Plants in the News

Started by David Pilling, May 27, 2022, 01:43:24 PM

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David Pilling

The paper about Gunnera is available from here:

An investigation of large-leaved GunneraL. (Gunneraceae) grown outside in Britain and Ireland

No. 22 (2022): Sibbaldia the International Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture


Page 4, towards the top of the RH column -

"There have been no reports of it becoming problematic in the wild"

David Pilling

This is the one sign to tell if someone is 'drowning in money' - and it's found in their kitchen

A young woman has revealed a fool-proof way to tell if someone is extremely wealthy simply by looking in their kitchen.

Zoya Biglary, a food entrepreneur from the US, proudly showed off the massive jar of saffron she uses sparingly when cooking.

Australia produces 10kg of saffron annually and imports around 3,500kg of the spice from Spain and Iran each year.

... it takes 150 flowers to produce one gram of dried saffron


Quote from: David Pilling on December 28, 2023, 03:33:29 AMA young woman has revealed a fool-proof way to tell if someone is extremely wealthy simply by looking in their kitchen.

A judge of stupidity as well perhaps. It goes stale like all natural products and a large jar but sparing use.................... Mine (a very few grammes) is kept in the freezer in a foil bag.

Apparently world production is around 300 tonnes per annum, with Iran producing approaching 90% of it. The amount did surprise me - one hell of a lot of paella and/or pilau rice!

There was mention a year or two back, that somewhere in the Saffron Walden area was looking to enter the traditional trade of the district.

David Pilling

Quote from: CG100 on December 28, 2023, 03:50:30 AMApparently world production is around 300 tonnes per annum

That's about 150 million flowers, perhaps enough to see from space but a long way short of a mole of flowers.


Saffron keeps better in the freezer. I also keep paprika and poppy seeds there. Now that I have a whole lot of Crocus sativus, apparently thriving in the veg garden, I will not worry so much about the purchased supply, however.


Quote from: janemcgary on December 28, 2023, 01:25:51 PMSaffron keeps better in the freezer. I also keep paprika and poppy seeds there.

Anything fatty, such as poppy seeds, and nuts definitely keep for ages.

I actually buy all the herbs and spices that I regularly use, in small catering packs - it depends on what it is but 100-250g packs, and they are in the freezer. The first time that I bought whole bay leaves, I had no idea how many I was buying and that pack lasted something around 15-20 years and were prefectly OK when I used the last ones.

Diane Whitehead

Quote from: janemcgary on December 28, 2023, 01:25:51 PMI have a whole lot of Crocus sativus, apparently thriving in the veg garden
Every few years I buy some Crocus sativus bulbs, but they never flower after the first year.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil


I am unsure how similar the growing conditions are but La Mancha and Iran may be a lot closer to each other in that respect than to Saffron Walden in the UK (which, long ago, was at the centre of a thriving saffron "industry", hence the name.)

Very dry all year, heavy alkaline soils would be where to start - S.W. is in East Anglia - my home area and it is not a desert only by virtue of the fact that the meagre rainfall is evenly spread over the entire year. Historically, huge tracts were used for sheep grazing as the land was fit for not much else - numerous towns and what are now villages made fortunes from the wool industry.

Lots of information should be online, but I used to live near Long Melford - a large village today - which has an enormous church, fit to be declared a small cathedral, and lots of other features, all paid for by the medieval wool trade.


In my former garden, Crocus sativus did well in a sandy, somewhat acidic raised bed, until the voles got to it. The current crop came to me after a researcher sent a large quantity of surplus corms to Mark Akimoff (Illahe nursery), which Mark shared with me. They were already in flower on arrival here, and I quickly stuck them in the raised bed where I grow vegetables in a mix of native clay soil, coarse sand, and organic compost, occasionally limed but still a bit acidic. They flowered well the second year and are now in leaf, which they'll be through winter. Some growers believe that plants from alkaline-soil habitats do well without high pH as long as they have adequate fertility. I don't add lime to my bulb soil mix, but I do use soluble complete fertilizer on the bulbs grown under cover, and a cool-season slow-release fertilizer on the open garden. The veg garden stays "chemical" free; it's really chemicals all the way down, of course, but nice to reassure friends who get the surplus zucchini.

David Pilling

David Pilling

People left 'mind blown' after learning what paprika is actually made of

"Learning that paprika is just dried and crushed red bell peppers was really shocking. Like I dunno why I thought there was a Paprika tree somewhere."



Sad, very, very sad.
Loads of kids have no idea where milk or eggs (or cheese/butter) come from.
Although I note, yet again, the resort to an American name for something very everyday.

We Brits will all shortly be walking along the sidewalk in sneekers, being careful not to jaywalk, to go to the mall to buy scallions and rutabegas. Although we will probably have lost the use of our legs and have to drive the 100 yards in a 6 litre 4x4 by then.

David Pilling

Rare moonflower set to bloom again in Cambridge

Cameras are poised on a rare Amazonian cactus that blooms once a year and for only 12 hours before its flowers die.

The moonflower, or Strophocactus wittii, is part of the collection at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.