The Monthly Species: July

Hello everyone I know its not exactly near the end of the month yet but I will be taking next week away from all things internet so it’s time for the species of this month! It’s something that has been keeping me going this month and one little specimen of this species sits on my desk every single day it is of course!

Arabica Coffee

Image result for arabica coffee plant

Scientific Classification:

Scientific Name : Coffea arabica

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe: Coffeeae
Genus: Coffea

Size: Wild plants can grow between 9 and 12 metres tall with open branching systems. In coffee plantations the growth is often more formalized.

Habitat: This species is endemic to the Yemen and Ethiopia. However now there are coffee plantations in Africa, Latin America, South east Asia and China.

Use’s: This wonderful plant accounts for 70% of the world’s coffee production! The coffee we know and love comes from roasting the seeds which are found in coffee berries. The berries are often picked by hand to make sure they’re ripe enough or the plants are shaken so that only ripe berries fall off and on to mats that are placed at the base of the bush.

Conservation: Coffee plantations have been the reason why forest habitats have been destroyed reducing habitats for many species. However, climate change affecting rising temperatures, longer droughts and excessive rainfall has affected the sustainability of coffee plantations.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species:

Coffee was the first food to ever be freeze dried!

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Bamboozling Bamboo

I was rereading a book given to me over Christmas called “50 plants that changed the course of history” by Bill Laws. He wrote about bamboo, now I have studied biology for a number of years now and I’ve watched a few presentations on the wonders of bamboo. However I’ve never written anything much about bamboo myself. Well all that is going to change! Here are 5 things that I find completely bamboozling (fantastic word) about bamboo.

Bamboo

1.Bamboo is a type of grass and is among the fastest growing plants on the planet. One Japanese species rockets skywards at a rate of a metre a day.

2.Bamboo as an ancient herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years in Asia. Often used for its tonic and astringent properties, it is also considered an aphrodisiac.

3. Bamboo has so many practical uses! One of my favourites being it can be used as scaffolding. I went to Hong Kong a few years ago and it was the most amazing site to see massive buildings being built using bamboo as the scaffolding. The picture below has loads more amazing uses!

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4.Bamboo produces 30% more oxygen than trees. Bamboo does not need to be replanted, is self generating and can be harvested every three to five years.

5. Bamboo has been used as a trap. Particularly in the Vietnam war where bamboo was shaped into sharp stakes. These stakes could continue to grow and were used in many different traps.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed todays slightly shorter blog! Also a quick thanks to the new followers here on ThatBiologist, your support means alot! Til next time!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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6 in 60: Number 19 – Plants and People

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful christmas time and celebrated lots! I’m back with a 6 scientific things in 60 seconds all about plants and people. As a quick refresher the 6 in 60 series is about 6 facts from the science world that should be read in under 60 seconds. Let’s Go!

  1. Ethnobotany is the technical name for the study of plants and people
  2. Green gold was a nickname given to olives in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean due to the wealth it bought them.
  3. Sunflower oil is the world’s fourth most popular oil, with argentina, Russia and Ukraine being the three largest producers.
  4. Bamboo can be used for anything from a tool to paint with to the creation of scaffolding (more on that soon).
  5. The pineapple is one of the first fruits that was grown inside of a green house.
  6. Almost all parts of the garlic plant can be used in cooking including the leaves and flowers.

Sources

All of these came from a book I got for Christmas this year entitled “Fifty Plants That Changed The Course Of History” by Bill Laws. A truly fascinating book that has inspired me to write more about the world of plants. If you fancied buying the book or knowing more about it the link for it is here.

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