The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae) and a relative to the breadfruit.
It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India.
A jackfruit is a huge, spined, oval fruit that is believed to have been first cultivated in Indian rainforests. It’s mostly grown in tropical climates, and is the largest fruit in the world, weighing up to 80 pounds (about 36 kg) with a length of up to 3 feet (0.91 m).
Though it has a notoriously bad smell when ripening, the flesh and the seeds of the fruit are edible. Since it’s an acquired taste, the fruit isn’t much of a cash crop, but some people do like to serve it in desserts and curries. It’s also the national fruit of Bangladesh.
The exterior of the fruit is not edible, but the flesh and seeds are commonly eaten. When outside has turned from green to yellow, it is ready to be picked.
Jackfruit tends to be an acquired taste and frequently does not appeal to those unfamiliar with it. The ripening fruits have an odor that has been compared to the smell of rotting onions. This often discourages people from trying the interior.
Each fruit contains numerous sweet, banana-like bulbs that many people find delicious. One variety has a crunchy, rather than mushy, texture and is generally preferred. The seeds can be roasted and are compared to chestnuts in flavor. Cutting and preparing the flesh is tricky, because the fruit is very sticky and can actually be used as glue.
Jackfruit’s popularity varies in different countries, but in most places, the fruit is either cooked with rice or eaten raw. Many people don’t wait for the fruit to ripen but prepare it when it is still relatively small, unripe, and crunchy. In India, it’s eaten raw or used in curries, soups, and stews. It is also used in various deserts and is a common ingredient in fruit salads.
Image credit: http://sustainableways.blogspot.com/
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, Moraceae, growing throughout Southeast Asia, South India and most Pacific Ocean islands. It is also grown in the Leeward Islands and Windward Islands of the Caribbean and in Africa. Its name is derived from the texture of the cooked moderately ripe fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to freshly baked bread.
Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 25 m (82 ft). The large and thick leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more grapefruit-sized fruits per season. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year. In southern India, normal production is 150 to 200 fruits annually.
Breadfruit is a staple food in many tropical regions. The trees were propagated far outside their native range by Polynesian voyagers who transported root cuttings and air-layered plants over long ocean distances. Breadfruit are very rich in starch, and before being eaten, they are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. When cooked, the taste of moderately ripe breadfruit is described as potato-like, or similar to freshly baked bread. Very ripe breadfruit becomes sweet, as the starch converts to sugar.
Filed under Fruits and Vegs
Love Valley near Goreme, Turkey is famous for its bizarre ‘fairy chimney’ rocks cut naturally by the wind and rain. Göreme located among the “fairy chimney” rock formations, is a town in Cappadocia, a historical region of Turkey. It is in the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia and has a population of around 2,500 people.
Although the rocks may make people smirk, they are simply the result of ancient volcanic eruptions, approximately 9 to 3 million years ago during the late Miocene to Pliocene epochs, which covered the region with thick ash that solidified into soft rock many metres thick.
Erosion from the wind and water left only its harder elements behind, forming an unusual landscape of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and ‘fairy tale chimneys’, some of which are up to 130 feet (40 metres) high.
The huge phallic formations may look like a homage to male fertility, but they have been naturally formed by erosion of the volcanic rock.
The famous region of Cappadocia has seen an influx of tourists travelling by hot air balloon to check out the phallic-shaped pillars, which have been dubbed by some travellers, the ‘c*ck rocks’.
Every morning before sunrise, hundreds of hot air balloons rise into the air above Cappadocia, each holding around a dozen passengers for dawn-time hot air balloon travel, floating above and around the beautiful rock formations that has also jokingly been referred to as ‘willy valley’.
Cappadocia, or ‘Kapadokya’ in Turkish, translates as ‘land of the beautiful horses’ and tourists often catch a glimpse of long-maned horses galloping through the formations.
Filed under Animals
Fried Egg Jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) – this jellyfish is also known as Egg yolk jelly.
This jellyfish looks like a fried egg as seen from above. This cool-water species can be found in many parts of the world’s oceans. The diet of Fried egg jellyfish is a small fish and small crabs.
Fried egg jellyfish the size is about 60 cm (24 inches) in diameter. The tentacles can be up to 6 m (20 ft) long. The color of a fried egg jellyfish is a yellow spot in the big bell-like shape.
Spends much the time motionless or slowly pulsing the bell while drifting with tentacles extended 10-20 feet or more. Feeds on gelatinous zooplankton, especially other medusae.
