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A Wandering Botanist, I write and speak about plants, travel and history. All plants have stories, many of them entwined in human history. To get to this point, I earned my B.S. at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, my Ph. D. in Genetics from University of California, Berkeley, and was a professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I retired to northern Colorado where I garden and hike and blog about plants.
Dandelions, Taraxacum officinale (sunflower family, Asteraceae) are perhaps the most widely recognized U. S. weed. Huge amounts of money and time are spent killing dandelions. How the Dandelion got its Name No one knows why the scientific name is Taraxacum. In 1600 pharmacists called it Taraxacon, but whether that word is based on the Arabic words […]Read more »
We eat stalks of celery, raw and cooked (see Part 1), but the celery plant (Apium graveolens, parsley family, Apiaceae) is the source of three other foods: leaf celery, celery seed. and celeriac. Leaves of Celery Some celery, particularly in Asia, is raised for its leaves, not its stalks. Leaves of most celery plants are […]Read more »
According to kitchen folklore, you can lose weight eating celery because it takes more calories to chew and digest than it contains. Which gives you a clue that celery doesn’t get much respect. Celery is related to dill and carrots but unlike dill, where we eat the seeds and leaves or carrots where we eat […]Read more »
As noted in part 1, we eat only the leaf stems of rhubarb, not leaves, flowers, fruit or roots. Disclaimer: Rhubarb leaves are quite poisonous. They contain dangerous concentrations of oxalic acid compounds. In low concentrations, oxalic acid tastes good to people, but the concentration of oxalic acid compounds in rhubarb leaf blades is much […]Read more »
A pretty daisy relative with a distinctive spicy smell, feverfew (scientifically Tanacetum parthenium, sunflower family, Asteraceae) was a common folk remedy in Europe for more than 2000 years. Its name, feverfew, is based on the name the Romans used for it, febrifuge, which means fever-reducer. English speakers heard that and wrote feverfew. It is also […]Read more »