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Summertime Botany Unit

Summertime Botany Unit

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“On the first day of class, my Botany professor at the University of Texas held up a tomato and informed the class, “Every time you eat a tomato, remember you are eating a ripe ovary.” Ugh! That was information I could have done without! But admittedly, I was intrigued by this off-the-wall professor.”
“On the first day of class, my Botany professor at the University of Texas held up a tomato and informed the class, “Every time you eat a tomato, remember you are eating a ripe ovary.” Ugh! That was information I could have done without! But admittedly, I was intrigued by this off-the-wall professor.”

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Published by: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine on Jul 22, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/22/2014

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Summertime Botany Unit By Jessica Hulcy
On the first day of class, my Botany professor at the
University of Texas
held up a tomato and informed the class, “Every time you eat a tomato, remember you are eating a ripe ovary.” Ugh! That as information  could have done ithout! But admittedly,  as intrigued by this off"the"all professor. #is teaching style as e$ually unconventional as e chased him through meados and along roadsides, %eeping up ith him as e gathered ildfloers that he pointedout and scratched his every ord in our noteboo%s hile al%ing. n Te&as, the state floer is the bluebonnet or more specifically
Lupinus texensis
. . . and, of course, there is a state la against pic%ing them. 'aturally, our professor had been pic%ing bluebonnets one day hen a state trooper attempted to tic%et him . . . until the professor challenged the officer as to hether the pic%ed floer as
Lupinus texensis,
the true state floer, or
Lupinus havardii 
,
 
a loo%"ali%e
.
The officer finally tore up the tic%et.  loved this professor(s teaching and learned as much from him about ho to teach as  learned about botany.
Collect, Compare, and Categorize
)irst, you collect plant specimens and press them in a phone boo% or plant press, and then you begin to study and compare them, noticing all their similarities and distinctives. *omparing finally creates categories, hich turn out to be plant families.+y college professor taught us this rule “-o not obsess over grouping plants by genus and species but rather e&amine and group plants by li%e characteristics to
find 
the plant families.”  folloed his lead years later hen  rote a unit study on plants
 but ith a tist/the incredible similarities ere all a part of 0od(s incredible design! +embers of the grass family, the most important economic family to man, all have hollo stems, tiny floers, and parallel veined leaves, from crabgrass to bamboo to heat to oats to corn to rice to sugar cane. The mint family members have s$uare stems and usually have a strong odor mint, basil, rosemary, sage, and lavender. Therose family does not simply include the thorny beauties, but it includes all those edible fruits such as straberries, apples, pears, peaches, and cherries. +embers of the rose family have five petal floers coming from a floral cup that develops into a fruit li%e the fruit rose hips! The pea or legume family has floers that loo% li%e a mouth and seeds that gro in pods, such as beans, peas, peanuts, bluebonnets, isteria, and mes$uite trees. *omposites or 1steraceas ma%e up the largest family in the orld and are actually a number of tiny floers clustered together to loo% li%e one floer. 2hen you give a daisy, a sunfloer, a mum, a dandelion, or a thistle, you are essentially giving a bou$uet of floers in one floer/ a very economical bou$uet!
Eat and Revie
1s you learn about plant families, it is alays fun to coo% and eat representatives of each family. 3ummertime is a great time for salads, and salads can provide great revie of not only plant parts but also of hat family each plant comes from. 3tart building your revie salad ith lettuce or
leaves
 from the *omposite family. 'e&t, add
flowers
from the *ruciferae family by adding pieces of broccoli and caulifloer plus
roots
 and
stems
 from the +ustard family ith sliced carrots and celery. 'o salad

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