Children's Favourite Flower and The Ancestry of the Potato

Published on June 25th 2019
A grandmother and a child looking at a rose bush

Children's Favourite Flower

The favourite flower of children in the UK is the rose, according to a survey by the National Trust.
Over 1,000 children aged eight to 15 were asked in the survey what their favourite flower was. 21% said the rose, followed by sunflowers with 16% and daisies and daffodils with 7% each.
Asked to name a flower when shown a picture, most children could identify sunflowers (84%), roses (77%), daisies (72%), daffodils (68%), buttercups (62%) and bluebells (56%). But less than a quarter could identify carnations (23%), crocus (15%), orchid (15%) and only 4% could identify a sweet pea.
Participants were also asked why it was their favourite flower. 60% said it was because of the colour, 30% favoured the shape, and a similar number said it was due to the smell.
More than one in six (15%) said their favourite flower brought back a pleasant memory.
Simon Toomer, the National Trust’s Plant Conservation Specialist, said: 'It’s really important to get children into green spaces, even if they don’t have a garden, where they can develop their interest and connection to nature.
'It’s encouraging to see that children can identify common garden flowers and, for many, flowers have positive emotional connections.
Simon continued: 'The most readily identified flowers are those most commonly seen or with very distinctive shapes or scent. Orchid and crocus are less common and quite easily confused with other similar plants.'
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Potato Ancestry

A sprouting potato on a table
A new study in Nature Ecology & Evolution has revealed that the first potatoes introduced to Europe were closely related to Andean varieties before being interbred with Chilean varieties.
Originating in the Andes in South America, potatoes were first recorded in mainland Europe in the late 16th century in Spain. Author Hernán Burbano and his team sequenced the genomes from historical Chilean and European potatoes dating from 1660-1896, as well as modern European and South American varieties. Darwin collected some of these specimens on the voyage of the Beagle.
They found that the oldest European potatoes derived from the Andes and were interbred with Chilean potatoes over the next 100 years.
During the 20th century, potatoes in Europe interbred with wild species to give rise to the variety of modern European potatoes.
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