“Plants make nectar to feed insects and other animals so they’ll spread their pollen. When insects feed on caffeine-spiked nectar, they get a beneficial buzz: they become much more likely to remember the scent of the flower. This enhanced memory may make it more likely that the insect will revisit the flower and spread its pollen further.”—
I loved that post about the bitters. I'm partway through memorizing The Drunken Botanist at this point simply due to how FASCINATING this all is.
So good! We actually had Amy Stewart speaking here a couple of weeks ago. She was taking part in our Weird, Wild, & Wonderful botanical discussion and booksigning alongside Elizabeth Gilbert. And she just so happened to supply a couple of the recipes we used for the evening’s cocktail bar.
I find even those least inclined to enjoy botany can at least appreciate the fact that all of our nightcaps come from some sort of plant. “They give us oxygen and alcohol” is a good open and shut response to anyone rolling eyes at the study of vegetation. —MN
P.S. – If any of you out there haven’t picked up The Drunken Botanist, it comes highly recommended from all corners of the plant world.
Does the NYBG have a library? I'm a beginning library science student and my dream job/internship would be at a botanical garden library!
Of course! The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is one of the foremost plant research libraries in the country, with an unparalleled rare book collection, and the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium is one of the largest collections of plant specimens in the world. Today just happens to mark the inaugural symposium of the Library’s new Humanities Institute, which will begin sponsoring fellowships in 2015. Perhaps one will be you!
“Her friends, local foragers and their partners, arrive, and Viljoen immediately serves deviled eggs with field garlic, and what she half-jokingly calls “weed bruschetta,” toasted homemade sourdough bread topped with sautéed and bitter tasting nettle, dock and field garlic greens. The discussion ranges across many topics, including the large amount of mushrooms Gary Lincoff, a local mycologist and minor celebrity in foraging circles, identified this spring.”—
Ha! Our own NYBG Adult Ed Instructor Gary Lincoff got a shout-out in this terrific Gothamist piece as a “celebrity in foraging circles” (I won’t tell him, lest he get a swelled head).
Regan Penaluna’s profile on Marie Viljoen’s urban foraging practice is well worth a read. If you want to learn more before dodging park rangers to pick your next salad, check out our own conversation with another NYBG Instructor, Leda Meredith. ~LM