Feathertop Grass

Tickle, tickle. Feathertop grass can tickle.

  • Feathertop grass is perennial grass native to northern Africa and part of the Middle East.
  • Feathertop grass has the scientific name of Pennisetum villosum.
  • Feathertop grass is from the family Poaceae, the family of true grasses, and the family is also referred to as the Gramineae family.
  • ‘Feathertop grass’ is also known as ‘feathertop’, ‘long-style feather grass’, ‘white foxtail’ and ‘purple squirrel tail grass’.
  • Feathertop grass grows to be 15 to 70 centimetres (6 to 27.5 inches) tall, and has thin green leaves.

Feathertop grass, white, clumps, invasive, Ten Random Facts, Australia

  • Feathertop grasses have soft looking feathery flower spikes that are white to green coloured, and sometimes have a touch of purple, that turn a creamy yellow or white colour when they age.
  • Feathertop grasses are classified as weeds in some countries and states, including states of Australia, and can often be seen growing en masse in fields or paddocks, along the roadside and in other areas.
  • Feathertop grasses bloom mainly in summer, although the flower spikes can also be seen in spring and autumn.
  • Feathertop grasses grow from rhizomes and spread via underground root systems, cuttings, and seed dispersal through water and waste systems and wind, among others.
  • Feathertop grass is grown as a decorative plant in non-invasive areas, and prefer sunny conditions and warm climates.
Bibliography:
Feathertop, 2011 Weeds of Australia, http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Pennisetum_villosum.htm
Pennisetum villosum, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennisetum_villosum

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Pomegranate

“Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.” Song of Solomon 4:3

  • Pomegranates are fruit that grow on small trees or shrubs that reach approximately 5 to 8 metres (16 to 26 feet) in height, and are native to the Middle East’s Iran.
  • Pomegranates have the scientific name Punica granatum, that are from the family Lythraceae, the family of flowering herbs, although they were originally classified as part of the Punicaceae family.
  • Pomegranates are large, red coloured, roughly spherical berries with diameters of around 5 to 12 centimetres (1.9 to 4.7 inches).
  • Pomegranates contain white membranes and edible red arils (commonly called seeds), that contain a sweet to sour juicy flesh and a seed; with approximately 200 to 1400 seeds in a single berry.
  • ‘Pomegranate’ comes from the words ‘pōmum grānātum’ in Medieval Latin, that mean ‘apple with many seeds’.

Pomegranate, Red, Open, Plant, Two, Arils, Ten Random Facts, Fruit

  • Pomegranate arils are easily accessed by scoring the fruit with a knife, breaking it open, and banging the fruit or placing the fruit in water, where the arils will separate from the membranes.
  • Pomegranates can be eaten raw, and are used in Middle Eastern cuisine as well as Greek dishes, and are made into beverages including alcohol or juice, or used as a flavouring.
  • Pomegranates are sometimes recognised as a symbol of fertility, prosperity and ambition, or in Greek mythology, death.
  • Pomegranates have been used in traditional medicine to treat digestive problems, as well as internal parasites.
  • Pomegranates are very high in vitamin K, vitamin C and fibre, and are high in folate, potassium, copper and manganese.
Bibliography:
The Fruit, 2008, Pomegranates 101, http://www.pomegranates.tv/information.html
Pomegranate, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate

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Burj Khalifa

Can you stand the height of these Burj Khalifa facts?

  • Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, was the tallest building and man-made structure in the world at its completion in 2010.
  • The Burj Khalifa, ‘burj’ meaning ‘tower’, was originally known as ‘Burj Dubai’, but it was renamed after the United Arab Emirates’ president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan at its official opening, which is said to be the result of Abu Dhabi bailing Dubai out of a financial crisis just before the building was completed.
  • Burj Khalifa is a centrepiece of an area developed in the city of Dubai, built for a variety of purposes including tourism and fame for the city, and the building has won numerous awards.
  • Burj Khalifa has the height of 829.8 metres (2722 feet), has 163 official floors, and has a floor area of 309,473 square metres (3,331,100 square feet).
  • Burj Khalifa is said to be able to house over 35,000 people at once, has over 24,000 windows and 900 apartments, includes offices and a hotel, and when it opened it had the highest nightclub, restaurant and observation deck, and was host to the highest fireworks display.
Burj Khalifa, Tower, White, Tall, Landscape, Scale, Dubai, Middle East, Arab, Ten Random Facts, Skyscraper, Tallest in the world, Flickr
Burj Khalifa
Image courtesy of Joi Ito/Flickr
  • It is believed that the Burj Khalifa was originally going to use the scrapped Melbourne, Australia’s planned Grollo Tower design, a 560 metre (1837 feet) skyscraper, but the building was later completely redesigned by United States architect Adrian Smith from Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
  • Burj Khalifa was constructed by South Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Construction, mostly using thousands of migrant workers from south Asia, and during the building process, there was only one reported fatality although the number of actual deaths is believed to be much higher.
  • Burj Khalifa was constructed with 330,000 cubic metres (431,600 cubic yards) of concrete and 55,000 tonnes (61,000 tons) of steel and cost approximately US$1.5 billion.
  • Work on the Burj Khalifa site started in January 2004, and the building was officially opened with 10,000 fireworks and other light and sound effects, on 4th January 2010, although the interior was not complete at that stage.
  • The Burj Khalifa is based on the design of a Hymenocallis, a desert flower, and the spire at the top of the building is said to sway 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) and is visible 95 kilometeres (60 miles) away.
Bibliography:
Burj Khalifa, 2014, The Skyscraper Center, http://www.skyscrapercenter.com/dubai/burj-khalifa/
Burj Khalifa, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa
Burj Khalifa, 2014, Burj Khalifa, http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/

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Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds are actually fruit!

