Friday, April 1, 2011

Eat Your Vegetables!

April is an exciting month - especially for teachers. Math Awareness Month, Poetry Month, Shakespeare's birthday, Earth Day, and lots more. I thought I'd begin the month with another photo of Elegant Rock Cress, Arabis sparsiflora, which is the first and only true wild flower I've spotted so far this season. With that, I celebrate its family, Brassicaceae, known as the mustard family, or, sometimes, the cabbage family. The flowers have four petals, often resembling a cross, so the family was once named Cruciferae. It is now the rule to have family names created from a typical genus in the family. So, Brassica is the "type" genus. It includes cabbage, broccoli, mustard - actually more different food crops than any other plant genus. Nutritionists and farmers still call these the "cruciferous" vegetables. Our roadsides will soon be adorned with many wild members of this family - notably the wild mustards and wallflower. For now, the Elegant Rock Cress is a nice introduction to a new wildflower season. There are at least two plants blooming among the craggy landscape embraced by the Greenville Y, and the leaves of hundreds more have broken ground, so in a few weeks this area will be loaded with color.
I should add that this is also National Frog Month - but, this being April Fool's Day, you probably won't believe me.

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