On-line Natural History
August 4, 2005 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Wayne's World (an unfortunate name for a great website) is "An On-line Textbook of Natural History." I went looking for information on Vanilla, which I knew is the only commercial food product of an orchid, but which I didn't know is hand-pollinated, and found information on so much more. There are several extensive courses available on basic biology and botany, a huge section on chemicals in plants and animals, and tons of fun stuff like "The Truth about Cauliflory" and "Bat-Pollinated Flowers Of The Calabash & Sausage Tree." The index is extensive and covers everything from "Absinthe: An Herb That May Have Poisoned Vincent van Gogh" to "Ziricote: Beautiful Caribbean Hardwood In The Borage Family."
posted by OmieWise (10 comments total)
I just had to see the professor behind this. Be sure to click the image for his post-retirement pics.

Stunning site, OmieWise; thanks so much for posting it. The sausage tree alone is worth a visit.
posted by mediareport at 7:32 AM on August 4, 2005

..."Vanilla, which I knew is the only commercial food product of an orchid,..."

Actually, orchids are used in Turkey for a food product that is decribed as "like ice cream"...these are not, obviously, the same species as Vanilla. Orchids have a surprising number of commercial uses, but clearly, Vanilla is the one that everyone recognizes. (Yes, I grow orchids, including Vanilla.)

Cool site, great find.
posted by aldus_manutius at 7:59 AM on August 4, 2005

aldus_manutius writes "Actually, orchids are used in Turkey for a food product that is decribed as 'like ice cream'"

I'd love more information on this, as the vanilla-orchid connection has been one of my favorite little facts (factettes) for a while. I know that there is a use of orchids for food by some jungle tribes in SA, but I don't know much else about that either (but that's why I said commercial food use, although clearly I'm wrong about that).
posted by OmieWise at 8:23 AM on August 4, 2005

The name may be unfortunate, but it is Wayne's Word, not worLd.
posted by vaportrail at 8:31 AM on August 4, 2005

vaportrail writes "but it is Wayne's Word, not worLd."

Your right. What a putz (me, not him).
posted by OmieWise at 8:51 AM on August 4, 2005

Aw. And here I was about to break into a Party Time - Excellent chant..
posted by cavalier at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2005

it is Wayne's Word, not worLd

In the beginning was Wayne's Word, and the Word was with Wayne, and the Word was Wayne?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:10 PM on August 4, 2005

OmieWise: it's called "salepi dondurma" and here are a couple of links to check out...


http://www.orchidgreenhouse.com/helpfuls.cfm?Page=ice-cream (this is an article by Eric Hansen, author of the book "Orchid Fever")


Hope this leads in the right direction!
posted by aldus_manutius at 2:29 PM on August 4, 2005

Thanks for the links.
posted by OmieWise at 4:51 PM on August 4, 2005

Jesus! That's a dbase & a 1/2! I've just been wandering around for an hour or so. Wow.
So Santa Claus derives from an Amanita muscaria magic mushroom trip by lapland shamans eh? Learn something new every day.
posted by peacay at 12:48 AM on August 5, 2005

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