Source: Wikipedia

When I had sugar-apple for the first time as a child, I thought it was a cool fruit! There is no other fruit like it. The flesh can be peeled off one by one with the outer scales; but when I put the flesh in the mouth, I soon discovered that there is a seed hidden in each piece of flesh. At that time, my eating technique was not good enough, so after I tried to move my lips and tongue for quite a while, there was still some pulp sticking on the seeds when I spit out. Seeing the…


Two-rowed and six-rowed barley. Source: Wikipedia

There should be many people in Taiwan who have only heard of wheat but not barley, but don’t underestimate it. It was the first crop domesticated by humans along with wheat, peas and lentils!

Barley is an annual plant of the gramineous Hordeum genus. Its ancestor is wild barley that is widely distributed in the eastern Mediterranean basin and countries in West Asia. Humans have known how to pick up wild barley as food about 50,000 years ago. Originally, in order to spread the seeds of wild barley to distant places, the grains of wild barley would fall one after…


Source: Wikipedia

When it comes to Cannabis, what do you think of? Is it marijuana? Or rope? Although Cannabis is illegal in many countries, it was once an important fiber crop. Humans have used Cannabis for at least 10,000 years: canvas, rope, clothing, and paper can all be made from Cannabis fiber, and even the United States’ Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper!

Cannabis originated in East Asia and is a dioecious annual herb. In ancient China, Cannabis was called “Tiao”(枲), and it was mainly distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. The world’s earliest record…


Source: Wikipedia

Every Dragon Boat Festival, there will be delicious rice dumplings and a dragon boat race. I wonder if you have noticed that during the Dragon Boat Festival, there are often a bunch of plants in front of the door of every house? The branches with waxy oval leaves are banyan trees, the pointed leaves are calamus, and those that look a bit like chrysanthemum leaves are silvery wormwood (Artemisia argyi).

Silvery wormwood is a perennial herb belonging to the genus Artemisia of the Compositae, widely distributed in Asia, North and South America, Oceania and China. In Taiwan, in addition to…


Source: Wikipedia

Have you eaten garlic? I think many people’s first impression of garlic should be its smell! My earliest memory of garlic is that fried water spinach (wong cai) will always contain fried garlic cloves. Garlic is a perennial plant of the genus Allium of the monocotyledonous family Allium. Garlic is native to Central Asia (including the eastern part of Tianshan in Xinjiang), and its wild species can be found in Siberia. Cultivated garlic rarely bears seeds and reproduces with bulbs; but wild varieties can be reproduced with seeds. The edible part of garlic is not just its bulb (there are…


Source: Wikipedia

There should be very few people who have never eaten brown mustard (芥菜,Brassica juncea) in Taiwan. Although many people don’t like fresh brown mustard with a bitter taste, people should be familiar with zha cai(榨菜), suan cai(酸菜), fu cai(福菜), and meigan cai(梅干菜). You must have eaten the “zha cai with pork noodle soup” at the street and alley noodle shops and the “Steamed pork with meigan zai” during the banquet. No matter if it’s zha cai, suan cai, fu cai or meigan cai, they all can be made of brown mustard.

Brown mustard is a plant of the Brassica genus…


Source: Wikipedia

The first time I heard the name of a breadfruit tree was on the campus of my elementary school. At that time, my teacher said that although the fruit of the breadfruit tree really looked like bread, it was too cold in Taipei, and it was native to the tropics that it could not bloom and bear fruit in Taipei.

Later when I became a teacher in Hualien, I discovered that a special vegetable soup sometimes appeared in the school cafeteria in summer: a soup with yellow flesh and white seeds in it. …


Source: Wikipedia

There are very few people in Taiwan who have never seen common beans! Whether at home or in a buffet, stir-fried common beans are very common vegetables; freshly fried common beans are served on the table, and you can already taste the sweet taste just by smelling the aroma! But the same beans have become like “risotto” dishes abroad: the “red bean and rice” in the southern United States is based on the mature seeds of beans, rice, onions, and bacon (or pig back, pig feet, country Sausages) were cooked together; when I had just gone abroad, I found it…


Source: Wikipedia

Do you like to drink papaya milk? In Taiwan, there is a lot of papaya milk in the cold drinking houses and fruit juice stalls in the streets and alleys. However, papaya is more than papaya milk. In some vacant lots in Taiwan, there is often a papaya plant with many fruits, as if it should belong here.

Although papaya is so common, like many Taiwanese fruits, it is an exotic product. The official name of papaya is “fān mù ɡuā”(literally meaning “barbarian’s papaya”), which is a herbaceous dicotyledonous plant from the papaya family in tropical America. The Mayans in…


Source: Wikipedia

Do you like the “assorted vegetables’’ commonly found in Taiwanese bento restaurants? In the “assorted vegetables’’, the yellow ones are corn, the orange ones are carrots, and the green ones are peas. Pea (garden pea, Pisum sativum) is an annual herbaceous plant belonging to the leguminous family. The tender stems, leaves, pods and seeds can be eaten. In Taiwan, peas are divided into soft pods (pod peas), soft beans (cooked beans, American beans), leaves (pea sprouts, pea tips), sweet beans (sweet peas, crisp peas) and bean sprouts (pea baby) etc. The world’s largest producer of peas is China, accounting for…

葉綠舒 Susan Yeh

黑手老師、科普作者、資深書蟲 Educator, popular science writer and bookworm.

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