Diversity, it seems, really is everything. In this very interesting article from The Economist reporting on a study featuring the work of 50 researchers and published in Science, the researchers have found that if you want more flowers and fruit, you need to increase the diversity of your pollinator population. The researchers looked at a wide range of crops, 41 in total with a diversity of flower shapes and sizes. Those crops pollinated by managed hives of honeybees had smaller fruit and later fruit set, while those pollinated by a diversity of insects including bees, beetles, and butterflies got better yields, up to twice as much! The researchers think that the difference in shapes and sizes of the insects help spread the pollen more effectively and increase cross-pollination. Just another case of monocultures in agriculture being a not-so-good thing. Variety, it seems, is indeed the spice of life, even for plants. ~AR
I have always wanted to try a medlar, they sound delicious. Isn’t it funny how fruits go in and out of vogue? When was the last time you had a pawpaw? Ask your grandparents, they’ll most likely know what you’re talking about. And more recently, whatever happened to the fuzzy kiwi? It had such a moment, but seriously; when was the last time you had one? ~AR
Mespilus germanica flower and fruit earlier this year.
My surname actually originates from the name of this fruit tree :) so I had a special interest in this one for quite a while.
The Medlar fruit was once very popular in the Elizabethan and Victorian times when the trees were planted all over the U.K. However, in more recent times it became much less popular with people as a source of food (Maybe something to do with the fact they have to rot first before eating them, or due to one of the many common names for it such as- ‘Open arse fruit’, ‘Dog’s arse fruit’ or ‘cat’s arse fruit’!).
The fruits are an acquired taste, and I think for many the thought of eating them doesn’t appeal in the slightest. I’m actually quite fond of them though, and will happily eat the rotting fruit from the tree in the late winter months. I’d say it’s one of the more exotic tasting fruits you can find growing in this country so if you’re too weirded out to try them you’re missing out.
These are beautiful charts, though they are not 100% correct for the New York City area (we do not get green beans, cucumber, or zucchini this early, unless they are imported; same with cherries, plums, and peaches, which are all about summer in these parts). ~AR
Infographics that display when fruit & vegetables are in season.