Biodiversity Food & Agriculture

Getting it Right

In my last post, which was about changing diets, I referred to Stephen Barstow, author of “Around the Word in 80 Plants”. Unfortunately, I relied on my not-so-good memory for my remarks about Stephen’s background. I’m grateful to him for setting me straight on the following:

  • His biology is self-taught and his career was actually as and “ocean wave climatologist”, which he describes as “like a meteorologist for the ocean waves”.
  • Stephen doesn’t live in Sweden but in “mid-Norway” at latitude 64.3°N. For reference, this is about the same latitude as Frobisher Bay.
Photo from an article in Driftless Journal, September 19, 2019.

Most importantly, Stephen notes that he no longer suggests people eat any part of tulips. He was originally inspired to decorate a salad with the petals by NYC chefs. However, relooking at this a few years ago, he found only a few references in the traditional literature of flowers and sometimes also leaves and bulbs being eaten, but this was wild species in the Himalayas. He also found a reference to the fact that the petals contain the alkaloid tuliposide although in lower concentrations.

In fact, Stephen always checks his facts carefully. He reviews the traditional record via Google Scholar before recommending any new plant. Many thanks to Stephen for setting me straight.

From Google maps, a look at what’s on the 63rd parallel in Canada.

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