- An encomium for CIMMYT Down Under.
- A paean for the Albemarle pippin. That’s an apple.
- A threnody for the Italian olive.
- An honour for British mulberries.
- A tribute to USDA watermelon genomics.
- An auto-panegyric from BASF. Yeah, I know auto is Latin, sue me.
- A celebration of millet-loving chefs.
- A reflection on the origin of that cacao origin paper, by the author.
It’s a sickness, I know, but when I read the Grauniad article Luigi just nibbled — Salsify: Waitrose brings back ‘forgotten’ Victorian vegetable — I knew I couldn’t rest or, indeed, eat lunch, until I’d set matters straight.
The article says:
The vegetable will be available at Waitrose in the black variety, grown in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, as well as a small amount of white salsify, which is grown in the sandy soils of Ayrshire in Scotland.
A reasonable person might imagine that there are indeed two varieties of a single crop. An unreasonable one, me, would take to his keyboard in a huff, explaining that the vegetable occasionally known as black salsify, is also known as scorzonera, and is botanically Scorzonera hispanica, while salsify is Tragopogon porrifolius. Admittedly both are in the same family (Asteraceae) but they are not varieties of a single crop, unless that crop is forgotten Victorian root vegetables.
Adding insult to injury, the Guardian’s photograph of Tragopogon porrifolius is captioned “Scorzonera hispanica (salsify) roots with tendrils. Photograph: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley”. Right common name, wrong Latin name.
I traced it back to the original. The page itself has vanished, but thanks to the Internet Archive a version has been captured, and though it lacks the image, it does state clearly that it is Tragopogon porrifolius.
Somewhere along the line, probably when Getty Images acquired it from Dorling Kindersley, things got messed up. Certainly Getty’s gallery of salsify images is a jumble of the two species, with Scorzonera predominant.
I’ll go and get my lunch now.
- Courtesy of Bioversity, useful summary of agricultural biodiversity events at the CBD COP, starting in a few days.
- The USDA National Plant Germplasm System, justified.
- The ancient symbolism of celery. Spoiler alert: death.
- A breeding professor calls for a major change in breeding. Spoiler alert: productivity is not enough.
- What’s the next açaí? And will it save the Amazon?
- Saving threatened species. Spoiler alert: seeds are not enough.
- 9000 years of maize history, decoded.
- The Access to Seeds Index 2019 report for South and Southeast Asia is out. Spoiler alert: I feel a guest post coming on.
- UK supermarket to stock salsify.
- Genetic contribution of emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon Schrank) to heat tolerance of bread wheat. It’s considerable.
- Warm Season Grain Legume Landraces from the South of Europe for Germplasm Conservation and Genetic Improvement. Ok ex situ, in situ not so much.
- Onobrychis viciifolia; a comprehensive literature review of its history, etymology, taxonomy, genetics, agronomy and botany. The fall and rise of an orphan forage.
- Interstitial but Resilient: Nomadic Shepherds in Piedmont (Northwest Italy) Amidst Spatial and Social Marginalization. Truly a vale of tears.
- Parallel vs. Convergent Evolution in Domestication and Diversification of Crops in the Americas. Still can’t tell which is more prevalent.
- Whole-Genome Analysis of Candidate genes Associated with Seed Size and Weight in Sorghum bicolor Reveals Signatures of Artificial Selection and Insights into Parallel Domestication in Cereal Crops. 63 seed size genes selected during domestication in sorghum, a significant number of which in maize and rice also.
- A systematic review of the socio-economic impacts of large-scale tree plantations, worldwide. Not a good idea.
- Recent Advances in Sexual Propagation and Breeding of Garlic. Restoration of flowering ability has done wonders for diversity. With diversity poster goodness.
- Core collection of two important indigenous vegetables; Gboma eggplant (Solanum macrocarpon L.) and Jute mallow (Corchorus olitorius L.) in Africa: An important step for exploitation of existing germplasm and development of improved cultivars. Interesting, of course, but I wouldn’t call these core collections. But I won’t complain again if it gets the stuff used more.
- Measuring the impact of plant breeding on sub-Saharan African staple crops. High ROI for the usual suspects. How about the traditional veggies et al., though. Anyway, do readers want more on this paper? Let me know in the comments if you want a full post on the main findings.
- Allele-defined genome of the autopolyploid sugarcane Saccharum spontaneum L. A lot of the good stuff is in wild-cultivated rearranged chromosomes.
- Collecting bananas in Bougainville.
- More about breeding perennial versions of staple crops.
- Surveys and statistics are not enough to better understand respective roles of women and men in food production and security.
- There are diverse farms in California too.
- GRAIN paper says farmers’ seed systems feed Africa. But surely all those community seed banks could do with support and back-up, not to mention new, additional diversity, from formal sector genebanks?