163 points by thunderbong 5 days ago | 24 comments
spott 5 days ago
Citrus taxonomy is fascinating. Of all the citrus that we have, there are only three "natural" plants: the mandarin, pomelo and citron. Everything else is some cross between these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_taxonomy, in particular, this graphic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_taxonomy#/media/File:Ci...
kibwen 5 days ago
On the topic of produce taxonomy: cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi are all just cultivars (selectively bred) from Brassica oleracea (wild mustard/wild cabbage).
pavlov 5 days ago
Also feels like a competition for how many different spellings English can borrow for the same etymology (cauli, coli, kale, kohl in these words, and additionally there’s also “cole” in coleslaw at least).
standardly 5 days ago
E. coli as well. It was sold with the lettuce there for a while.
blowski 5 days ago
I had to check whether you were joking. According to Wikipedia, E. coli is named after “bacteria found in the colon”, whereas the “cole” bit of cauliflower comes from the Latin for stalk.
standardly 5 days ago
Nope. Cauliflower is latin for colon flower. It's because of the taste.
thrawa8387336 5 days ago
Good bot
tootie 5 days ago
On the flip side, trees are not a specific taxa at all. Trees are the convergent evolution of multiple unrelated genera.
qup 5 days ago
Nice, I would not have noticed this save you pointing it out.
ed25519FUUU 5 days ago
Gardeners are intimately familiar because it makes it a pain to rotate brassicas. So many veggies are in this family!
friend_and_foe 5 days ago
Don't forget about cauliflower, lettuce, celery, collards, gai lan and bok choi. I'm very much impressed with the horticultural diversity of this single species of plant. Also of interest are closely related mustard species and their varieties.
Turing_Machine 4 days ago
Lettuce and celery are not brassicas.
bradrn 5 days ago
> Of all the citrus that we have, there are only three "natural" plants: the mandarin, pomelo and citron.

Well, not quite… there’s a bunch of other, more niche Citrus species too. For instance, here in Australia you might see finger limes (Citrus australasica) now and again. But it’s true that all the most widespread citruses are hybrids of those three.

samstave 5 days ago
Pomelo, if one hasnt had it, is AMAZING (if you like citrus)

but mostly for thgose who like pulp. The corpuscles in pomelo are huge - and its super delicious.

Highly recommend (its basically a gigantic 'orange' with its own flavor.

seabrookmx 5 days ago
They're a bit finicky though. The ones I find in the grocery store are often quite dried out (overripe I guess?).

If you get a juicy one though they really are amazing.

13of40 5 days ago
And much like a pomegranate or a crab, half the experience is taking it apart.
User23 5 days ago
My local grocery store had them for a few weeks but doesn’t stock them anymore. A shame, because they are delicious.
vram22 5 days ago
Is it somewhat like grapefruit then? Never eaten a pomelo.
the_af 5 days ago
It's the same fruit, "pomelo" in Spanish is "grapefruit" in English.

edit: ok, according to Wikipedia, "pomelo" is an ancestor of grapefruit. But in Spanish, "pomelo" is grapefruit.

ClumsyPilot 5 days ago
Nah, pomelo is like 2x larger, its skin is as thick as a picky, and has no bitterness in its tsate
the_af 5 days ago
Right. I was confused because in Spanish "pomelo" means grapefruit.
singleshot_ 5 days ago
I thought this too until I was corrected by a Cuban person. In (her) Spanish pomelo means pomelo and toronja means grapefruit.

Now there is definitely room for more than one of us to be right but I thought I should mention it.

the_af 5 days ago
Ah, yes: to be clear, different Spanish(es) have different words for things. Some differences are hilarious, such as the word for "to pick up" in Spain ("coger") meaning "to fuck" in Argentinian Spanish.

In Argentinian Spanish, "pomelo" is 100% "grapefruit". I'm sure of this: I'm Argentinian.

But yes, it's likely that we are both right and in Cuba this isn't the case!

aYsY4dDQ2NrcNzA 5 days ago
So is it an idiom in Argentina to say "go fuck a grapefruit"?
the_af 4 days ago
Haha, no, we use a different verb for "pick up"/"grab": agarrar.

So thankfully no sex with grapefruits is strictly necessary.

nickstinemates 5 days ago
Much less bitter than a grapefruit. It's a sweet, delicious fruit.
user070223 5 days ago
That What I remember from this excellent documentary about citrus[0].

