Aug. 5th, 2007

omorka: (Religious Left)
Best-ever description of a megachurch: "Six Flags Over Jesus"

Also, a Robot Chicken I kind of liked, on the apocalyptic theme.
omorka: (Religious Left)
Best-ever description of a megachurch: "Six Flags Over Jesus"

Also, a Robot Chicken I kind of liked, on the apocalyptic theme.
omorka: (Garden Green)
Behold the cacao tree. Note where the pod is growing. Temperate and even subtropical trees bear their flowers, and thus their fruits, near the ends of their branches; tropical ones have a tendency to bear their flowers in little crevices along their trunks and larger branches. The first few botanicals of American plants brought back to the New World showed this accurately; the second generation showed the cacao pods at the ends of the branches, the illustrations having been 'helpfully corrected' by botanists who chuckled up their sleeves at the rubes who had done the fieldwork and still gotten such a simple thing 'wrong'.

Look upon the cacao pod. Note that there is a thick, protective husk, inside which are the seeds enclosed in a fleshy pulp and separated into clusters by internal membranes. I am given to understand that that white pulp is edible and fairly sweet, and that it is the presence of the sugars in the pulp that make possible the fermentation of the seeds that render them edible. The ancestors of the Mayans who started collecting the pods were probably originally after that pulp, not the seeds, and it was either an attempt at wine-making or a happy accident that taught them the great value of the cacao seed.

Behold now the durian tree. Where are the fruit? That's right, they're on the large branches, not at the ends. Silly tropical plants.

And here's the fruit in its pod. The pod is spiny, but the resemblance is clear enough. This time, the edible (and disgusting-smelling) part is that fleshy pulp; the seeds are inedible.

Now, with that close a resemblance, one might think they're reasonably closely related, right? At least, I was curious. Turns out that it's largely parallel evolution, though. Durian is a tropical plant of Oceania, and cacao is a tropical plant of the Americas (which we knew), and they both have fairly tender seeds (although not as tender as mangosteen). They're both from the order Malvales (mostly tropical and subtropical plants), but from different (although fairly close; they're both grouped under the Malvaceae) families. The family that includes the cacao tree also includes the cola nut and the so-called 'Chinese chestnuts', while the durian is in the same family as the baobab. They're roughly as closely related to each other as each is to the hibiscus, which shares the fivefold division of the seed pod but not the pulp, and perhaps less closely, to the marshmallow plant (which grows in temperate regions).

Tropical plants: really weird people.
omorka: (Garden Green)
Behold the cacao tree. Note where the pod is growing. Temperate and even subtropical trees bear their flowers, and thus their fruits, near the ends of their branches; tropical ones have a tendency to bear their flowers in little crevices along their trunks and larger branches. The first few botanicals of American plants brought back to the New World showed this accurately; the second generation showed the cacao pods at the ends of the branches, the illustrations having been 'helpfully corrected' by botanists who chuckled up their sleeves at the rubes who had done the fieldwork and still gotten such a simple thing 'wrong'.

Look upon the cacao pod. Note that there is a thick, protective husk, inside which are the seeds enclosed in a fleshy pulp and separated into clusters by internal membranes. I am given to understand that that white pulp is edible and fairly sweet, and that it is the presence of the sugars in the pulp that make possible the fermentation of the seeds that render them edible. The ancestors of the Mayans who started collecting the pods were probably originally after that pulp, not the seeds, and it was either an attempt at wine-making or a happy accident that taught them the great value of the cacao seed.

Behold now the durian tree. Where are the fruit? That's right, they're on the large branches, not at the ends. Silly tropical plants.

And here's the fruit in its pod. The pod is spiny, but the resemblance is clear enough. This time, the edible (and disgusting-smelling) part is that fleshy pulp; the seeds are inedible.

Now, with that close a resemblance, one might think they're reasonably closely related, right? At least, I was curious. Turns out that it's largely parallel evolution, though. Durian is a tropical plant of Oceania, and cacao is a tropical plant of the Americas (which we knew), and they both have fairly tender seeds (although not as tender as mangosteen). They're both from the order Malvales (mostly tropical and subtropical plants), but from different (although fairly close; they're both grouped under the Malvaceae) families. The family that includes the cacao tree also includes the cola nut and the so-called 'Chinese chestnuts', while the durian is in the same family as the baobab. They're roughly as closely related to each other as each is to the hibiscus, which shares the fivefold division of the seed pod but not the pulp, and perhaps less closely, to the marshmallow plant (which grows in temperate regions).

Tropical plants: really weird people.

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