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Guide to Common Edible Wild Plants

Guide to Common Edible Wild Plants
It’s often said that the last thing you need to worry about when in a survival situation is what you’re going to eat. The human body is highly resilient, and can go without food for longer than you think. Shelter and water, on the other hand, are pretty much non-negotiable in order to survive. However, it is possible to familiarize yourself with edible wild plants before you get into a survival situation, in which case you’ll have a good idea of which wild plants you can eat if necessary. In addition, once you learn to identify some of these common edible wild plants, you might be able to add them to your diet while you’re still in the city. READ MORE: 7 Mountaineering Knots to Use in Everyday Life Dandelions Probably the easiest plant to identify, and one of the most widespread, dandelions (pictured at top) are a great introduction to wild plant foods. Burdock The burdock plant sure doesn’t look very appetizing (especially when full of those giant prickly seedheads!) Cattails Plantain Nettles

Nitrogen fertilizers' impact on lawn soils Nitrogen fertilizers from farm fields often end up in aquatic ecosystems, resulting in water quality problems, such as toxic algae and underwater 'dead zones'. There are concerns that fertilizers used on lawns may also contribute to these problems. All of the lawns in the United States cover an area almost as large as Florida, making turfgrass our largest 'crop' and lawn fertilizer use a legitimate issue. In a study funded by the National Science Foundation Ecosystem Studies and Long Term Ecological Research programs, researchers from Cornell University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies have utilized recent technological advances to measure gaseous nitrogen emissions in home lawns. In the past, scientists have conducted nitrogen input-output studies on lawns to determine how much nitrogen is taken up by vegetation or deposited in soils, and how much is lost. The complete results from this study can be found in the November/December issue of Journal of Environmental Quality.

Urban Physic Garden Horticulture Discotech: LED Grow Lights Power Sustainable Farming What if we could grow fruits and vegetables in half the time with no pesticides or hormones and use 90 percent less water to do it? What if we could grow those fruits and vegetables anywhere in the world, during any season? A Netherlands-based company called PlantLab believes we can. Apples from Chile, asparagus from Peru—an average of six to 12 percent of every dollar we spend on food goes to transportation costs. Traditionally, most agriculture has been limited to large swaths of land with rich soil, controllable pests, and a predictable climate, but even under optimum conditions traditional methods of agriculture drain our water supply, require intensive resources, and produce a crop dependent on an undependable climate. The big idea “In order to keep a planet that’s worth living on, we have to change our methods,” says PlantLab’s Gertjan Meeuws in an interview with the Associated Press. The methods PlantLab is suggesting are revolutionary. A bright future Photography by Gemma Burgio

If plants generate magnetic fields, they’re not sayin’ A titan arum nicknamed "Trudy" is fully opened after flowering in June 2009 in the UC Botanical Garden. Two sensors of a magnetomer are visible to the lower left. (Eric Corsini) Searching for magnetic fields produced by plants may sound as wacky as trying to prove the existence of telekinesis or extrasensory perception, but physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, are seriously looking for biomagnetism in plants using some of the most sensitive magnetic detectors available. In an article that appeared this week in the Journal of Applied Physics, the UC Berkeley scientists describe the instruments they used to look for minuscule magnetic fields around a titan arum – the world’s largest flower – during its brief bloom, the interference from local BART trains and traffic that bedeviled the experiment, and their ultimate failure to detect a magnetic field. Why look for biomagnetism in plants? “We haven’t given up,” Corsini said.

Plant Teacher - Entheogens and Healing Herbs Purple lights and math help PlantLab grow food more efficiently We’ve had local food, organic food, slow food and even urban farming. Now get ready for disco farming. The Dutch “plant control freaks” behind PlantLab want to farm indoors under purple light. It’s not just for the looks, though. PlantLab has recently developed a set of technologies for optimal indoor farming so that food can grow anywhere from the sunless heart of an office building to an abandoned factory. PlantLab stacks “Plant Production Units” on top of each other to make maximum use of space. Because of the indoor growing environment, no pesticides are required and 90 percent less water is used than in greenhouse growing. Automation software controls the environment to provide each plant with optimal levels of light, water, heat, humidity and nutrition and dozens of other growing parameters. The first indoor city farm using PlantLabs’ technology will be in a disused factory in Amsterdam. The first crops are lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and cress.

Scientists Discover First Night-Flowering Orchid : The Two-Way hide captionBulbophyllum nocturnum, the only known night-flowering orchid Andre Schuiteman/Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew When scientists brought the Bulbophyllum nocturnum back to the Netherlands, they were perplexed. They had found the plant on the island of New Britain, near Papua New Guinea. They knew the plant came from a rare group, but the orchid's blooms would die before opening up. The orchid's uniqueness never became clear until one scientist brought it home with him. "[Dutch researcher Ed de Vogel] took a plant home with him one evening. The Bulbophyllum nocturnum is now the first orchid known to bloom at night. Of course the big question is why?

Experimental Recipes with Azolla, Super Plant (and Future Space Food?) © Erik Sjödin If you've heard about duckweed (the pollution-cleaning, climate change-fighting super food) then maybe you've also heard of azolla, a family of seven species of edible water-dwelling ferns that grows lightning-fast and is packed full of nutrients. Scientists are now studying azolla's potential in space agriculture as a super food crop for Mars habitation. So what does a super plant taste like? Fascinated by the humble plant but stymied by the lack of actual gastronomical data, Stockholm-based artist Erik Sjödin set out to discover the possibilities in a hybrid art and organic agriculture project called "Super Meal", which aims to develop a "delicious, nutritious and sustainable Azolla meal, the fast food of the future." © Erik Sjödin Azolla's incredible ability to double its biomass every couple of days and fix nitrogen has meant that Asian farmers have been already using it alongside their crops as a fertilizer for millennia. © Erik SjödinPhoto: Erik Sjödin