Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March Mustard Madness

Yes, part two of the spring tutorial is here. (If you'd rather not be tutored, come back on 3/12. You can also spend time looking at the archives. I've been blogging here since July 2010. Plenty to see.)

If you haven't run screaming from your device, you'll be thrilled to learn about the Mustard family. Loads of mustard-family plants in Sabino, and soon you'll be able to pick them out!

The Mustard family is now called Brassicaceae, used to be Cruciferae. You may recall hearing/reading that you should eat more cruciferous vegetables. You still should, regardless of the name change.

The photo above is of the 'original' or 'wild' mustard, from which our many delicious mustard-family plants were modified.

Genes can only be modified so far, of course. You won't get a mustard to grow, say, a human leg. But kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower - all these come from modifications of the same mustard. Yum. And even the modified ones share the same mustard-family characteristics.

Remember, for plants, we want to look at the 3 Fs. For mustards, we'll focus on the fruits, which are plentiful, weird, and in a spiral-staircase pattern around the stem. (The flowers are in this same pattern, of course, but it's not always as easy to see.)
By 'weird' fruits, I mean fruits that are (very) different depending on species AND fruits that are large, relative to flower size. You'll see what I mean starting tomorrow...

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