iPhoneOgraphy – 06 Jul 2016 (Day 188/366)
A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe (stone fruit).
The cherry fruits of commerce usually are obtained from a limited number of species such as cultivars of the sweet cherry, Prunus avium. The name ‘cherry’ also refers to the cherry tree, and is sometimes applied to almonds and visually similar flowering trees in the genus Prunus, as in “ornamental cherry”, “cherry blossom”, etc. Wild Cherry may refer to any of the cherry species growing outside of cultivation, although Prunus avium is often referred to specifically by the name “wild cherry” in the British Isles.
The indigenous range of the sweet cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia and parts of northern Africa, and the fruit has been consumed throughout its range since prehistoric times. A cultivated cherry, as well as the apricot, is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, also known as the Pontus region, in 72 BC.
A form of cherry was introduced into England at Teynham, near Sittingbourne in Kent by order of Henry VIII, who had tasted them in Flanders. Cherry trees also provide food for the caterpillars of several Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).
The English word cherry, French cerise, Spanish cereza, and Turkish kiraz all derive from the classical Greek through the Latin cerasum, which referred to the ancient Greek place name Cerasus, today the city of Giresun in northern Turkey in the ancient Pontus region, from which the cherry was first exported to Europe. The ancient Greek word “cherry” itself is thought to be derived from a pre-Greek Anatolian language.
The cultivated forms are of the species sweet cherry (P. avium) to which most cherry cultivars belong, and the sour cherry (P. cerasus), which is used mainly for cooking. Both species originate in Europe and western Asia; they do not cross-pollinate. Some other species, although having edible fruit, are not grown extensively for consumption, except in northern regions where the two main species will not grow. Irrigation, spraying, labor, and their propensity to damage from rain and hail make cherries relatively expensive. Nonetheless, demand is high for the fruit. In commercial production, cherries are harvested by using a mechanized ‘shaker’. Hand picking is also widely used to harvest the fruit to avoid damage to both fruit and trees.
Common rootstocks include Mazzard, Mahaleb, Colt, and Gisela Series, a dwarfing rootstock that produces trees significantly smaller than others, only 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 meters) tall. Sour cherries require no pollenizer while few sweet varieties are self-fertile.
Like most temperate-latitude trees, cherry seeds require exposure to cold to germinate (a mechanism the tree evolved to prevent germination during the autumn, which would then result in the seedling being killed by winter temperatures). The pits are planted in the autumn (after first being chilled) and seedlings emerge in the spring. A cherry tree will take three to four years to produce its first crop of fruit, and seven years to attain full maturity. Because of the cold-weather requirement, none of the Prunus genus can grow in tropical climates.
Cherries have a short growing season and can grow in most temperate latitudes. Cherries blossom in April (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the peak season for cherries is in the summer. In Southern Europe in June, in North America in June, in England in mid-July, and in south British Columbia (Canada) in June to mid-August. In many parts of North America, they are among the first tree fruits to flower and ripen in mid-Spring.
In the Southern Hemisphere, cherries are usually at their peak in late December and are widely associated with Christmas. ‘Kordia’ is an early variety which ripens during the beginning of December, ‘Lapins peak’ ripens near the end of December, and ‘Sweethearts’ finish slightly later.
Generally, cherry trees are a difficult fruit tree to grow and keep alive. They do not tolerate wetness. In Europe, the first visible pest in the growing season soon after blossom (in April in western Europe) usually is the black cherry aphid (“cherry blackfly”, Myzus cerasi), which causes leaves at the tips of branches to curl, with the blackfly colonies exuding a sticky secretion which promotes fungal growth on the leaves and fruit. At the fruiting stage in June/July (Europe), the cherry fruit fly (Rhagoletis cingulata and Rhagoletis cerasi) lays its eggs in the immature fruit, whereafter its larvae feed on the cherry flesh and exit through a small hole (about 1mm diameter), which in turn is the entry point for fungal infection of the cherry fruit after rainfall. In addition cherry trees are susceptible to bacterial canker, cytospora canker, brown rot, root rot, crown rot, and to several viruses.
iPhoneOgraphy – 05 Jul 2016 (Day 187/366)
The sweet potato or kumara (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae.
Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Ipomoea batatas is native to the tropical regions in the Americas. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance—some others are used locally (e.g. l. aquatica (kangkong)), but many are poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and does not belong to the nightshade family.
The genus Ipomoea that contains the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories, though that term is not usually extended to Ipomoea batatas. Some cultivars of Ipomoea batatasare grown as ornamental plants; the name tuberous morning glory may be used in a horticultural context.
The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sized sympetalous flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.
The origin and domestication of sweet potato is thought to be in either Central America or South America. In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago. In South America, Peruvian sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8000 BC have been found.
One author postulated that the origin of I. batataswas between the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The ‘cultigen’ had most likely been spread by local people to the Caribbean and South America by 2500 BC. Strong supporting evidence was provided that the geographical zone postulated by Austin is the primary center of diversity. The much lower molecular diversity found in Peru–Ecuador suggests this region should be considered as a secondary center of sweet potato diversity.
The sweet potato was grown in Polynesia before western exploration. Sweet potato has been radiocarbon-dated in the Cook Islands to 1000 AD, and current thinking is that it was brought to central Polynesia around 700 AD, possibly by Polynesians who had traveled to South America and back, and spread across Polynesia to Hawaii and New Zealand from there. It is possible, however, that South Americans brought it to the Pacific, although this is unlikely as it was the Polynesians who had a strong maritime tradition and not the Native South Americans. The theory that the plant could spread by floating seeds across the ocean is not supported by evidence. Another point is that the sweet potato in Polynesia is the cultivated Ipomoea batatas, which is generally spread by vine cuttings and not by seeds.
Sweet potatoes are cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions wherever there is sufficient water to support their growth. Due to a major crop failure, sweet potatoes were introduced to Fujian province of China in about 1594 from Luzon. The growing of sweet potatoes was encouraged by the Governor Chin Hsüeh-tseng (Jin Xuezeng). Sweet potatoes were introduced as a food crop in Japan, and by 1735 was planted in Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune’s private garden. It was also introduced to Korea in 1764.
Sweet potatoes became popular very early in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, spreading from Polynesia to Japan and the Philippines. One reason is that they were a reliable crop in cases of crop failure of other staple foods because of typhoon flooding. They are featured in many favorite dishes in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and other island nations. Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and some other Asian countries are also large sweet potato growers. Sweet potato, also known as kelangin Tulu is part of Udupi cuisine. Uganda (the second largest grower after China), Rwanda, and some other African countries also grow a large crop which is an important part of their peoples’ diets. The New World, the original home of the sweet potato, grows less than three percent (3%) of the world’s supply. Europe has only a very small sweet potato production, mainly in Portugal. In the Caribbean, a variety of the sweet potato called the boniato is popular. The flesh of the boniato is cream-colored, unlike the more popular orange hue seen in other varieties. Boniatos are not as sweet and moist as other sweet potatoes, but many people prefer their fluffier consistency and more delicate flavor.
Sweet potatoes have been an important part of the diet in the United States for most of its history, especially in the Southeast. From the middle of the 20th century, however, they have become less popular. The average per capita consumption of sweet potatoes in the United States is only about 1.5–2 kg (3.3–4.4 lb) per year, down from 13 kg (29 lb) in 1920. Southerner Kent Wrench writes: “The Sweet Potato became associated with hard times in the minds of our ancestors and when they became affluent enough to change their menu, the potato was served less often.”
