Archive for the ‘Domestication’ Category

A few weeks ago, at the farmers market, my favourite stallholder asked me if I wanted some good yams*. She knew I would certainly be interested in, because she knew I was working on yams and I regularly buy her tubers (for food, not work). Well, I’m still learning ways to cook these, and it is certainly an amazing food, even if not as tasty as potatoes (sweet or not), depending on varieties.

Anyhow, I asked her what the variety’s name was. (Just curious, very curious). These were indeed quite small and amazingly regular tubers, with strange self peeling epiderms. Cute tubers.

“That, is Not Possible**” she said. I was disappointed: why didn’t she know the very stuff she was selling out? I bought them.

The thing is, you can’t possibly hear upper case letters in a discussion. The variety’s name was simply “Not Possible”, I just did not understand this.

Later on, speaking yams with colleagues during a meal, they enquired whether I already tasted “Not Possible” yams, and I realised that yes, I’ve eaten this before. It’s just that it’s Not Possible, the most implausible name of a plant variety…

And that’s it!

* I mean true yams (Dioscorea sp), the crop ones (D. alata or D. rotundata/cayenensis that occur here). What’s often sold as yam in the USA are sweet potatoes, not yams.

** “Ca, c’est Pas Possible”.


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If you don’t get the attempt at humour, nevermind. There’s an ever lasting debate in French as to whether the proper plural of foreign words integrating the language should be frenchisized or we should keep their original plural. Some people thus never miss an opportunity to yell latinised plurals, especially in biological sciences where many words are the legacy of Latin as the previous universal science language (e.g.  locus/loci, homonculus/homonculi and so forth). I guess there isn’t such a debate in the English speaking world, just because. (locuses, homunculuses). (you see what I mean).

We are going to speak of great choruses of jargonry around -chory. The word of the week that came out today is unfortunately at odds with its use in the English world (I thought of agochory, but it is merely in use, as anthropochory is prefered). -chory is all about seeds dispersal, and that’s what I’m doing right now, getting dispersed, ’cause I can’t seem being able to write focusely. Unfair me. (and the mosquitoes flying around tonight!). (more…)

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Musical vegs…

Just because I’m trying a come-back with the New Year, please have something special for these days. Enjoy and see you soon!

You can find more in there (well, wordpress is bugging right now and I can’t update this line without being redirected, so please copy and paste this link:


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Cool stuff there at This Week in Evolution, all about domestication and reversion of traits in cultivated plants. Though the title made me think of another aspect of plants’ life, not quite that plants mating wild story-line, but the story of yet another natural (cultural) reversion… Maybe that’ll make some post next August…

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Kiwano is the fruit of Cucumis metulliferus, or Horned Melon. I have known the fruit for a long time without ever affording one (this was more because I couldn’t find it, though the price would have made me think twice before buying one). It is very attractive, with a bright orange epiderm and more or less redish circles and lines driving along the skin. The inside is quite green (which I didn’t expect at first and was really surprised by the colour contrast). The inside is good. The inside is inside.

Kiwano (open fruit, right nut to spot size)


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Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Berry Go Round, a blog carnival devoted to all plants’ life… The previous edition can be found here. November brings a new yield of fresh plant science, and here it is:


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All tubs on the picture below are radishes, the big one isn’t a turnip but a true radish root, from a giant variety. I really enjoy neighbouring organic farms, and moreover that the farmers decided to fill their market gardens with many rare vegetables and roots. They offer a great diversity and of course, increase tentation of buying more vegs than actually needed in the kitchen (which is probably healthier ‘foraging’ for the family afterall). I like the darker twilight purple radishes too, but now there’s a new caracteristics to test for, in addition to age and size, whenever taste is differing. Hum, maybe I’ll go with Halloween radishes instead of pumpkins!

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