Plants and health

Yes, yet another thematic trifecta. I swear I don’t go out looking for these, they just pop up every once in a while. CABI’s excellent blog had a piece today about CABI’s own fungal genetic resources collection and its value as a source of useful compounds. It includes Fleming’s original penicillin-producing strain so it does have form in that regard. Then Seeds Aside has a post on variation among olive varieties in a gene for an allergenic protein found on the pollen grain. And finally, over at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a thumbnail sketch of the redoubtable Phebe Lankester, who wrote extensively on both botany and health — and occasionally on the link between the two — in the latter part of the 19th century.

Yams in New Caledonia

Danny has just sent me this great old postcard from New Caledonia: “Preparations for a family celebration.” You can see how central yams are to Kanak culture. In 2004 the Kanak Traditional Senate established a Conservatoire de l’Igname. I never visited it, but I saw photos of it when a couple of the people responsible, including a senator, came to our regional plant genetic resources network meeting in Fiji a couple of years ago, and it looked great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have much of an online presence.  Yet.