I would also plug "Weird explorer" playlist on citrus[1]. His youtube channel where he tries to cover as much fruits as he can(his estimate is around 1% of all fruits)

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkMKJCvJKBk

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diy5s8_gNYM&list=PLvGFkMrO1Z...

candiddevmike 5 days ago
This is fascinating! I recently learned that not only can grapefruit mess with medications, but also other citrus-adjacent things like bergamot oil (earl grey tea). This taxonomy makes a lot of sense.
zanderz 5 days ago
The name "grapefruit" always seemed a little puzzling when compared with grapes, and it seems nobody is quite sure how the name got started, only that it is from Barbados. One interesting theory is that it is named after the "sea grape", the only kind that grew in that time and place, which has a bitter taste.


samstave 5 days ago
My grandmother couldnt eat any grapefruit due to he medications, this was a problem because for ~50 years, a grapefruit was her daily breakfast with some salt and sugar sprinkled on top.

To this day - I LOVE grapefruit in all forms... it sucks to think that there may be a time in the future where I cant eat it.

devilbunny 5 days ago
It's generally not a problem as long as you eat exactly the same amount of grapefruit every day. You just have to adjust the dosing to suit.

It's a lot easier to say "don't eat grapefruit" than it is to explain that "eat exactly the same amount every day" is not a lighthearted joke.

_a_a_a_ 5 days ago
That's an unsourced assertion with potentially serious medical implications if you happen to be wrong. Do you have anything to back it up?
devilbunny 5 days ago
I'm a practicing anesthesiologist whose wife is also a physician. I'm sure I can drag up a boatload of references if you're genuinely curious, but the short version is that almost anything can be adjusted for if you do it every day. If you're on warfarin for anticoagulation, eating vitamin K-rich foods will affect that. So it's not that eating spinach is forbidden; it's that you have to eat the same amount every day or very, very little ever.

I mean, we do give drugs that have primarily renal excretion to people with nonfuctioning kidneys. After we consult a pharmacist, of course.

And I have no control over my patients' behaviors, because I don't meet them until the day of surgery. I already have to take them as they are. I might delay or cancel a case if someone isn't optimized, but sometimes "really bad" is as good as they will ever be.

_a_a_a_ 4 days ago
No, it's okay. Coming from two people with your backgrounds, okay. What I really don't like is that sometimes people make assertions here and they really are not in a position to do so, and it looked like this was the case here until you clarified. Upvoted both.
devilbunny 4 days ago
No problem, nice internet person.
samstave 2 days ago
Probably the most "Drop The Mic" moments ever, thank you.
samstave 3 days ago
I just read this for the fifth time :-(

Super sad and dark.

devilbunny 3 days ago
The part where I acknowledged that some people are horrifically ill?

The American Society of Anesthesiologists has a Physical Status that is part of every pre-op examination we do.

ASA 1: a normal healthy patient. (You almost never see these.)

ASA 2: A patient with mild systemic disease.

ASA 3: A patient with severe systemic disease. Subtext of the definition of this class notes that it causes some impairment of function. This is our most common class.

ASA 4: A patient with severe systemic disease that is a constant threat to life.

ASA 5: A moribund patient who is not expected to survive without the operation.

ASA 6: A declared brain-dead patient whose organs are being removed for donor purposes.

There's a bit of personal style in there - my 4 might be someone else's 3 - but it's a shorthand way of saying "they're very sick". A 5 is someone who is actively trying to die.

samstave 2 days ago
Hey, I am 100%%% on your side. <3
piceas 5 days ago
I believe "just adjust the dosing to suit" is the tricky part.

One source wisely suggests asking your doctor.


Another has big words that needs a bit more time to digest.

Grapefruit juice–drug interactions https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1...

tzs 5 days ago
Wouldn't you also have have the grapefruit at about the same time everyday, and take the affected drugs at the same time everyday?

From what I've read there are two ways grapefruit interferes with medication.

1. For some drugs, such as statins, those drugs are broken down by certain enzymes. Grapefruit interferes with those enzymes, resulting in more of the drug circulating in your body. In effect it is as if you took a larger does of the drug.

2. For some drugs, fexofenadine is a common example, those drugs rely on certain transporters that move the drug into cells. Grapefruit interferes with those transporters, resulting in less of the drug reaching cells. In effect it is as if you took a smaller dose of the drug.

