In the arid American West, there resides a genus of bushes, which by Midwestern standards appear hardly alive. The half-dozen members of the genus Ephedra are called jointfirs and look like clusters of skinny sticks, sorta green in the wet season and more brown or gray most of the year.
Longtime readers may recall that five years ago I built a 1 1/2 story trellis which runs 50 feet, the length of our house. It is planted with our native trumpet honeysuckle vines, which have been selected to bloom from mid-spring through late autumn.
This is a story about our love affair with coumarin, a chemical produced by many members of the plant kingdom. The sweet, enticing odor of coumarin sort of resembles that of vanilla, but the flavor is slightly bitter.
Rhododendrons in bloom on a mountaintop along the Blue Ridge Parkway, western Virginia and North Carolina. Photo from Encyclopedia Britannica. Unlike animals, plants cannot run and cannot hide from their predators.