Celebrating Women in Science: Michiyo Tsujimura and the Health Benefits of Tea
Let’s spill the tea! We love it in our drinks, our food, even our skincare. I’m talking about green tea. Today green tea is so mainstream you can find it at your local Starbucks or coffee shop as a matcha latte. So many things have a version that is matcha flavored that some people consider it “basic” or a “personality type”. Green tea itself can be bitter, so why do so many people enjoy drinking it? Well, number one we tend to add a lot of sugar to mask that bitter flavor and number two we know it provides us
The Auspicious Plants of Lunar New Year
We are fortunate to have large Asian American communities in both Orange County and Los Angeles who will be celebrating the Lunar New Year this month and hosting festivities for the public to enjoy. This year at Sherman Library & Gardens we are marking the Lunar New Year with a display of auspicious plants that have special meanings during this time. We have also created a scavenger hunt which will guide our guests to find some of these lucky plants in our garden. Many countries throughout Asia celebrate the new year according to the lunar calendar. This means the Lunar New Year celebration can begin anywhere between January
Mochitsuki: My Holiday Tradition
Sticky, chewy, delicious! Mochi is an iconic and beloved food of Japan. There is a simplicity and beauty in one ingredient creating something so delicious. This simple food is one of the first things that come to mind when I think of the holiday season. When you think of Christmas, most people imagine opening presents, Christmas trees, stockings, and enjoying this time together. I think of getting up early to go to my auntie and uncle’s house to make mochi with our extended family and friends for the new year. The origin of rice cakes can be traced back thousands
Celebrating the Harvest Around the World
Harvests are celebrated all around the world and here in the US many people celebrate the harvest through Thanksgiving. However, there are many other harvest festivities to discover. In China, and Taiwan people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. This festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon, or mid-September to early October in the Gregorian calendar. This is when the moon is believed to be the brightest and coincides with harvest time in autumn. Families come together during this time to sample the autumn harvest, light lanterns, and worship the
The Many Meanings of Mums
The chrysanthemum is a beautiful flower with so much meaning behind it. ‘Mums’ are often associated with the arrival of fall as they bloom during this season and are very popular. As we are currently enjoying the fall season, let’s enjoy the beautiful chrysanthemums! In the US, the chrysanthemum generally symbolizes friendship, happiness, and well-being. However, If you want to express your sorrow or neglected love you would give a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums. This may be quite confusing if you handed these same flowers to someone in Japan. The yellow or golden chrysanthemum represents longevity, rejuvenation, nobility, and is
Carnivorous plants have long fascinated plant enthusiasts, well before Charles Darwin published the first truly popular and widespread book ‘Insectivorous Plants’ discussing the known carnivorous species and their adaptations to growing in low-nutrient environments. Today, botanists are continuing to expand on our understanding of carnivory in plants, finding species as common as teasel exhibiting carnivorous behavior. Darwin himself noted multiple species that may be trapping and digesting insects in ways similar to sundews and butterworts, to include the familiar tobacco and petunia. With the ever-expanding definition of carnivory in plants and sub-categories like proto-carnivorous, near-carnivorous, and even ‘murderous’ plants, it’s
Japanese American Farming in California: A Personal History
To mark Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, our Education Coordinator, Kiyoko Nakatsui, shares her family history and their multi-generational association with agriculture.
By the time I was born the farm was just a memory. Like many other Japanese American families mine started their American dream tilling the land. All of my grandparents’ families were farmers at some point. Prior to World War II Japanese Americans farmed up and down the west coast and some eventually returned to the land. On my mom’s side my grandma’s family farmed in Montana and my grandpa’s family in Orange County. On my dad’s side my grandma’s family farmed in Arcadia and my grandpa’s family in Stockton. Since my maternal grandmother’s family didn’t live on the coast they were able to stay on their farm even during the war. However, everyone else was forced to abandon their farms to be placed in internment camps.
Bromeliads are one of the most spectacular groups in the new world tropics, occupying many of the harshest habitats across the Americas. With around 3,500 species currently accepted, the Bromeliaceae is by no means a large family when compared to Orchidaceae (~30,000+ species) or the Asteraceae (~30,000 species). However, its diversity rivals that of any tropical plant family. Originating from the Guiana Shield, a relict of land relatively undisturbed by major climatic or geologic changes for many millions of years, the family has since radiated through and speciated throughout tropical/subtropical America. A major factor in such speciation has been the
Edmond Albius and the Story of Vanilla
Ice cream, cake, frosting, candy, pudding, the list goes on! Vanilla is one of the quintessential flavors for desserts, and a scent that you can find perfuming homes around the world. It’s a classic flavor you can find everywhere, but did you know that it was once coveted for its rarity and supposed medicinal properties? The vanilla orchid has only one known pollinator, the Melipona bee. Both are native to Mexico, so when the vanilla orchid was first exported in the late 1700’s around the world, none of the plants produced vanilla pods.