This is the 100th #AdventBotany blog and the fourth for Christmas day. The first Christmas blog featured the Star of Bethlehem, the second, Christmas Cactus, and the third, a tough and Christmas flowering heather. This is the first Christmas blog to feature an edible plant. This blog is a brief introduction to the potato, how to roast them, their varieties, where they are grown and a little on their morphology. Continue reading
Juniperus communis with cones
Juniperus communis is the most widespread of the juniper species. Juniperus is within the conifer family Cupressaceae. Whether as a small evergreen tree or a shrub, it is one of the most globally widespread woody plants. J. communis is cultivated in the horticulture trade as an ornamental, with its timber and other non-timber products collected mainly from the wild, which have a wide variety of human uses; some dating back to prehistoric times. Continue reading
Rosemary makes a tasty addition to many savoury dishes. My favourite is a rub of salt and crushed fresh rosemary leaves put on potatoes before roasting but it’s also lovely with lamb and even with citrus based desserts. Rosemary was probably introduced to the U.K. in Roman times and it is reported in Banckes’s herbal (1525) as a plant with a remarkable range of reported uses: “take the flowres and make powder therof and bynde it to the ryght arme in a lynen clothe, and it shall make the lyght and mery… Also take the flowres and put them in a chest amonge youre clothes or amonge bokes and moughtes shall not hurte them…. Also boyle the leves in whyte wyne and wasshe thy face therwith…thou shall have a fayre face. Also put the leves under thy beddes heed, and thou shalbe delyvered of all evyll dremes…. Also take the leves and put them into a vessel of wyne…yf thou sell that wyne, thou shall have good lucke and spede in the sale…. Also make the a box of the wood and smell to it and it shall preserne [preserve] thy youthe. Also put therof in thy doores or in thy howse and thou shalbe without daunger of Adders and other venymous serpentes. Also make the a barell therof and drynke thou of the drynke that standeth therin and thou nedes to fere no poyson that shall hurte ye, and yf thou set it in thy garden kepe it honestly for it is moche profytable….” Continue reading
Wine corks. Composite (upper), cut (lower) (Photo A. Culham)
It’s decided, 2017 is the year I finally contribute to this fine festive botanical blogging tradition. But what should I write about? Holly? Ivy? All the usual suspects have already been covered –and excellently to boot. Maybe a glass of wine would help me mull the problem over. As I open the bottle the answer is in my hand. Cork! Whether it is a stopping the bottle of red enjoyed with Christmas dinner or shooting out of the champagne on New Year’s Eve, where would we be without it?
Christmas day at the North Pole is dark. In Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homelands of Canada, the Arctic Circle (66.6 degrees), marks the latitude where the noon sun is just visible on December 21st, the northern winter solstice. The sun rises above the horizon for about 2 hours. On Christmas day in Iqaluit, day length will be 4 hours and 22 minutes.
Photo 1. Lighted qulliqs tended by Inuk women in Pond Inlet (left) and Cape Dorset (right), with traditional and modern lamp wicks
Christmas gift tags from Gallery Oldham collection.
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated in many cultures for thousands of years. In our northern latitudes evergreens show how life continues even in the depths of winter.
In pre-Christian times evergreen boughs were hung in winter to encourage the return of the sun gods. Christians preferred holly with the red berries representing the blood of Christ amid eternally green leaves. Continue reading
by Wildfeuer (own work) [GDFL + CC BY 2.5] via wikimedia commons
The genus Kalanchoe
(the preferred pronunciation is kal-un-KOH-ee(1)
) belongs to the Crassulaceae family. Like other members of this family, such as Aeonium, Crassula, Echeveria
and Sedum, Kalanchoes
tend to be succulent evergreen perennials, come from arid environments and make popular houseplants. Continue reading