Tag Archives: botany

Caribbean Pineapples (03/22)

black_jamaican_pineappleFor many years Eleuthra (Bahama) was a major center for pineapple production. It has a number of large pineapple plantations and because the pineapple are allowed to ripen slowly without chemical assistance they’re extremely sweet.

Pineapples have been cultivated in the Caribbean for thousands of years. Scientists have reached that conclusion because the Caribbean pineapple no longer produces seeds, and that the fruit has been farmed by man for so long that it no longer feels responsible for its own reproduction.

Burt Wolf

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Rats & Bamboo (03/05)

When I learned about the phenomena which you are about to read about  – I was astounded.

No matter how many rats the farmers of Mizoram kill, dump into piles and then set alight, it seems there are always more of the rodents to take their place.

In an unlikely cycle which takes place every 48 years, the north-east Indian state has been struck with food shortages and hardship after the flowering of a particular species of bamboo which provides an easy and ready source of food for rats.

The remarkable plant bringing misery and despair to Mizoram, sandwiched between Burma in the east and south and Bangladesh in the west, is muli bamboo (Melocanna baccifera) which flowers only twice every century. The state is covered with bamboo forests and every time the muli flowers, rats feed on its seeds and their population soars. Some experts even believe the seeds increase the rats’ fertility.

In the local Mizo language, the term for this cyclical phenomenon is mautam, and oral histories tell of mautam famines in both 1911 and 1862, when the flowering took place. In 1958-59, about 100 people starved to death as a result. Those deaths and the subsequent public anger also helped to fuel a 20-year war between Mizoram separatists and the federal government. The current state administration, headed by a former guerrilla leader, has been preparing for the next mautam for several years.

from Independent World

Fruit from Muli Bamboo

Fruit from Muli Bamboo (& a dead rat)

See view times for NOVA special here.

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Word of the Day (01/20)

I think it’s safe to say that I do at least (or at least attempt to) do one crossword a day. It can be enjoyable and relaxing, but other times I haven’t the faintest idea on what they want from me. For instance, how am I supposed to know what is ‘not decumbent’ when I don’t even know what decumbent is?

So to help you (and me) in future crosswords and/or life here is the definition:

decumbent
adjective Botany
(of a plant or part of a plant) lying along the ground or along a surface, with the extremity curving upward.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from Latin decumbent- ‘lying down,’ from the verb decumbere, based on de- ‘down’ + a verb related to cubare ‘to lie.’

decumbent

(by the way, the answer to this crossword clue was – erect) Use that tid bit any which way you please.

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