Jan. 22, 2018

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Passionflower as today's selection actually represents the strange passion of a mind that has just discovered a new wonder of nature.  Mites!  Not only do some plants have tiny homes for their mite buddies on their leaves.  Many, including passionflowers, also secrete tiny bits of sugar from their leaves to feed the mites.  These extrafoliar nectaries have been shown to enhance mite production and activity.  That in turn reduces foliage eating bugs and foliage damaging fungus.  Ultimately more fruit and seeds are produced.  Who would have thought we owe some of those yummy maypops, not to mention oranges, to mites.  This process was particularly important in producing healthy crops, including citrus, back before pesticides started killing off all the bad and also good bugs, like mites.