It sounds like this would be sensitive to timing.

devilbunny 5 days ago
Or more of it reaching the cells.

It's complex, and yes, you would have to eat the same amount every day at the same time as you take the drug to be sure.

As I said, it's a lot easier to say "don't eat it".

I am a doctor. Don't ask a doctor. Ask a small-store (NOT CVS or Walgreens, they don't have the time) pharmacist and tell them they can get back to you later with the answer.

samstave 2 days ago
>>"is not a lighthearted joke. "


The reason is that after my grandfather passed, my grandmother (who a life-long nurse) got together with Francis Stutsman, one of the top cardiologists in the nation (and former mayor for Saratoga California - they were life-long tennis friends) and he had a famous joke ;; (he also is the biggest Pistachio grower in California)

"Well, as your cardiologist, I am happy to tell you that your heart will last you the rest of your life.... which might be three months."

sowbug 5 days ago
I always thought the word "pomelo" was a portmanteau like tangelo or pluot. Turns out it's the OG. TIL.
felipemnoa 5 days ago
OG=original? TIL=Today I learned?
dredmorbius 1 day ago
Urban Dictionary (DDG !bang search !ud) is useful for defining slang / pop terms used online.

!ud OG -> "original gangster"

Which gives:

90s gang affiliated rappers called themselves "Original Gangsters" or "OG" for short. It's a title for real, actual crime and gang affiliated gangsters.


"OG" as others have noted has come to mean simply "original".

westmeal 5 days ago
Original Gangster Today I Learned
vineyardmike 5 days ago
“OG=Original gangster” has morphed to just mean original now
5 days ago
HeyLaughingBoy 5 days ago
Original Gangsta: the person who started the gang.
masswerk 5 days ago
In German, lemons are still citrons (Zitronen), while Limone applies to limes only and there is no such thing as a distinct concept of a lemon (which may or may not explain the fame of German engineering ;-) ).
ginko 5 days ago
Limes are called Limette in German. Limone refers to lemons in general although it's seldomly used.

(Guess there might be regional differences to the use though)

masswerk 5 days ago
Yes, where I come from, Limette has been the traditional name, but it has been mostly replaced by "Limone", when it comes to supermarkets, etc. I guess, these are pretty much interchangeable now.
xg15 4 days ago
German Wikipedia calls citron "Zitronatzitrone", which to this day I had never heard before.

TIL indeed.

samstave 5 days ago
Funny how we call bad cars "lemons" and there is a car called 'Citron'
dredmorbius 1 day ago
The usage for "defective or poor-quality product" pre-dates automotive use.

Apparently Volkswagen originated the term with respect to automobiles through a 1960s campaign (see: <https://www.madx.digital/learn/lemon-volkswagen-ad>), and George Akerlof's "The Market for Lemons" (1970, Nobel prize awarded in 2001).<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons>

Relying on Wikipedia: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_(automobile)>

Google's Ngram Viewer tends to support the timeline: <https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=lemon+car&year...>

zabzonk 5 days ago
presumably you mean "citroen"? in which case this is from the companies' founder's surname, and is french, and is not the name of a car but of a brand.
dmurray 5 days ago
Yes, and Mr Citroën was named after the fruit. Or more precisely, his grandfather, a grocer, was named after it.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Citro%C3%ABn

samstave 5 days ago
Ah, I was wrong. Thank you/
jxf 5 days ago
Highly recommend calamansi if you've never tried it before. It's very prevalent in Phillipine cuisine; I first came across it as a sorbet flavor and I'm absolutely hooked on them now. They're a sort of super-acidic version of a cross between an orange and a lime.
mc32 5 days ago
Where do kumquats fit? And where are the "Lisbon" lemons that are so popular?
friend_and_foe 5 days ago
this is mostly true. There are a few citrus varieties that until recently werent widely commercially cultivated. A prominent one is the cumquat, and there are a couple of native Australian citrus species that are now beginning to be cultivated that are not cultivars of the 3 core citrus species.
MoSattler 5 days ago
I've recently been delving deeper into our food ecosystem and have realized that the notion of consuming "natural" food, in its strictest definition, seems quite untenable. It's fascinating to note that all meat - be it chicken, beef, or pork - are all outcomes of intensive human-driven breeding and domestication processes.

