Tuesday, December 20, 2011

These are not berries!


This is Juniperus communis from Botany Photograph of the Day. If you visit that website you'll learn two three things about juniper that you didn't know before: (1) juniper grows in lots of places, (2) the "berries" aren't berries, (3) gin comes from the French word for juniper.


  1. Huh. I always thought the seeds were arils. Is that incorrect?

  2. Hah. I already knew the one about gin, because my local bookstore, which has a truly excellent selection of books on minor points of history, once sold me a copy of The Much-Lamented Death of Madame Geneva: The Eighteenth-Century Gin Craze. It's a very interesting book, not just because the history is interesting (which it is) but because it's this whole usually-overlooked precedent on how to handle addictive toxic substances. (When gin first showed up in Europe, people got so addicted to it that it wasn't totally uncommon for people to drink themselves to death.) Parallels to modern issues abound.

  3. @The Vicar

    So did the subsequent "War On Gin" solve this problem ?

    Was it the juniper berry that contained the addictive substance ?

    Sounds similar to the absinthe/wormwood combination.