Christmas is a time for quizzes, so here's one for you about some common Christmas plants. I'll put the answers up after the holidays, but if you can't wait, you'll find all the answers on the net (I did!).
1. For me Christmas dinner isn't Christmas dinner without brussel sprouts. It's well known that they taste better after the frost has got to them - but why?
a. The frost kills the plant, which is then preserved because frozen, but becomes tenderer as it slowly decays.
b. Sugar replaces water in the cells to protect them from the cold, and so they become sweeter.
c. The frost breaks up the ground and allows more oxygen to get to the roots.
d. Actually, this is an old wives tale - it makes no difference at all. The important thing is that they've had longer to grow.
2. What was the sap of the Poinsettia used for in the 14th-16th centuries ?
a. as a poison b. to flavour soups c. as a cure for fever d. as a cure for nausea
3. According to Pliny the Elder, holly flowers had the ability to :
a. turn water to ice b. turn iron to gold c. protect against evil spirits d. revive the dead
4. Fir trees were used as a symbol of Christianity from the 7th century, and by the 12th century were Christmas symbols. But what was different about the way they were used?
a. They were burnt as a ritual sacrifice b. They were eaten on Christmas Day c. They were hung upside down from the ceiling d. They were worshipped
5. Only one native British plant has white berries. What is it?
a-d. Oh come on, you don't need clues for this one :)
Happy Christmas to everyone!