  • Coriander seeds are used as a spice to flavour cooking, and are also known as ‘dhania’ and ‘coriandi seeds’.
  • Coriander seeds are the fruit of an annual herb that grows up to 50 centimetre (20 inch) high.
  • Coriander seeds are believed to be native to the Mediterranean and Middle East areas.
  • Coriander seeds are from the family Apiaceae, the family of carrots and parsley, and come from the plant that has the scientific name of Coriandrum sativum or common names ‘cilantro’, ‘Chinese parsley’ and ‘Mexican parsley’.
  • Coriander seeds are often used in curries, as well as in the spice mix ‘garam masala’, and is commonly found in dishes particularly from Southeast Asia to Africa to the Middle East.

Coriander Seeds, white, spice, fruit, Ten Random Facts, Bowl,

  • Coriander seeds are high in manganese, calcium, magnesium and iron.
  • Coriander seeds have the flavour of lemon citrus and nuts, and they generally help thicken the sauces that they are usually found in.
  • Coriander seeds are commonly used ground or whole, roasted, dried or fresh.
  • There are different varieties of coriander that produce different sized coriander seeds, and they range from 1.5 to 5 millimetres (0.06 to 0.2 inches) in diameter.
  • Coriander seeds have been used traditionally for medicinal purposes to treat a wide variety of ailments and they are said to have anti-diabetic properties.
Bibliography:
Coriander, 2006, OzPolitic, http://www.ozpolitic.com/gardening/coriander.html
Coriander, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriander

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Saffron

Saffron, an expensive spice, use it wisely!

  • Saffron is a spice that comes from the stigmas of the purple flowers of the plant Crocus sativus, and each flower contains three stigmas that are handpicked, and then dried.
  • Saffron is native to the Middle East, and is from the family Iridaceae, the family of irises, and was historically popular among royalty, particularly kings and pharaohs.
  • To make 1 gram (0.033 oz) of dried saffron, approximately 150 flowers are needed, making it the most expensive spice in the world.
  • Saffron is typically an orange-red colour, due to the content of crocetin, a type of acid and crocin.
  • Saffron spice sometimes has additives, such as dyed vegetable or plant fibres, making the spice impure.

Saffron, Bowl, dried, String, Raw, Spice, Expensive, Bowl Ten Random Facts

  • Saffron has historically been used in cooking and to make cloth dye, perfume, herbal medicine, body wash, hair dye, and woven into textile items.
  • The Middle East’s Iran produces more than 90% of the world’s production of saffron, much of which is exported.
  • Saffron is typically prepared by toasting or soaking the spice in hot water to release the flavour before adding to other ingredients, and is most commonly prepared in dishes from India, Persia, Europe, Arab and Turkey, such as risotto, paella, and bouillabaisse, and as a flavouring for rice, while it is occasionally used in alcohol, cakes, lollies and other drinks.
  • Saffron can be sold, or bought, for up to $11,000 USD per kilograms and $5,000 USD per pound.
  • Saffron has the taste of hay-like, bitter honey, and contains significant amounts of vitamin C, manganese and magnesium, while it is said to have a number of medicinal benefits, including improvement of vision, anti cancer properties, and benefits for depression.
Bibliography:
Saffron, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron
Stradley L, Saffron – Crocus sativus, 2004, What’s Cooking America, http://whatscookingamerica.net/saffron.htm

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Petra

Petra, Front, Rose, Ten Random Facts, New Seven Wonders of the World, Jordan, City,

Awe-inspiring, ancient city… Petra

  • Petra is an ancient city fortress located in southern Jordan in the Middle East, on the side of the mountain Jebel al-Madhbah, in amongst valleys and hills.
  • ‘Petra’ is an Ancient Greek word meaning ‘rock’ or ‘stone’, and is also known as the ‘Rose city’, describing the rock colour that is best seen at sunrises or sunsets.
  • Petra was built in an area that was a significant city on the trade route and had a good supply of water all year round from a stream, and the city was well known for its ancient and unique water and farming systems.
  • Historically, Nabataean folk populated the city of Petra and made it their capital, and at its most populated, the city accommodated 20,000 people.
  • Petra is said to have been established around 600 BC, and was occupied at one stage by the Romans, and later, Arabs.

Petra, Front, Rose, Ten Random Facts, New Seven Wonders of the World, Jordan, City,

 

City front
Image courtesy of Maureen/Flickr
  • Petra was struck by an earthquake that weakened the city’s structure near the end of the Roman reign, and afterwards many valuable items were stolen from the numerous city tombs.
  • Petra became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and gained recognition as one the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007.
  • As well as damage from tourism and earthquakes, Petra suffers from erosion, flooding, structure collapse and the like, which has caused much deterioration of the city.
  • The first Western explorer to record the discovery of Petra was from Switzerland, by the name of John Burckhardt, in 1812.
  • One of the entrances to the city of Petra, known as Al-Khazneh, the ‘treasury’, has the dimensions of 30 by 43 metres (98 by 141 feet), which looks like the front of a mansion.
Bibliography:
Petra, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra
Petra, n.d, Jordan, http://www.visitjordan.com/default.aspx?tabid=63

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