Newsletters 2016

Bruce writes, “We are the second largest tropical country, after Brazil, and owe it to the world to fully exploit and responsibly develop our tropical location.”

Organisations mentioned: International Society of Horticultural Science, The Botanical Ark, Cairns Botanic Gardens, The Palmetum, Queens Park Gardens, Anderson Park Botanical Gardens, Xishuangbanna Botanical Gardens, Singapore Botanic Gardens, University of California, Davis campus

Bruce writes about the importance of mangroves as food. Having used the word “mangrove” in the “Where does it grow?” field in the Food Plants International database Bruce could identify about 140 edible plant species that grow in mangroves.

Edible plants in mangroves: Golden mangrove fern Acrostichum aureum; Pond apple Annona glabra; Avicennia, Red mangrove Bruguiera gymnorrhiza; Mangrove trumpet tree Dolichandrone spathacea; Nypa palm Nypa fruticans; Asiatic mangrove Rhizophora mucronata; Stilted mangrove Rhizophora stylosa; Firefly mangrove Sonneratia caseolaris

Places mentioned: University of Kerala in India; Nagenahiru Center for International Education, Sri Lanka

“The Plant List recognises 1,395 species in the Sapotaceae family and in our Food Plants International (FPI) database we have 360 species that have edible parts.”
Plants mentioned: edible plants in the Sapotaceae family – Burckella, Chrysophyllum, Englerophytum, Manilkara, Mimusops, Planchonella, Pouteria, Sideroxylon, Synsepalum

I try to vary the talks to suit the target audience but it always has a common theme of using the amazing diversity of food plant resources to feed a hungry and malnourished world.
The ecojesuits in Zambia and the International Panel on Sustainable Food Systems have both written thoughtful and insightful papers on food production.

1.2 billion people who do not have access to electricity; 775 million adults who can’t read; nutritionists dealing with under-nutrition talking about the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life; finding ways to get Food Plants International information out to these people

The International Society of Horticultural Science gave out a wonderful pamphlet at a recent conference Bruce attended. They showed how most of these incredible lists of other chemicals in food plants are often linked with the colour of the food.

Plants mentioned: Brassica oleracea var. capitata; Casimiroa edulis; Daucus carota; Davidsonia pruriens; Elaeocarpus angustifolius; Morinda citrifolia; Musa sp (AAA)Cavendish; Oryza sativa; Pandanus conoideus; Prunus italic; Terminalia catappa

Places mentioned: Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka
Organisations mentioned: International Society of Horticultural Science;
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

The fig family is another very large family only now getting sorted out botanically. There are 882 recognised species, of which 238 have been recorded as edible.

Plants mentioned: Figs in the Moraceae family
Places mentioned: Asia, Pacific, Americas

The ginger family of plants is a fascinating group of plants. The Food Plants International database has 234 species that are edible.
Photographs and a list of the Zingiberaceae family.
Places mentioned: Kerala University Botanical Gardens in southern India; Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand

Bruce discusses edible ferns which can make up a significant and attractive part of people’s diets.

Plants mentioned: Angiopteris evecta, Athyriums, Blechnum orientale, Cyathea tree ferns, Diplazium esculentum, Matteuccia struthiopteris, Nephrolepis biserrata, Osmunda cinnamomea, Stenochlaena palustris,

Places mentioned: Africa, Asia, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, USA, Yunnan

Bruce discusses additional food plants which grow in sago swamps to compliment people’s diets.

Plants mentioned: Sago Metroxylon sagu, Nipa palm Nypa fruticans, Kangkong Ipomoea aquatic, Raffia palm Raphia farinifera, Climbing swamp fern Stenochlaena palustris

Places mentioned: Sepik River and Western Province in Papua New Guinea

Bruce writes an overview of his 50 years’ interest in edible plants.

Plants mentioned: Brassicaceae family, mushrooms, seaweeds

Countries mentioned: Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Zimbabwe

Bruce discusses the many food plant databases available. Neglected and underutilised food plants have the potential of restoring agriculture and making useful contribution towards feeding the world.

Plants briefly mentioned: yams, taros, bananas

Some organisations: PROSEA (Plant Resources for South East Asia); PROTA (Plant Resources for Tropical Africa); Crops for the Future Research Institute (CFFRI); Plants for the Future and Tropical Species Database;