If it smells like onion or garlic, it’s in the genus Allium, and it smells that way because of an ancient arms race. Those alliaceous aromas have a lot of sulfur in them, like their counterparts in the crucifers. You can combine them into a Brimstone Tart, if you can get past the tears.
The genus Allium is one of the largest genera on the planet, boasting (probably) over 800 species (Friesen et al. 2006, Hirschegger et al. 2009, Mashayehki and Columbus 2014), with most species clustered around central Asia or western North America. Like all of the very speciose genera, Allium includes tremendous variation and internal evolutionary diversification within the genus, and 15 monophyletic (derived from a single common ancestor) subgenera within Allium are currently recognized (Friesen et al. 2006). Only a few have commonly cultivated (or wildharvested by me) species, however, shown on the phylogeny below. Continue reading
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Tagged allium, amaryllidaceae, angiosperm, Brassica, Brassicaceae, chemistry, chive, convergence, crucifer, defense, garlic, greens, Jeanne L. D. Osnas, leek, onion, phylogeny, ramp, recipe, sulfur, vegetable
Jeanne reveals which branches of the evolutionary tree of plants bear edible leaves and speculates about why that is.
Giant coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) fronds dwarf me
Most of the 300,000 + plant species have leaves, and the function of all of them is to perform photosynthesis. They are the ultimate source for all of the oxygen and food for the rest of the food chain and help regulate the global carbon and water cycles. They are also nutrition superstars. To figure out why greens are good for you and whether all leaves are equal in this regard, we need to take quick look at global leaf structural variability and broad evolutionary patterns in the species that make their way onto our tables. Continue reading