Field of Science

Five plants to save the world

In botanical circles, especially among those of us who teach about economically important plants, a lot of discussion has centered around how many plants keep us from being naked, miserable, and hungry. Even in the broadest sense, it isn't really very many species really, 100 to 300 at the upper limit. So whenever someone says here's five plants that can save the world, well, you have to take a look. You think maybe wheat, rice, and maize, which together provide over 50% of human calories, but this article takes a very different perspective, one that looks at current problems around the world. Maybe you were thinking of Moringia oleifera, Rinorea niccolifera, Azadirachta indica, Botryococcus braunii, or Pleruotus sp. TPP sure wasn't thinking of any of these, although he knows 2 of the three flowering plants (1st three names) pretty well, and he's seen the algae under a microscope (many years ago) although probably could not identify it now, and has no idea how it could be so important. Neem is a pretty well known medicinal and is becoming more widely known outside of India. Lastly there are the oyster mushrooms, but how could they possibly be in the save the world category?  So to enlighten yourself, here's the link to the article. This is interesting stuff.

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