Monday, August 27, 2012

húng quế

The owner of the café some blocks down from my apartment grows tomatoes, peppers, and other edibles just outside his front window; and the other day, there for my first visit in a little while, he brought me a clear plastic cup with a rather trampled-looking sprig of basil in an inch of water. "Found this on the ground," he said. "Just let it perch in the water for a few days so it grows roots. Then, you can plant it."

I've never grown any basil of my own, and am only marginally sure that this wilting halfling is sweet basil - but my favorite is Thai sweet basil, also known as Asian sweet basil. Beyond its lovely, almost lemony taste, it gives rise to coquettish purple-white flowers.

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Newly Discovered: Mimulus Peregrinus

Mimulus peregrinus, a new species that came to be in southern Scotland approximately 140 years ago, provides exciting insights into the natural processes of hybrid evolution.

From Scientific American online:
"M. peregrinus's genus turns up around the world but most species grown in North America and Australia. Different monkey flower species can hybridize, although their offspring carry an odd number of chromosomes, rendering them sterile....A rare mutilation duplicated the entire genome of M. peregrinus...[that] evened out the number of chromosomes and the flower avoided a genetic dead-end."
Another startling and invaluable look into the evolutionary processes which make life on earth possible - and a reminder that these age-old "mutations" occur contemporarily. Carl Sagan would smile at such a discovery.

Labels: , ,