The colored portion of the body under the transparent swimming bell consists of the gonads, stomach and the oral arms surrounding the mouth. Reproduction is complicated, involving egg and sperm production by the swimming adult or medusa resulting in a planulae larva that seeks a sheltered home. After attachment it grows for a while forming a polyp which then buds off small medusa. In the laboratory it took about 9 months for an ephyra to grow into a mature medusa.
The tentacles, which hang down some 10 to 20 ft, contain stinging cells (nematocysts). They use the stinging cells to capture prey such as shrimp and fish (Lion’s mane) or other medusa (Fried egg jelly). While the Fried egg jelly’s sting is described as a mild, the Lion’s mane sting can be quite painful.
A smaller jellyfish, Cotylorhiza tuberculata, typically found in warmer water, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, is also popularly called a fried egg jellyfish.
Filed under Animals
Cotylorhiza tuberculata is a species of jellyfish, also known as the Mediterranean jelly or fried egg jellyfish. It is commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea and Adriatic Sea.
C. tuberculata is usually less than 17 cm wide. The smooth, elevated dome is surrounded by a gutter-like ring. The marginal lappets are elongated and subrectangular. Each mouth-arm bifurcates near its base and branches several times. In addition to some larger appendages there are many short, club-shaped ones that bear disk-like ends.
The unusual looking Mediterranean jelly, also known as the “fried egg” jelly, has a smooth, elevated bell surrounded by a ring. It has numerous short, clublike appendages that expand and flatten at the ends, in addition to some longer ones. The clustered appendages contain mouth-arm openings that are colored deep purple.
This jelly only lives for about half a year, from summer to winter. Researchers think this short life span is the result of adapting to a highly seasonal environment where the water temperature varies greatly.
Photographer Barry Bland came across one of the free-swimming marine animal – and was thrilled to find that it looked just like a fried egg.
The jellyfish lives in warmer waters as it needs a lot of sunlight to survive. With bright blue balls of colour speckling its umbrella-shaped bell, the eye-catching sea creature alternated between resembling a decorative lamp and a welcome addition to a fry-up.
The Mediterranean Sea is one of the more common areas they’re found, as well as the Aegean and Adriatic seas, given their need for a large concentration of sunlight to survive.
And while they’re stunning to look at, they’re also considerably safer to be around than their counterparts, as their sting has very little or no effect on humans.
No life without water…
Phacellophora camtschatica – cool-water fried egg (egg yolk) jellyfish
Filed under Plants
Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume known as velvet bean, native to Africa and Asia and widely naturalized. The plant is notorious for the extreme itchiness it produces on contact (this is where the name “cow itch” comes from), particularly with the young foliage and the seed pods. It has value in agricultural and horticultural use and has a range of medicinal properties.
Mucuna pruriens (Cow itch, Bengal bean, Velvet bean) – sexy velvet penises
The plant M. pruriens, widely known as “velvet bean,” is a vigorous annual climbing legume originally from southern China and eastern India, where it was at one time widely cultivated as a green vegetable crop. It is one of the most popular green crops currently known in the tropics; velvet beans have great potential as both food and feed as suggested by experiences worldwide. The velvet bean has been traditionally used as a food source by certain ethnic groups in a number of countries. It is cultivated in Asia, America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, where its pods are used as a vegetable for human consumption, and its young leaves are used as animal fodder.
The plant has long, slender branches; alternate, lanceolate leaves; and white flowers with a bluish-purple, butterfly-shaped corolla. The pods or legumes are hairy, thick, and leathery; averaging 4 inches long; are shaped like violin sound holes; and contain four to six seeds. They are of a rich dark brown color, and thickly covered with stiff hairs.
When the plant is young, it is almost completely covered with fuzzy hairs, but when older, it is almost completely free of hairs.
In the fruit ripening stage, a 4 to 13 cm-long, 1 to 2 cm-wide, unwinged, leguminous fruit develops. There is a ridge along the length of the fruit. The husk is very hairy and carries up to seven seeds. The seeds are flattened uniform ellipsoids, 1 to 1.9 cm long, 0.8 to 1.3 cm wide and 4 to 6.5 cm thick.
M.pruriens bears white, lavender, or purple flowers. Its seed pods are about 10 cm long and are covered in loose, orange hairs that cause a severe itch if they come in contact with skin. The chemical compounds responsible for the itch are a protein, mucunain and serotonin. The seeds are shiny black or brown drift seeds.
Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) is an established herbal drug used for the management of male infertility, nervous disorders, and also as an aphrodisiac. It has been shown that its seeds are potentially of substantial medicinal importance. The ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda, traditionally used M. pruriens, even to treat such things as Parkinson’s disease. M. pruriens has been shown to have anti-parkinson and neuroprotective effects, which may be related to its anti-oxidant activity. Velvet Bean Extract contains 15% L-Dopa which is the immediate precursor of Dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes enjoyment and interest in life.
