Nancy Wiersma: And still more garden triviaPublished 9:57am Tuesday, April 6, 2010
How about some more garden trivia?
Just a few tidbits I ran across while reading.
How interesting it all is, thought I would share some with my readers
• A butterfly caterpillar “breathes” in air through tiny holes called spiracles on the side of their body. Because these “holes” are so close to the ground, it doesn’t take much to drown a caterpillar. It can do so even in a small puddle of water.
• A butterfly with the chemical receptors on their antennae can detect odors in the air. They can also detect food, potential mates and so many other things we still don’t know about.
• Honey being 80 percent sugar and 20 percent water, kills most bacteria and fungi that infect the world. Osmotic pressure isn’t the only reason honey is an effective antibiotic. Honey also contains hydrogen peroxide. Glucose oxidase is an enzyme secreted by bees when they convert nectar into honey.
In the presence of oxygen the enzyme splits glucose molecules into water and hydrogen peroxide. Full-strength honey has very low amounts of hydrogen peroxide and not much active glucose oxidase .
• Honey is a slow release antiseptic, one that does not damage tissue as other antiseptics sometimes do. Ancients applied honey to their wounds, finding they healed faster and didn’t get infected.
• Blueberries and purple carrots contain vitamin A and beta-carotene, plus a phytochemical called anthocyanins – the antioxidant compound that can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories and even help control weight.
• Don’t store carrots near apples or pears, which can give off gases that can turn carrots bitter.
• Korean scientists are testing the anti-fungal properties of the pumpkin rind. A common ingredient used in a variety of traditional medicines to treat everything from diabetes to microbial infections. It turns out that the pumpkin rind protein, Pr-2, is effective in suppressing the growth of fungi responsible for yeast infections in adults and infants, wine-grape blight, tomato and potato diseases and fusarium wilt. The protein exhibits growth inhibition against 10 species of harmful pathogen fungi. And more research is still underway.
He who knows what sweet and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens and how to come at these enhancements, is the rich and royal man.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nancy Wiersma of Dowagiac writes a weekly column.