Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Summer Feast at the Berry-Go-Round

As you would expect from June, we have a feast for the eyes—and palate—at this month's edition of Berry-Go-Round. Visual appeal and tastebud tempters present themselves in our smorgasbord, and there's even a brain-twister or two to pique our curiosity and exercise our cranial muscles. Thanks, everyone, for bringing your specialties to our potluck!

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Whenever you're in need of a little something to whet your botanical appetite, you can check in anytime at A Plant a Day, where we're being introduced to delights from the central Great Basin. We'll pass on the Water Hemlock in favor of Wild Licorice, thanks just the same!

The Watcher takes us cruising through different altitudes in mid-June, following spring as it moves up the Wasatch Range from 5,000 ft, to 7,000 ft., and on up to 9,000 ft., where it's getting hard to cook (altitude, you know), so he throws in a touch of marital advice to season the pot. There's always a botanical kettle of stew bubbling at the Watcher's Suburban Stead, from Cottonwood seeds to wild geraniums and much much more.

Rabbit stew might end up on the menu at Phytophactor's, as he tries to balance the local backyard ecosystem. The Phactor introduced us to the sad malady of plant blindness a while ago, from which we're glad to say BGR lovers aren't suffering. He also introduces us to Magnolia, in a feature he calls "Know Your Genera," a very important skill in figuring out plants.

If you are having trouble with that, explore the perils of plant identification in Panama with Mary at Neotropical Savanna as she walks us thru the process of identifying a new plant, and her predicament reveals the pleasure of solving a puzzle, as well as how to go about identification.

The vegetable course picks up some floral notes at Kenton and Rebecca Whitman's Wild About Nature Blog. Foraging is apparently second nature to them, as they also bring us a review of the Forager's Harvest, by Samuel Thayer. Be careful out there, guys—and save some for the critters!

Hugh at Rock Paper Lizard offers a favorite grocery of that old weed-eater Euell Gibbons at Typha through the seasons, as well as a charming look at the much maligned Common Mullein.

Jeremy at Agrobiodiversity brings a favorite food of summer to the feast, with a post about corn (maize) traditionally kept by the Pawnee people. He mentions this story on the advantages of variegation, hoping someone else can provide us more detail.

Agrobiodiv is a also terrific trip target for tongue-twisting treats you've never tasted, like amadumbe. Over at Jeremy's friend's place, be tempted all over again, with a plate of ground nuts, soon to be better known as hopniss! Radix always seems to get at the root of things, and don't these look yummy! (No, these aren't the hopniss.)

The delightful and delectable Bluebunch Wheatgrass is species of the week at Elizabeth Enslin's table. Elizabeth is a lawn-hating recovering academic who learns to love grass, after years of fighting invasive grasses in lawns at Yips and Howls.

I can't resist cycads, even though they're rarely edible and often toxic. Tai haku introduces us to Zamia portoricensis, mother and child at Earth, Wind, and Water. You'll find links to all his cycad posts on this page.

Bobbie the Backyard Grower brings dessert, reminding us that Blueberry Benefits include anti-aging effects in addition to the other touted benefits of this dark luscious fruit.

Lastly, because you can't make a meal without killing something and to help us keep everything in perspective, Sarcozona reminds us of What We Killed Thursday at Gravity's Rainbow. While this particular species was declared extinct in the wild rather than completely extinct, the damaged herbarium specimen she found is apparently the only record of Erythroxlym echinodendron. Sadly, there don’t seem to be any reintroduction projects in place or even specimens being studied in botanical gardens.

That concludes our banquet today, thanks for coming. I hope you find it satisfying despite my tardiness in getting it together. Stay tuned to Berry-Go-Round headquarters for the location of next month's buffet. Meanwhile, it's summer—get out there and eat it up!