Humulus Lupulus No. 50 Common Hops, C. S. Rafinesque, Medical flora, 1828-1830. Rare Book Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Plant of the Month: Hops

As the craft beer industry reckons with its oppressive past, it may be time to re-examine the complicated history (and present) of hops in the United States

Plant of the Month: Cassava

Cassava can grow in hot climates with little rainfall. It may be the "root crop of the century."
Artocarpus heterophyllus

Plant of the Month: Jackfruit

The newly hot alternative to meat has a long history.
Jacques Cartier at Hochelaga engraving from A popular history of the United States: from the first discovery of the western hemisphere by the Northmen, to the end of the first century of the union of the states; preceded by a sketch of the prehistoric period and the age of the mound builders

Plant of the Month: Tree of Life

Indigenous people in North America used the conifer as an effective cure for scurvy during cold winters.
An Ayahuasca visual

The Colonization of the Ayahuasca Experience

“If someone is from the Amazon,” says Evgenia Fotiou, an anthropologist who studies Western ayahuasca usage, “they bring some legitimacy” to an ayahuasca ritual.
Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, Maria Sibylla Merian. Amsterdam: Apud Joannem Oosterwyk, 1719. Rare Book Collection, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. HOLLIS number 990013327990203941. Multimedia credit: Dumbarton Oaks/Elizabeth Muñoz Huber.

Plant of the Month: Guava

Often classified as an invasive species, guava ignites a longstanding, transnational battle over foreign invaders and local customs.
The Dragon tree (left) and Dragon tree fruit (right)

Plant of the Month: The Dragon Tree

Dragon's blood is all the rage now, but where does the scarlet resin come from?
Roman Street Scene by Ettore Forti

Everyone in Pompeii Got Takeout, Too

Archaeologists have found that snack bars called tabernae fed much of the city in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.
A developing Gall on a Quercus pubescens caused by the insect Cynips quercusfolii.

Are Galls Miracle Cures or Just Weird Growths on Plants?

For millennia, humans have exploited galls for medicine, fuel, food, tanning, and dyeing. Some people have considered them miraculous.
agave

Plant of the Month: Agave

The international popularity of tequila threatens the quantity, health, and biodiversity of all species of agave.