Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Love Apple Misnomer

Wild rose hips (c) John AshleyJust a friendly reminder - September is the best time of year to collect wild rose hips. The higher elevations around Montana have seen their first light frosts (which converts some of the hips' starches to sugars) but we haven't had a hard freeze just yet. Rose hips are at their prime during this short window of time.

There was a time - not too long ago - when all of our foods were gathered from the wild. What was natural for the majority of our species' existence is now called "organic." Whatever. What I don't understand is how roses got stuck with the moniker "hips" (or "haws") while tomatoes were bestowed with the name, "love apples." Apparently the French believed (incorrectly) that tomatoes were aphrodisiacs, even though they were considered (also incorrectly) to be toxic in anything but small amounts. So even though roses are related to apples, they got short-changed in the botanic name game.

(Side note: the insect below is a damselfly, not a dragonfly. Damselflies are smaller, have protruding eye stalks, and hold their wings above their body. They are sort of like little brothers to dragonflies.)

Damselfly on rose hip (c) John Ashley
Damselfly perched on a wild rose hip