A similar scenario extends to the realm of fruits, vegetables and even grains, where the majority of what we consume today are far-removed variants of their wild counterparts, owing to selective breeding over centuries. Essentially, the food items that constitute our regular diets wouldn't exist in a truly untouched, natural environment.

Edit: I'm not saying that this is bad, just that it's interesting.

thegrim33 5 days ago
Sure, but this is also the nirvana fallacy; just because the food available to you isn't 100% perfectly "natural" doesn't mean that it's bad/wrong or that you shouldn't strive to eat as natural as possible anyways.
resoluteteeth 5 days ago
> Sure, but this is also the nirvana fallacy; just because the food available to you isn't 100% perfectly "natural" doesn't mean that it's bad/wrong or that you shouldn't strive to eat as natural as possible anyways.

I think the point is that our conception of which foods are the most "natural" isn't really coherent in the first place.

roflyear 5 days ago
"It could be better" is not the nirvana fallacy.
Veen 5 days ago
But why? Your body doesn't care if the nutrients it gets are from naturally grown animals and plants or from a lab or factory, provided they are the right nutrients in the right quantities. It all gets broken down to its constituent components anyway.
mahogany 5 days ago
> provided they are the right nutrients in the right quantities

But isn’t that the tricky part: how do you figure out what is “right”? If you eat synthesized sugar and vitamin C in place of an orange, is it really the same thing? Perhaps the fiber or some other minerals in the orange affect how your body processes and digests the nutrients.

Nutrition is pretty complex and until we know what “right” is, I’d think it’s generally a safer bet to stick with foods that we’ve been eating for hundreds or thousands of years, rather than recently devised nutritive cocktails.

hombre_fatal 5 days ago
Actually there is reason to not prefer foods that we have evolved with because we may have evolved short term trade offs for reproduction that happen to be bad for us long term.

Classic example being how evolving with meat doesn’t make saturated fat good for us in the long term. And, further, replacing it with modern unsaturated fats (like canola oil) improves health outcomes. Your heuristic of "we've eaten it for a long time so it must be better" doesn't capture that.

Frankly, it seems inevitable that the optimal diet (one that maximizes health through all stages of life) will be a modern artificial one since it seems at its root just a technological problem. But we certainly aren't there yet where we can replace an orange with a synthetic orange pill. That is an interesting world to ponder though.

MoSattler 5 days ago
> to stick with foods that we’ve been eating for hundreds or thousands of years

Most modern foods (including unprocessed meat and plants) have only been around for a few hundred years or so.

mahogany 5 days ago
I'd take a few hundred over a few. My concern, as another commenter suggested, is mostly around radical changes without any longevity in testing or understanding. Even though a lot of our "natural" foods were created via artificial selection, it's a process that happened over many generations. When it comes to food and nutrition, my gut tells me to generally prefer slow over fast.

Personally I also think there is a big difference between selective breeding, and distilling foods into constituent parts in order to recombine in various ways. Maybe I'm overly paranoid, but I don't fully trust humans to understand and play that part of nature just yet.

ClumsyPilot 5 days ago
I think he is concerned about revolutionary change, i.e. processed food and artificial suppliments. Bread that is not actually bread.

Not evolutionary change - a. different variery of wheat in your bread.

ecnahc515 5 days ago
That's their point, that we should probably not be eating "modern foods".
MoSattler 5 days ago
Absolutely. But it's important to note that our bodies have evolved over millions of years to consume naturally occurring foods. Now, as we've started to create and consume foods with characteristics unfamiliar to our evolutionary history, such as highly processed foods, it's evident that this can indeed cause problems.
resoluteteeth 5 days ago
> Absolutely. But it's important to note that our bodies have evolved over millions of years to consume naturally occurring foods. Now, as we've started to create and consume foods with characteristics unfamiliar to our evolutionary history, such as highly processed foods, it's evident that this can indeed cause problems.

I think the original point is that virtually everything we eat has "characteristics unfamiliar to our evolutionary history" because the animals and plants we eat have been bred for various characteristics so extensively, so simply avoiding "highly processed foods" doesn't meant that we're eating the types or quantities of foods that humans would have for almost our entire existence

ClumsyPilot 5 days ago
Modern sourdough made of modern wheat is not very different to sourdough that was eaten in ancient Egypt.

But nobody evolved to eat large quantities of deep fried chicken.

hnfong 5 days ago
It really depends.

