A new species of monkey flower has been found growing on the banks of a stream in Scotland. But it is no ordinary discovery—the flower is a rare hybrid of two foreign species, and a glimpse into evolution in action. While just about all hybrids of different species are sterile—think of the mule, a sterile hybrid of donkeys & horses—this monkey flower is fertile, thanks to an unusual genetic duplication.
Tassels, silk, and glass gems—objet de luxe or, well, grain? If you're thinking of a certain husk-swaddled treasure, you are correct: Corn in general, and a rare heirloom variety in particular. Tassels and silk, with their pollen and ovules, are the so-called trimmings that produce an ear of corn. And glass gem is the name of a beautiful variety with a palette of improbable colors: lilac, merlot, robin's egg blue, pearl, baby pink.