Controversy appears to be the order of the day. Even fields flowing with bright yellow flowers are not exempt from incessant human bickering. I refer to rapeseed, a pretty flower so maligned.
Terraced fields in northwest China's Gansu province, 2007
Rapeseed is a relative of the mustard and cabbage family. You can cook and eat the leaves of some varieties of the plant like any other green vegetable. In China and Europe, rapeseed oil was traditionally used to light lanterns. Rapeseed "oil cake" is used as a fertilizer in China.
Today, different varieties of rapeseed are grown around the globe, mostly to process into biodiesel, animal feed or edible oil. Rapeseed also produces nectar for honey, and the oil from the seeds is a raw material for paints, glues, toothpaste, and cosmetics like lipstick. Many of these uses are hotly debated by some.
In the 1970s a Canadian used traditional plant breeding techniques to make the oil of rapeseed fit for our consumption. To rise above its nasty reputation, the new variety was dubbed canola, a contraction of ""CANadian Oil, Low [erucic] Acid".
So, where is the controversy? Well, this is Mellow Yellow Monday and it just wouldn't do to go on a major rant, now would it? The issue is in any event much more complex than my photo blog can cover. But here's an over-simplified example about canola oil: on one side you have the many who certify that canola oil is one of the most heart-healthy cooking oils, rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and the good fats, while the other side decries that over half of rapeseed grown today is genetically modified to be resistant to the effects of a dangerous herbicide which then upsets the fields' ecosystem and that the health benefits of canola oil have been exaggerated.
Do you think these farmers have any inkling of what we in the West argue over?
All I will say here now is that it behooves me to make more effort to be a smart consumer. I'm doing my homework.
I leave you with a final image that took me by surprise. Can you identify this plant growing next to the flowering rapeseed?
This blog is posted for meme Mellow Yellow Monday. Click on the link for a lot many more links to yellows.