Did your ancestors really eat sourdough for thousands of years in ancient Egypt, or were they hunters or fishermen until more recent times? Agriculture was common but there are societies that don't depend on agriculture, even today.

5 days ago
n4r9 5 days ago
I think that's debatable! Sure, some foods with a lot of additives are problematic, but so is lots of red meat. Plus there's loads of other ways in which we've digressed from what we've evolved to be used to. Like sleeping on mattresses. Its reasonable to use "natural" as a weak guiding factor, but not for it to override current scientific understanding.
Karellen 5 days ago
> the notion of consuming "natural" food, in its strictest definition, seems quite untenable.

If not strictly natural foods, then what? I can't stand supernatural foods - the ectoplasm really doesn't agree with me. I'd like to try preternatural foods, but I've never been able to find a genuinely miraculous grower or farm to get them from.

crazygringo 5 days ago
This is correct. If you wanted only food unaffected by humans you'd need to live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle which could probably only support something like 1% of the world's current population.

But on the other hand, why consider domestic/bred species as "unnatural"? We exist in a symbiotic relationship with them, and there are symbiotic relationships all over nature.

ZoomZoomZoom 5 days ago
Breeding to kill and eat is not what symbiotic means.
mc32 5 days ago
I think the writer means human influenced evolution in domesticated animals (which may of may not for slaughter specifically)
taskforcegemini 4 days ago
>It's fascinating to note that all meat - be it chicken, beef, or pork - are all outcomes of intensive human-driven breeding and domestication processes

there's still animals in the wild though, that get hunted and eaten

pjc50 5 days ago
Well, yes. We domesticated everything and moved it around the world to optimal growing locations. Thus enabling is to have such a large number of humans. "Back to" movements have a tendency towards accidental mass famine.
MoSattler 5 days ago
We didn't just move species around, we essentially created new ones that exist solely under our care.
867-5309 5 days ago
this is why I try to practice pescetarianism. re gp's beef, chicken, pork: compare these animals to those they likely devolved from - dairy cattle from gazelles, antelope; poultry from cassowaries, ostriches; farm pigs from wild boar.. there is barely any resemblance left between these animals, having traded through inbreeding agility, physique, diet and genetic diversity for meat per kg per sqft per feed and docility. fish are the only remaining palatable animals most unfucked by humans
jsjohnst 5 days ago
> dairy cattle

Cattle are an older species than humans.

> fish are the only remaining palatable animals most unfucked by humans

Hate to break it to you, but a non-insignificant portion of store bought fish was cultivated / farmed.

867-5309 2 days ago
>Cattle are an older species than humans.

incorrect. humans tamed the aurochs around 10,000 years ago and the most common dairy cattle breed today, the Holstein, was bred around 2,000 years ago

>Hate to break it to you, but a non-insignificant portion of store bought fish was cultivated / farmed.

you're not really breaking anything. this is a completely different sense of "farming". their genetics and physiology have not been altered to the same extent as dairy cattle, nor do we interfere with their evolution by selectively breeding. "farmed" fish are not fat and docile. so any fish you eat today is likely to be the same fish you would have eaten 300,000 years ago

ClumsyPilot 5 days ago
Does it matter to your body if you eat meat from a water buffalo, or from a frog, or from a whale?

Not that much. You can eat almost any animal. You can even eat insects.

So why would it matter that a modern chicjen is different that it's ancestor? Assuming it has space to run around and is not factory farmed, it wouldn't matter.

867-5309 2 days ago
probably not, but by that point it just comes down to protein source, of which pulses and fungi are arguably better alternatives to meat

it matters because of the long term effects on health and ecology

TylerE 5 days ago
People eat insects all the time. What do you Think crab, shrimp, and lobsters are?
867-5309 2 days ago
cousins at best!
robocat 4 days ago
> pescetarianism

Yeah, fuck the planet! “31% of the world's wild fish stocks are estimated to be overfished, 58% fully exploited” and we fish for huge amounts of non-edible fish as a feedstock for aquaculture. Discl: I do eat fish.

867-5309 2 days ago
as opposed to "31% of the world's grain is used to feed livestock, 58% of humans are underfed", deforestation in favour of establishing farmland, methane buildup..

