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Tag: botanist

Vegetables Aren’t Real

By now, we’ve all heard the age-old argument about whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable. Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled tomatoes were a vegetable for “tax purposes” in 1893, a botanist would tell you that vegetables aren’t real and that tomatoes are actually a berry.

While we’re at it, cucumbers, peppers, avocados, pumpkins, pomegranates, watermelons, oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, and bananas are all berries, too. Strawberries and raspberries, however, are not. They’re “accessory fruits.”

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African Violets: A Horticulturist’s Mutant Paradise

With showy blossoms ranging from blue to burgundy and white to green, it’s no wonder African violets (Saintpaulia Ionantha) are among the most popular houseplants across the world.

When gazing upon these vibrant, vivacious “violets” with their pinwheel stripes or “fantasy speckles,” one can’t help but wonder, “How the hell did we get here?”

The answer lies in almost a century of hybridization, accented and accelerated by a few decades of chemical mutagens and radiation, according to a 2017 Folia Horticulturae review.

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