Field of Science

Drink of the gods

This is a pretty interesting rain forest flower for several reasons. One it's sort of hard to figure out what parts is what; two, the flowers appear right out of the trunk of the tree; three its generic name, Theobroma, means "drink of the gods"; and four, the common name of the most famous product from this genus is Mayan for bitter water. This is a wild species, but the cultivated species is also called cacao, the source of chocolate, or "chocolatl" (bitter water). And a spicy, fatty version of hot chocolate was the royal beverage of Aztecs. In the evergreen tropics many trees produce flowers on "old wood", their limbs and trunks where the leaves don't obscure the flowers, a phenomenon called cauliflory. Back up in Lincolnland red bud is one of the few temperate trees that do this. Red pods will follow. The mature seeds are the source of chocolate.
On other fronts the students are proving to be a great lot this year, very interested and very industrious. It has been wet, raining every night, and showers almost every day. However nothing like last year's forest-field station flooding deluge. Woke up this AM to the gargling call of oropendolas.

1 comment:

Flowers said...

Nice blog with nice picture of flowers. Flowers bring so much joy to those who have the time enjoy them.