Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Name This Plant: Puya

Guest Name This Plant

Janzee successfully named her own plant. According to Wikipedia, puya is an entire genus of plant and we are not sure which specific species this one is. The puya are native to the Andes Mountains and "many...are monocarpic, with the parent plant dying after one flower and seed production event."

The word "puya" derives from Mapuche Indian word meaning point. According to WalesOnline, the points on some puya plants can be quite dangerous:

"It has long, narrow leaves which are edged with vicious, hooked thorns – protection again nibbling animals such as rabbits, sheep and llama. But on the slopes of the Andes, where the plants flourish, if these grazing animals get too close they can become trapped in the puya’s spikes and starve to death. As they rot, they become compost and feed the soil around the puya. This helps the plant to grow bigger."

- Sara

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest Name This Plant

The Name This Plant feature has always been a favorite of the blog readers. Looks like I have a fan with a weird plant of their own. Janzee asks, can you name her plant?

Guest Name This Plant

— Sara

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Name This Plant: Kohlrabi

Name This Plant

Congrats to Venkat on the blog and blueBear71 on flickr for correctly naming this plant Kohlrabi.

This strange, alien-like plant is actually a cabbage. According to Wikipedia, it "is a low, stout cultivar of the cabbage that will grow almost anywhere. The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus RĂ¼be ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: They are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant."

That was a total surprise to me. I assumed it was a type of turnip or root vegetable, but that main, purple section you see here does not grow underground.

Source: Wikipedia

We were first introduced to kohlrabi by our CSA (community-supported agriculture), Stranger's Hill. The first batch were green, but all subsequent batches were purple. The CSA rep at the farmers' market claimed they were like cucumbers (or at least people used them in a similar manner). Wikipedia and I do not agree. I describe them more like a potato and an onion hybrid in flavor and a potato or turnip in consistency. We have had them raw on salads (per the cucumber comparison) and cooked in stir fry and other dishes. Personally, I prefer it cooked.

There is one thing for sure: They are strange looking.

Hopefully our CSA continues to introduce us to new plants and I can share them with you in the future.

Name This Plant: Kohlrabi

— Sara

P.S. The leaves are edible too, obviously, they are cabbage (look a little like kale to me).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011