Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CAFÉ MARRON - The Little Coffee Plant that Wouldn't Die

This is rather exciting! NPR's radio show "All Things Considered" had a segment on café marron last night. If you recall, café marron is the wild plant that almost disappeared from the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, now part of Mauritius. Douglas Adams described the story of this plant in Last Chance To See of course.

The NPR website has a nice article, plus streamable audio of the radio show, available at: NPR : The Little Coffee Plant that Wouldn't Die, which includes the passage from Last Chance To See which described the story behind the plant Ramosmania rodriguesii, and inspired the article.
[Robert Krulwich] has pieced together the rest of the story, which, very briefly, involves:

-- an international rescue mission that rushed two fragile bits of plant to London.

-- a 20-plus-year attempt by some of the most sophisticated botanists in the world to get this plant to create a seed so it could have a future.

-- a daring experiment in 2003 that produced a breakthrough.

-- and, most important, and most dramatically, an unanticipated, unexplainable and utterly mysterious conclusion.

(Well, you should listen to the story. It will make you smile.)
I enjoyed listening to it Robert, very enlightening!

Kew Gardens has a page on the café marron plant.