What plant can be used to make
  1. fibre
  2. a dye
  3. blotting paper
  4. fine quality paper
  5. a herbicide
  6. livestock feed
  7. a butter
  8. a yoghurt
  9. a vegetable
  10.  a nutritious bread (with other flour)
  11. a tasty snack
  12. a coffee substitute
  13. tobacco
  14. flotation material for life-jackets
  15. microscope slides
 16. This plant's oil is used in making
   Soap, candles,  varnishes, paint,  the finest lubricant.

  And it has these properties:
  1. It's edible oil is said to be the equal of olive oil
  2. Weight for weight, it contains 55% protein (nearly as much as steak)
  3. Contains many vitamins and minerals
  4. Absorbs heavy metals and so is used to remediate toxic soils
  5. Has been used medicinally traditionally for treating high fevers, malaria, snake and spider bites, bronchial infections, digestive disorders, rheumatic pain.
  6. Has potential antioxidant and antimicrobial use. Treatment of bacterial and fungal infection (recent research)
  7. Hyperallogenic latex for rubber gloves, personal-care products (ongoing research)

It is used  by mathematicians to illustrate nature's patterns and numbers?
Picture
Pattern of seeds showing theFibonacci series

Picture
Van Gogh's sunflowers
And what has been an inspiration to many artists?


Yes.  The remarkable sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
  No wonder the native American Indians have been using it for over 5000 years.    It was not brought to Europe until the 16th century, where the many benefits of its oil were further developed.
Sunflowers are annuals (so why am I including it on a site that talks mainly about perennials? The Land Institute http://www.landinstitute.org/vnews/display.v is  currently exploring the potential of these as a perennial seed crop.
Also, our well-known Jerusalem artichoke is related to the sunflower and is a perennial vegetable.
Sunflowers are impressive in any garden, and come in many colours and sizes.
 
A new post from one of my favourite writers -  Craig Mackintosh   Let Nature Speak – Learning from Ants 
This is 54 mins long, but well worth watching.

Craig Mackintosh remarks "In addition to the ants’ own social structure, the video shows some practical examples of how the colony creates symbiotic relationships with other creatures — forming partnerships, rather than merely seeking to exterminate. All in all it’s a thought-provoking watch I’m sure you’ll enjoy."
Craig has also added another video - talking about the ‘we’ culture, instead of the ‘me’ culture.
He concludes "It’s clear that indigenous cultures have much more to teach us, than we them…."

What do you think?  Please add your comment
 
Fifty million years of farming. What?
We've only been around 200,000 years!  
Well, here it's a case of small is beautiful and sustainable.
Very small. 
Ants.
These  leafcutter ants  have worked out a complex system of agriculture, cultivating bumper crops of fungi that are the ants' sole food source. Foragers cut pieces of leaves from trees and drag them home to their nest, where others chew them into a paste that becomes the fungi's dinner.How clever is that!
More here:
Leaf cutter ants. The first Agriculture
Here is another from the National Geographic