I imagine aqua feedstock is comprised of castoffs from the fishing industry, similar to cat/dog food

robocat 2 days ago

  global landings of forage fish have trended downward (Extended Data Fig. 2), reflecting full to overexploitation, and harvest restrictions (for example, in Peru) to prevent fishing above maximum sustainable yield levels.

  the annual catch of forage fish used to make fishmeal and fish oil decreased from 23 Mt to 16 Mt (refs. 47,48) (Extended Data Fig. 3). Global production of fishmeal from capture fisheries and trimmings decreased over the same period from 6.6 to 4.8 Mt (ref. 17). The production of fish oil declined from around 1.5 to 1.0 Mt and has been stable around 1.0 Mt during the past decade.
So fish meal is ~3/4 made up of non-edible fish (forage fisheries) and at most 1/4 trimmings (in 2017).

Figures do seem to show that most ocean fishing is for human consumption, but 16Mt of forage fishing is still more than a single digit percentage of total ocean fishing.

About 75% of fish meal is used for farm fisheries (aquaculture), the other 25% for animal farming on land.

Thank you - it is always good to be induced to double-check my assumptions! I don’t really know much about the topic except from some shallow googling (but that still makes me more knowledgeable than most).

I totally agree land farming is mostly very damaging, but it is visible and an individual can potentially control their impact on land. The damage by ocean fisheries and aquaculture is largely invisible, and it is very difficult to control an individual’s impact when eating fish: and unobviously the impact is very heavy.

hooverd 5 days ago
Eh, we could probably do with less corn-syrup water.
a_c 5 days ago
A related idea is that, the existence of certain species is purely because of human consumption. They wouldn't exist in the current form if we stopped eating them completely.
readthenotes1 5 days ago
Well, that's most animals, Right?
Giorgi 5 days ago
Not to drive into offtopic here, but it always baffled me how can humans look at results of hybrids, like a mule, a lemon, or at breeding and still claim evolution is not real.
AndrewKemendo 5 days ago
When you begin to interrogate the origins and history of everyday things, you’ll quickly notice how “New” and tailored to extremely modern humanity it is.

Broccoli for example is only about 2000 years old via an aggressive selective breeding of mustard/brassica, and no modern grain genetics are more than a few thousand years old with the last known distinct genetics being only 12000 years old.

The Anthropocene is everywhere you look when you start really looking

dabluecaboose 5 days ago
It's pretty nuts to look at Teosinte, the grass that was bred into corn/maize, and seeing how it compares to modern giant hulking ears of corn that we use for everything from fueling cars to sugaring drinks.
RandallBrown 5 days ago
I love that broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccolini, and way more are all the same plant.

It's like how poodles, corgis, Great Danes, and dachshunds are all just dogs.

It blows a lot of people's minds when I tell them.

darkwater 5 days ago
But then people scream "GMOs are not natural!"
otabdeveloper4 5 days ago
People care about GMOs because of corporate control inherent in the concept, not because it's "engineering". If regular people could make GMO crops in their back yard then nobody would have a problem with it.
jrajav 5 days ago
That's an especially nuanced take, to the point that it's the first time I've even encountered it. Nearly everyone I've met against GMOs seems to think the problem is that they're creating some kind of mutant plant that lacks "natural" elements, and will surely give us cancer. Of course there's anti-corporate sentiment but something is lost in the telephone game for many.
jandrese 5 days ago
Certainly you've heard complaints about "terminator" seeds through? That is just one aspect of the fight against corporate GMO practices.
darkwater 5 days ago
And what about non-GMO seeds that bear sterile fruits? (i.e. watermelons or grape with no seeds, the kids love them!)
jandrese 5 days ago
They are propagated via cuttings. Nobody is sending the cops to burn down your fields for taking some grapevine cuttings.
kibwen 5 days ago
It's fun to refer to selective breeding as "artisanal genetic engineering".
darkwater 5 days ago
It's fun but it's also true
red-iron-pine 5 days ago
Strictly speaking, those are genetically modified -- just a lot slower -- and through selection, not CRISPR
ClumsyPilot 5 days ago
basically patentability of food is a huge problem, I do not think you should be allowed to use state violence to prevent someone from growing sustenance
lordnacho 5 days ago
Regarding scurvy, I read an essay that said the cure actually needed to be re-discovered. Someone had decided to load the ships with a related citrus fruit that had much less vitamin C in it, leading to doubts about the hypothesis since it meant sailors would get scurvy despite getting citrus. This got cleared up later, and IIRC later yet someone figured out the critical ingredient.
emmelaich 5 days ago

It's been submitted to HN quite a few times.

