Another Pacific hibiscus to marvel at

by Luigi Guarino on April 26, 2016

More from our friend Lex Thomson on the Pacific Hibiscus saga:

Excited to report on the finding of a presumed new Hibiscus species in Solomon Islands. This Hibiscus has several distinctive features including round, saucer-shaped leaves with an entire or shallowly crenulated margin and very small, bright red flowers with a windmill arrangement of petals. The serrated dark red eye may indicate a relationship with the Fijian Hibiscus storckii but other features suggest affinities with Indian Ocean islands Hibiscus such as Hibiscus liliiflorus. The new species appears of ancient origins and may represent a ‘missing link’ between Pacific Islands and Mascarene Islands Hibiscus. Am looking forward to working with Solomon Islands botanist Myknee Sirikolo to describe this new species, which is thus far known only from a 1970’s collection from Santa Cruz Islands and the photographed plant in Mrs Bronwyn Lilo’s garden (Gosi Anikisina) near Honiara.

This from the Facebook page of Savurua Botanical Gardens in Fiji.


Lots more work to be done, clearly.

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Talking non-biotech coffee

by Luigi Guarino on April 24, 2016

I have said before that I would have a priori doubts about anything calling itself Talking Biotech. But I stand by what I also said in that post about the actual podcast of that name, by Dr Kevin Folta of the University of Florida, being largely free — though by no means entirely, alas — of the narrowness, nerdiness and preachyness that the name conjures up, at least for me. And so I congratulate Dr Folta on receiving a few days ago the Borlaug CAST Communications Award, given out annually by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). The recent episode on coffee, which we have have already Nibbled, is a pretty good introduction to his podcast, if you’re new to it. And I don’t say that just because I’m somewhat involved in the development of the coffee genetic resources conservation strategy mentioned therein.


Conference on eating weeds ramps up

by Luigi Guarino on April 22, 2016

The International Symposium on Biodiversity and Edible Wild Species will be held on 24-27 October 2016 in Antalya, Turkey and will be organized by the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies in collaboration with the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project (GEF/UNEP/FAO) and BFN Turkey.

All abstracts must be sent in no later than 31 July 2016, so get cracking.


What can seeds learn from medicines?

21 April 2016

According to a new research paper from the Quaker UN Office, those seeking positive policy change around seeds should look to progress in the “access to medicines” problem for inspiration. The paper identifies several similarities in context and recommends priority areas for action at the national, international and multilateral levels. We thank the author, Patrick […]

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Filling up at the Food Tank

20 April 2016

Ok, so let me not make the same mistake again. The Food Tank Summit is on right now, and is being livestreamed. Among the forthcoming highlights, our friend Simran Sethi, author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, will be moderating a panel on Beyond Calories: The Need for Nutrient Dense […]

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Finger on the pulses

20 April 2016

Very remiss of us not to mention until now the International Conference on Pulses (ICP2016) in Marrakesh. Alas, it’s ending today. But you can look over the tweets using the #TalkPulses hashtag. Or revel in the keynote presentation on the genomics of it all. Pulse Genomics Comes of Age from ICARDA Is it too late […]

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Have your fill of quinoa yet?

19 April 2016

Jeremy has followed up his monumental NPR post on the effects of high quinoa prices on Andean growers1, and his subsequent handy round-up right here, with a podcast over at Eat this Podcast. All the key players are duly interviewed, and it’s refreshing to hear the likes of Marc Bellemare, for example, in the flesh, […]

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Brainfood: Bean drought, Tree ranges, Lao rice landrace, Japanese wheat core, Japanese rice quality, Brassica diversity, Prosopis variety, Teff diversity, Agroecosystem diversity & resilience, Grassland spp adaptation

18 April 2016

Physiological traits associated with drought resistance in Andean and Mesoamerican genotypes of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Maybe more common in the Mesoamerican genepool, and associated with pod harvest index. Estimating potential range and hence climatic adaptability in selected tree species. It’s better if you have trial results. Genetic diversity and population structure of ‘Khao […]

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Plant Breeding Matters!

15 April 2016

Thanks to Mike Ambrose of the John Innes Centre for pointing us in the direction of a new series of videos from the British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) with the above title. He — and his genebank — feature in this first one… …and no doubt also in some of the others. LATER: And […]

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