the early flowers of spring. It grows as a weed, slipping into the corners of lawns or the edges of driveways.
henbit, Lamium amplexicaule
henbit, Lamium amplexicaule 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

More Plant Possibilities

Last week I posted pictures of ambitious plant projects, like bonsai and topiary (link), that one could do while working from home or staying in. Here are some more:

flowers in pots  as butterfly

Arrange flower pots in designs, butterfly above, numerals below (it was New Year's):