5 days ago
helsinkiandrew 5 days ago
> The first lemons came from East Asia, possibly southern China or Burma. (These days, some prefer to refer to Burma as Myanmar. I’ll try to stay out of that controversy here and stick to fruit.)

The Myanese (or Burmese if you prefer) have been calling it Myanmar in English since 1989 - I think just about everyone uses that except the US government nowadays don't they?


Daub 4 days ago
The name was changed by the ruling Junta, for whom there is little love. I can't speak for everyone in Myamar/Burma, but the many people I know there are entirely happy to be referred to as Burmese.
titanomachy 5 days ago
Really interesting! From that article:

“In the Myanmar language, Burma is known as Myanmar Pyi (မြန်မာပြည်). Myanmar Pyi is the written, literary name of the country, while Bama is the spoken name of the country. Burmese… has different levels of register, with sharp differences between literary and spoken language.”

English doesn’t have such distinctions, so that partly explains why we get so confused about the name.

durron 5 days ago
The article (appropriately) glosses over a fun butterfly effect. The large export of lemons to Britain is a core reason for the existence of the Italian mafia.


vanderZwan 5 days ago
Geez, we're never going to run out of things we can blame on the British Empire, are we?

(this is a joke. I'm joking. I think)

Seriously though, I wish that wasn't paywalled. Sounds like a really interesting bit of story.

blakesterz 5 days ago
Gastropod has a great episode if you're into this kind of thing:


  "A slice of lime in your cocktail, a lunchbox clementine, or a glass of OJ at breakfast: citrus is so common today that most of us have at least one lurking on the kitchen counter or in the back of the fridge. But don't be fooled: not only were these fruits so precious that they inspired both museums and the Mafia, they are also under attack by an incurable immune disease that is decimating citrus harvests around the world. Join us on a historical and scientific adventure, starting with a visit to the ark of citrus—a magical grove in California that contains hundreds of varieties you've never heard of, from the rose-scented yellow goo of a bael fruit to the Pop Rocks-sensation of a caviar lime. You'll see that lemon you're about to squeeze in a whole new light."
haha69 5 days ago
Huh... so life doesn't give you lemons [1]... you make them...?

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_life_gives_you_lemons%2C_...

spiritplumber 5 days ago
I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!
pfdietz 5 days ago
Limonene has been investigated as a rocket fuel. The unsaturated bonds add a bit of extra energy compared to kerosene.
kibwen 5 days ago
"When a thirsty time traveler gives you the idea for lemonade, make lemons."
moffkalast 5 days ago
Following up that mention of Rose's Lime Juice: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose%27s_lime_juice

> The preservation of the fruit juice was usually done through the addition of 15% rum.

So lime, rum, presumably also water? That's almost a mojito right there.

bitshiftfaced 5 days ago
The author states that lemons were a human invention, which to me sounds like humans deliberately bred them this way. I'd find it more likely that the cross happened through open pollination, which is also true of many recent citrus that people grow. Humans were in the loop, but "human invention" goes a bit far.
tonymillion 5 days ago
hprotagonist 5 days ago
counterexample: corn.
bitshiftfaced 5 days ago
We can list off citrus that came from breeding programs as well as verified openly pollinated varieties. I'm not sure how this improves the discussion, though.
photochemsyn 5 days ago
For more details: Wu et al. 2018, "Genomics of the origin and evolution of Citrus"


> "To investigate the genetic diversity and evolutionary history of citrus, we analysed the genomes of 58 citrus accessions and two outgroup genera (Poncirus and Severinia) that were sequenced to high coverage, including recently published sequences as well as 30 new genome sequences described here... We identified ten progenitor citrus species by combining diversity analysis, multidimensional scaling and chloroplast genome phylogeny."

nemetroid 5 days ago
> In most languages of Europe, citron is the word for lemon, deriving from the Latin word citrus. This can cause some confusion, since the citron and the lemon are two different fruits. Fortunately for English speakers, we use different words for them and thus have an easier time keeping them straight in our heads.