A study published in 2015 by scientists from Ghent University and the International Potato Center found that the genome of cultivated sweet potatoes contains sequences of DNA from Agrobacterium, with genes being actively expressed by the plants. The discovery of the transgenes was made while performing meta genomic analysis of the sweet potato genome for viral diseases. Transgenes were not observed in the sweet potato’s closely related wild relatives, but were also found in more distantly related wild species. This observation makes cultivated sweet potatoes the first known example of a naturally transgenic food crop.
iPhoneOgraphy – 04 Jul 2016 (Day 186/366)
An overhead power line is a structure used in electric power transmission and distribution to transmit electrical energy along large distances. It consists of one or more conductors (commonly multiples of three) suspended by towers or poles. Since most of the insulation is provided by air, overhead power lines are generally the lowest-cost method of power transmission for large quantities of electric energy.
A transmission tower or power tower (electricity pylon in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe) is a tall structure, usually a steel lattice tower, used to support an overhead power line.
They are used in high-voltage AC and DC systems, and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Typical height ranges from 15 to 55 m (49 to 180 ft), though the tallest are the 370 m (1,214 ft) towers of a 2,700 m (8,858 ft) span of Zhoushan Island Overhead Powerline Tie. In addition to steel, other materials may be used, including concrete and wood.
There are four major categories of transmission towers: suspension, terminal, tension, and transposition. Some transmission towers combine these basic functions. Transmission towers and their overhead power lines are often considered to be a form of visual pollution. Methods to reduce the visual effect include under grounding.
The bare wire conductors on the line are generally made of aluminum (either plain or reinforced with steel, or composite materials such as carbon and glass fiber), though some copper wires are used in medium-voltage distribution and low-voltage connections to customer premises. A major goal of overhead power line design is to maintain adequate clearance between energized conductors and the ground so as to prevent dangerous contact with the line, and to provide reliable support for the conductors, resilient to storms, ice load, earthquakes and other potential causes of damage. Today overhead lines are routinely operated at voltages exceeding 765,000 volts between conductors, with even higher voltages possible in some cases.
The first transmission of electrical impulses over an extended distance was demonstrated on July 14, 1729 by the physicist Stephen Gray. The demonstration used damp hemp cords suspended by silk threads (the low resistance of metallic conductors not being appreciated at the time).
However the first practical use of overhead lines was in the context of telegraphy. By 1837 experimental commercial telegraph systems ran as far as 20 km (13 miles). Electric power transmission was accomplished in 1882 with the first high-voltage transmission between Munich and Miesbach (60 km). 1891 saw the construction of the first three-phase alternating current overhead line on the occasion of the International Electricity Exhibition in Frankfurt, between Lauffen and Frankfurt.
1912 the first 110 kV-overhead power line entered service followed by the first 220 kV-overhead power line in 1923. In the 1920s RWE AG built the first overhead line for this voltage and in 1926 built a Rhine crossing with the pylons of Voerde, two masts 138 meters high.
In 1953, the first 345 kV line was put into service by American Electric Power in the United States. In Germany in 1957 the first 380 kV overhead power line was commissioned (between the transformer station and Rommerskirchen). In the same year the overhead line traversing of the Strait of Messina went into service in Italy, whose pylons served the Elbe crossing 1. This was used as the model for the building of the Elbe crossing 2 in the second half of the 1970s which saw the construction of the highest overhead line pylons of the world. Earlier, in 1952, the first 380 kV line was put into service in Sweden, in 1000 km (625 miles) between the more populated areas in the south and the largest hydroelectric power stations in the north. Starting from 1967 in Russia, and also in the USA and Canada, overhead lines for voltage of 765 kV were built. In 1982 overhead power lines were built in Russia between Elektrostal and the power station at Ekibastusz, this was a three-phase alternating current line at 1150 kV (Powerline Ekibastuz-Kokshetau). In 1999, in Japan the first powerline designed for 1000 kV with 2 circuits were built, the Kita-Iwaki Powerline. In 2003 the building of the highest overhead line commenced in China, the Yangtze River Crossing.