Spring Issue Cover

Spring Issue Cover
February 27, 2017 Christina Mullin

1-Hopi Tea (Tucson, Arizona)

Hopi tea grows wild in the Colorado Plateau area of northeastern Arizona where it has been used by Hopi and Pueblo People since time immemorial. Hopi tea has mild blood cleansing properties and is also used as a natural dye to color basket weaving and other materials a vibrant orange-yellow.

2-Chandrus Crispus Seaweed (South coast of England)

Chondrus crispus is common all around the shores of Ireland and can also be found along the coast of Europe including Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. Chondrus crispus is an industrial source of carrageenan, which is commonly used as a thickener and stabilizer in milk products such as ice cream and processed foods, including lunch meat.

3-Cuttlebone (South coast of England)

Cuttlebone, also known as cuttlefish bone, is a hard, brittle internal structure (an internal shell) found in all members of the family Sepiidae, commonly known as cuttlefish, a family within the cephalopods. In the past, cuttlebones were ground up to make polishing powder, which was used by goldsmiths. The powder was also added to toothpaste, and was used as an antacid for medicinal purposes or as an absorbent. They were also used as an artistic carving medium during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Today, cuttlebones are commonly used as calcium-rich dietary supplements for caged birds, chinchillas, hermit crabs, reptiles, shrimp, and snails. It is not for human consumption.

4-Mesquite Screwbean Tree (Tucson, Arizona)

Screwbean is found along river valleys and irrigation ditches in where it grows best or where moisture might accumulate from a flash flood, although it can survive in the desert. It is a multi-trunked large shrub or tree, small and dainty, barely reaching 30 feet in height. It differs from mesquite (P. glandulosa) in that its spines and leaves are smaller, it has 5 to 8 pairs of leaflets instead of 10 or more, its twigs are gray and not red, and its bean is tightly coiled into a spiral (hence its common name) as opposed to mesquite’s straight pod.

5-Swell Shark Egg Case (southern California)

The swellshark grows to about 39” in length, and can expand its body to about double its regular size to prevent its predators such as seals and larger sharks from pulling it out from rocky reefs. The swellshark’s appearance resembles that of the leopard shark in that it has spots. Swellsharks are nocturnal, sleeping in reef crevices and caves during the day. Sometimes, these sharks will grab onto their tail with their mouth in a ring shape to prevent other fish from being able to attack them. During the night they hunt molluscs, crustaceans and bony fishes. The swellshark is oviparous, and the females lay two flattened egg sacks, which contain the embryo, which is attached by two tendrils to a reef. Swellsharks are commonly found in aquariums and are completely harmless to humans, usually staying completely motionless when encountered by divers.

6-Baryte (Poland)

Historically baryte was used for the production of barium hydroxide for sugar refining, and as a white pigment for textiles, paper, and paint. Although baryte contains a “heavy” metal (barium), it is not a toxic chemical because of its extreme insolubility. It is also sometimes used as gemstone (like the one featured here).

7-Fossilized Wasp Nest (Argentina)

I could not find an accurate age of this fossilized wasp nest found in Argentina.

8-Raw Cotton (southern California)

Raw cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will tend to increase the dispersal of the seeds.

9-Palo Santo

Palo Santo is a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal.SUP Palo Santo is wild crafted and sustainably harvested by a family that has planted over 30,000 trees back into the area over the last 10 years. 

10-Azurite (Russia)

The blue of azurite is exceptionally deep and clear, and for that reason the mineral has tended to be associated since antiquity with the deep blue color of low-humidity desert and winter skies. Azurite was used as a blue pigment since antiquity and is naturally occurring in Sinai and the Eastern Desert of Egypt, and other locations.