I... what? Other languages use different words for the different fruits, too.

aceazzameen 5 days ago
I think I used to live at a place with a citron tree. I always thought they were lemons, but the pith was always much thicker and they tasted so much better than store bought lemons. Sometimes a hint of sweetness in them! I've always wanted to try a real citron to compare, but I don't know where I can even get them.
Pxtl 5 days ago
I'm just surprised that all those citrus fruit could be interbred. I knew about brassica, but afaik that was the reverse process -- selecting for features in a common ancestor, like how all the myriad breeds of dogs come from far-less-diverse wolves. In this case, we're mashing up a bunch of different plants with their own lineages.
Pxtl 5 days ago
Aside: you can still get Rose's Lime Juice, which is really a cordial. It's cornsyrup heavy but still is a very nice mixer. Mix with gin for a gimlet, or with club soda for a fun soft drink for kids.
jamiek88 5 days ago
Flashback, my grandad used to drink lager and lime! Rose’s lime juice is like sausage rolls and arctic roll. Iconic.
pazimzadeh 5 days ago
There is a fruit in Iran called Narang which looks like an orange but is sour. It has tons of seeds. It might be the same thing as the Seville orange. It's great on fish.
NoZebra120vClip 5 days ago
That is interesting, because the Spanish word for "orange" is naranja (both the color and the fruit).
the_only_law 5 days ago
Looks like it came from an Arabic word, based on a Persian word, based on a Sanskrit word. Not too surprising given Iberia was occupied by Muslim peoples for a while.

I was curious because I swear I’ve heard somewhere that the English word for the fruit is where the color gets the name, though I could be making that up, and was curious if that originated in other languages.

justincormack 5 days ago
The English word was a norange before switching to an orange, so it was naranja too pretty much.
friend_and_foe 5 days ago
This word is a clear descendent in all indoeuropean languages (and as a loan word in many others including Arabic) for the fruit and often for the color, which is named after the fruit, not the other way around. "Orange" the word is also derived from the root of the word "naranj".
5 days ago
Swizec 5 days ago
> who patented a product called Rose’s Lime Juice. This worked as well as lemons, and the Royal Navy mandated that the product be issued to all ships

Limes did not work to prevent scurvy. Steam ships just happen to be fast enough that nobody noticed. This is why everyone in Scott’s polar expedition got scurvy - limes didnt work, but they thought they would.


maxk42 5 days ago
Wrong. Limes do prevent scurvy. However the British Navy at that time failed to distinguish between limes and key limes, believing them to be the same fruit. Key limes have very little ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and they were further processed and stored in a way that eliminated what little vitamin C they had.
zokier 5 days ago
> Limes do prevent scurvy. However the British Navy at that time failed to distinguish between limes and key limes, believing them to be the same fruit. Key limes have very little ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

There is no single fruit called just "lime", its a category of fruits which includes key limes.


psychphysic 5 days ago
Life didn't give us lemons we gave lemons life!
dcanelhas 5 days ago
Interesting. Lemons are called "Limão Árabe" in Brazil (Limão being the word for Lime). Perhaps that was due to Columbus then?
nologic01 5 days ago
Came here for the invention of the lemon problem but was disappointed it is about real lemons
oniony 5 days ago
They're taking the pith: the citron's skin looks about the same thickness as the lemon's.
tgv 5 days ago
How would you know it's a cross-breed and not some spontaneous/random mutation?
KevinChen6 5 days ago
Fruit (ripe fruit) tastes delicious because it needs to be eaten by animals, and then the seeds can walk around with the animal's feces, which helps plants reproduce, which can also be explained by Darwin's theory of evolution. With such a sour taste as lemon, no animal will like to eat it, which is likely to lead to the extinction of this plant. Therefore, the evolution of nature is unlikely to have such a thing as lemons.
otabdeveloper4 5 days ago
Problem is that natural fruits as found in nature unmodified by humans are almost always very sour.
tgv 5 days ago
Interesting point. But some berries are quite acid. Are they also bred? Or is a lemon too big for a bird?
KevinChen6 4 days ago
Some fruits also taste sour when they are immature, because at this time their seeds are not yet ripe and they do not want to be eaten by animals at this time.

However, it is true that some fruits still have a sour taste when ripe, but fruits like lemons, which are very sour from beginning to end, are not common.

enticeing 5 days ago
In some cases acidity will lessen after a frost or some other environmental condition
Julesman 5 days ago
Wait, who still says Burma?
5 days ago
alex_smart 5 days ago
So, we just posting from r/popular now? Wtf?