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Tasty But Treated - Beware!

Tulips are members of the lily family. Many of the plants in this family are edible! Believe it or not, the tulip bulb could be substituted for an onion (although they are a little more expensive and less flavorful)!

But, BEWARE! Your tulip bulb may be covered with an invisible poison to protect it from rotting. A very small micro-organism called a Botrytis tulipae is often found growing on tulip bulbs. Botrytis tulipae is a fungus which infects tulip bulbs and plants causing the disease known as tulip fire. To prevent this fungus from spreading, commercial growers often treat the bulbs with a chemical called a fungicide. This chemical, once it has been applied to the bulbs is invisible, yet poisonous. Always wash your hands after touching and handling tulip bulbs in case they have been treated with a fungicide. And, NEVER eat any tulip parts from bulbs that are grown commercially.

Salad Anyone?
Many of the vegetables and fruits we eat are related to plants that once were growing in the wild. It is fun to think of our ancestors experimenting with these wild foods. However, sometimes it was a dangerous job to be the tester! Many plants are poisonous to people.
Have you ever eaten wild foods? An introductory plant taxonomy course is a great way to learn more, and edible plants classes are often offered through local parks and recreation departments, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.

Journaling Questions:
1. If you wanted to try tasting tulips, they would have to be free from any poisonous fungicides. How could you be sure that your tulips were free from any applied fungicide?

2.Tulips are only one kind of edible plant in the Lily family. Since there are also many other plants out there that could be poisonous you have to be educated before you attempt to eat any. What are some nearby sources for learning more about which plants are edible?

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