November 2010

Flesh-Eating Plants of Texas!

Remember those giant plants in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs? You know, the one that almost ate Manny and Diego, and Buck, the annoying yet hilarious ferrety-weasel thing had to get them out? It turns out that they’re not the stuff of fairy tales. In fact, there are a few carnivorous plants that sometimes—though rarely, if ever—eat small mammals today, such as the species known as Nepenthes rajah.

Though man-eating plants are said to be cryptozoology legends and nothing more, they technically could exist. Most of the carnivorous plants we know of, however, just eat bugs, such as the Venus Flytrap.

Have Some Astragalus in Albuquerque

You’ve heard of astragalus, right? The shrubby herb is also known as milkvetch, and it’s usually available as an herbal tincture or pill. It’s traditionally an element in Chinese medicine to help fight disease and for many other healthful uses. It turns out that the plant is also native to the Southwest area, including Albuquerque. A member of the legume family, astragalus has short, stubby leaves and tubes of elegant white flowers.

Delicious Florida Lychee Fruits

I keep hearing about it, everywhere from cooking shows to POM glasses. What the heck is it, though?

Lychee (pronounced “li-chee”) is a tropical Chinese fruit that is a member of the soapberry family. It’s dark pink and super bumpy, resembling large raspberries. Since the fruit has become so popular, the plants are now grown all over the world. In the U.S. Florida is considered the lychee growing capitol. Lychee fruits grow from an evergreen tree and are known for their sweet, juicy flavor.

Things to Make with Jerusalem Artichokes

Though Jerusalem artichokes are lovely flowers to look at, they also make a delicious meal. The sunflower species, native to areas as north as Maine and south as Texas, are also known as sunchoke, earth apple, and sunroot. The tubers are often considered an invasive species, or at least a weed, as they are prone to take over one’s property. They are grown for their friendly appearance as well as their culinary use. If you’d like to employ Jerusalem artichoke tubers in a recipe, here are a few ideas you may wish to start with. When buying tubers to cook, be sure to selected the smoothest ones you can find.

Raw Tubers: For a nutty treat, some people enjoy eating these plants plain. Be sure to thoroughly clean them first.

Man Saves Dozens From Dying at The Gap

Although it’s not exactly what you think it might be, this situation is one of the most moving stories I’ve heard in a while. “The Gap” in question is not the popular store featuring cheaply made clothing sold for ludicrous prices and pretention; it is rather a place in Australia. The Gap, a famous cliff on the continent, is the location where many people choose to commit suicide each year. Don Ritchie, who lives across the street from the spot, says that he has talked 160 people from taking their own lives.