Nature is interesting and strange. This is especially true in the plant world. Most people do not know that cherries grow on trees or that strawberries can be found on vines. And because of the way today’s transport has developed, we can enjoy food from any part of the globe. People may enjoy vanilla from Madagascar, or they may eat bananas that grew on Ecuador.
One of the drawbacks of this is that people often have no idea where the plant they are eating comes from or how it is grown. Here are some of the more unusual ways in which our favorite plants grow.
The pineapple, for example, does not grow on trees. Many of our favorite cartoons might lead you to believe they do, but that is not the case. Pineapples have palm-like leaves, no wooden stem, and they share the same family tree as air plants. The pineapple we all love grows from the middle of the plant, but this only happens when the plant flowers. This process might take anywhere from two to three years. Another fun fact is that pineapples are in fact berries. Cluster berries, if anyone wants to be more specific.
Cocoa, on the other hand, comes from the seeds of a plant known as the Theobroma cacao tree. The more exciting thing about cocoa is the way it is processed. It is not enough to grind the seeds; they need to be roasted and fermented as well. When that is finished, they are suitable for grinding and drying to make the final product.
Next up is vanilla. Vanilla is the edible part of the orchid. It is produced in many parts of the world like Madagascar, but the bee that can pollinate vanilla is only native to Mexico and some parts of Central America. Because of this vanilla needs to be pollinated by hand in the parts of the world that do not have these bees and this, in turn, makes vanilla, real vanilla, as expensive as it is.
Every stalk of the asparagus grows up from the ground in a way that resembles small trees. The fact that it is a perennial plant means it grows back each year, even if you cut it. If the plant is not cut on time, it can grow enough to flower. It also develops leaves that give it a fern-like appearance. Asparagus is even capable of producing berry-like fruit, but these are toxic to humans.
Another unusual plant is the cashew, and it grows on trees. The cashew fruit is sometimes even called the cashew apple, but the cashew nut itself only grows on the bottom part of the fruit. It is encased in a shell and almost entirely separate from the fruit.
The peanut is also strange in the way that it is not a nut but a legume. This means they are closer to lima and kidney beans than anything else. This is evident as soon as you see the way they grow from the ground, almost entirely similar to beans.
Coffee comes from seeds just like chocolate does. The seeds are found in cherry-like fruit which is often called coffee cherry. Western countries almost wholly ignore the cherry like casing, but in other parts of the world, it is used to brew tea.
As for artichokes, they come from the same family that thistles do. People just consume their flowers before they had the chance to bloom.
Finally, Brussel sprouts are edible buds, and they come from the same family that cabbages come from. They even grow on a plant that resembles a stalk which had a cabbage stuck onto its top, hence the name.
There are many other examples of strange plat growth in the world, but these are the most interesting ones.
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