Filed under Animals
The real octomom: Scientists find record-breaking octopus that stayed with her eggs for over four YEARS.
Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four and one half years—longer than any other known animal. Throughout this time, the female octopus, a species known as Graneledone boreopacifica, kept the eggs clean and guarded them from predators – even though she gradually lost weight and her skin became loose and pale.
Graneledone boreopacifica produces hatchlings that are very highly developed, which gives them the advantage of a high potential for survival.
This research suggests that, in addition to setting records for the longest brooding time of any animal, Graneledone boreopacifica may be one of the longest lived cephalopods (a group that includes octopuses, squids, and their relatives).
Most shallow-water octopuses and squids live just a year or two.
As the years passed, her translucent eggs grew larger and the researchers could see young octopuses developing inside. Because the young octopus spend so much time in their eggs, by the time they hatch they are fully capable of surviving on their own and hunting for small prey. In fact, the newborns of G. boreopacifica are larger and better developed than the hatchlings of any other octopus or squid.
The female octopus clinging to a rocky ledge just above the floor of the canyon, about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) below the ocean surface.
Filed under Animals
A Worm That Resembles a Disembodied Butt
This disembodied rump is a tiny worm known as Chaetopterus pugaporcinus. In 2006, researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium discovered this species bobbing along 3,000 feet deep under the Pacific Ocean. MBARI biologist Karen Osborn and her co-workers recently discovered a new species of deep-sea worm, but a worm like no other. The worm is round in shape, approximately the size of a hazelnut, and bears a strong resemblance to a disembodied pair of buttocks. Because of this, it was given a Latin species name Chaetopterus pugaporcinus that roughly translates to “resembling a pig’s rear.” Upon discovery, this worm earned some profoundly unfortunate monikers, such as “pigbutt worm” and “flying buttocks.”
What appears to be the bull’s-eye at the center of the butthole is where the creature’s mouth is located. In order to feed, said mouth is surrounded by a “cloud of mucus” that catches organic detritus known as marine snow.
As far as their appearance goes, researchers at the aquarium offered up this explanation: “… researchers found that although the worms had segmented bodies, one of their middle segments was inflated like a balloon, giving the animals a distinctive gumball shape. All the other segments were compressed up against the front and back of the inflated segment, like a cartoon character whose nose and hind parts have been flattened in an unfortunate accident.”
Image: Karen Osborn (c) 2006 MBARI
This photograph shows the back of the newly named worm. The concentric ovals are body segments that have been flattened against a single central segment that has ballooned out to form the bulk of the worm’s body.
Image: Karen Osborn (c) 2006 MBARI
This photograph shows another view of Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, including its mouth parts.
Image: Karen Osborn (c) 2006 MBARI
The researchers still aren’t sure if the worms they have been studying are larvae or adults. None of the individuals they collected had any identifiable sex organs, eggs, or sperm. Thus, they could be, as the authors put it, “wayward larvae, swept off the continental shelf and unable to settle [to the seafloor], thus growing to unusual size and developing adult features.”
Chaetopterid polychaetes, distinctive members of nearly all benthic marine communities, have larvae that may spend months in the plankton before settling to live their adult lives in parchment-like tubes attached to the sea floor. The cover image shows an extraordinary new species, Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, that may have relinquished the benthic portion of its life and made itself permanently at home in the pelagic realm. Chaetopterus pugaporcinus possesses the same combination of larval and adult features regardless of the size of the specimen (1 to 2 cm), and it has lost features associated with benthic life that were previously thought to be characteristic of the family. The species is reliably found off the coast of California at about 1000 m, regardless of the seafloor depth. One of its 15 segments is greatly expanded, while the others are compressed to the anterior and posterior poles of the decidedly non-vermiform body.
On pages 40-54 of this issue, Osborn et al. describe this new species and its ecology.
Credits: Photo, Karen J. Osborn (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute); cover layout, Beth Liles, (Marine Biological Laboratory).
Kodachrome Basin is a state park of Utah, USA. It is situated 1,767.8 m above sea level, 19 km south of Utah Route 12, and 32 km southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park.
The scenery is usual here, dominated by 67 monolithic stone spires called sedimentary pipes. They accentuate multi-hued sandstone layers revealing 180 million years of geologic time. The color and beauty found here prompted a 1948 National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome after the popular color film.
This park is particularly popular during spring and fall, when temperatures are moderate. A concessionaire offers horseback rides and other activities and services.