In Christmas’s past we’ve explored almonds and marzipan, sugar and glace fruits, frankincense and myrrh, Christmas trees and the rather gothic interpretations of Santa and his flying reindeer. For this Christmas Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet, a rare celebration of economic botany, provides the botany of Christmas.
As a botanist working in a botanic garden I’m fortunate to have access to flowers year round with, as an example close to my office, the outrageous displays of aloes in Adelaide Botanic Garden beginning in mid-winter. Nevertheless Spring’s a time for celebration, not simply for the promise of warmer weather, but for the abundance of Spring flowers.Read more "… you start liking flowers"
While the drying racks at Marrawah Kelp Pty Ltd might qualify as a contemporary art installation, their purpose is commercial – here the cast kelp, washed up on local beaches, is collected, dried and prepared for NatraSol products utilised for stock and plant feed supplements.Read more "Last chance to see?"
The success of maize (or corn) cultivation since the Columbian Exchange is remarkable; Michael Pollan wryly observes that we are “processed corn, walking”.Read more "Greenspace: Children of the corn"
“Botanically, hops, Humulus lupulus, are exceptional. Hops are dioecious – with separate male and female plants; only the latter produce the catkins (‘hop cones’) that are utilised in brewing.”Read more "Greenspace: More Beer and Civilisation"
The miracle achieved by plants in transforming sunlight into life describes our past, present and future. Ultimately our future is dependent on the role of plants in food, climate and water security.Read more "Greenspace"
The generous support of Santos – and Federal and State governments – has enabled us to keep alive, and give new life to, what is now the last surviving Colonial Museum of Economic Botany in the world.Read more "All flesh is grass"