One Man’s Weed Is Another Man’s Science

When I was a teenager, my father would sooner believe that I was an incompetent lawn mower than even entertain the possibility that I was motivated to preserve what he considered weeds, those suburban symbols of lassitude and irresponsibility. If I'd see a patch of flowering clover or the tiny star-like flowers of stitchwort (Stellaria),I... Continue Reading →

Autumn Leaf Chemistry: More Than Just Eye Candy

The sight of woods in autumn is exhilarating to most people lucky enough to live in temperate regions. Accompanied by crisp air and the smell of decaying leaves, the explosion of red, orange and yellow hues temporarily pulls thousands of people away from their cities. Prior to this past decade, however, this was not enough... Continue Reading →

The Etymology And Drugs Of Parsley

My first language is a rough southern Italian dialect, scorned by many Northerners. But what I like about my mother tongue is the connection between some of its vocabulary and Linnaean taxonomy. Parsley for instance is known as  prezzemolo in standard Italian, but I grew up calling it petrosino. Interestingly parsley's genus, derived from Latin,... Continue Reading →

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