Caution : It's now recommended that young children, the elderly and pregnant women should not eat raw or partially cooked eggs.
every morning while I can that is ...
Gardening is my thinking time, and as I build up an appetite, it's usually food that's on my mind. Last week, I was inspecting a hyacinth plant in bud when I was suddenly overcome by an urge to run into the kitchen and pop an egg into some boiling water - to my eye, it appeared to be an asparagus spear sent from heaven. After a little research, I discovered that hyacinths and asparagus have been classified in the same family Asparagaceae since 2009, however not all asparagus species are edible and common hyacinths are poisonous.
|Common hyacinths are poisonous|
Other members of the family Asparagaceae are :
Lily-of-the-valley and ...
|Muscari (grape hyacinth) is in flower now|
|Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) about to flower in the Woodland|
also, maybe more surprisingly, hosta, agave, yucca and ...
|my houseplant Dracaena - hasn't flowered so far|
I find it difficult to fathom that according to the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (botanists with the unenviable task of classifying all flowering plants), it has been proven down to a molecular level that this plant family evolved from a close common ancestor. Visually though, it is difficult to identify characteristics which set them apart from other plants. Until 2003, they were grouped in the formerly miscellaneous lily family, Liliaceae. Since then Asparagaceae has been limited to a few species (in sensu stricto) and then broadened (in sensu lato) in 2009, with a diversity ranging from habitats in arid deserts to shady woodlands. Botantists continue to debate ...
Meanwhile, I'm no closer to finding something in my garden to dip into my egg. I'll have to resort to toast soldiers.
Carol Klein shares her thoughts on the Asparagaceae family ...
and here are the other plant families in her series if you're interested.
Even though plant classification may seem complicated, once you get into it, it's fun to guess if plants are in the same family. Understanding how plants evolved and how they are related to each other (or not) adds a new dimension to gardening. If you look up any plant in wikipedia, the family that it belongs to is shown in the box on the right of the page - that's how I started to recognise the relationships.
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