An Isolated Plant Family

There is a family within the angiosperms (flowering plants) that, from an evolutionary viewpoint, is relatively isolated. The only family that's somewhat closely related to it is that of the morning glory, Convolvulacea. The family in question has about 1700 species, which is not much compared to the diversity within the pea, orchid and sunflower... Continue Reading →

Why the Smell of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice is Always Better

Something such as prosaic as the smell of freshly squeezed orange juice turns out to be more complicated than most can imagine. In grapefruits, a single compound called 1-p-methene-8-thiol is highly characteristic of the juice's smell. In lemons, two versions of citral (geranial and citral), differing only in the position of groups across an untwistable... Continue Reading →

Hot Chili Pepper Chemistry

The English word pepper is ambiguous. Botanically it could be refer to plants that produce black powdered pepper. The angiosperms (flowering plants) who serve as a source of that spice belong to the order Piperales and to the 3600-member family Piperaceae. (Kings play chess only for goodness' sake is a mnemonic for remembering the order of... Continue Reading →

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