Nipple Fruit Plant History:
The history of the nipples are not very well known among the general public. However, it was discovered that these plants were growing near a small town called Newberry in North Carolina in 1794.
A few years later, another plant similar to the ones from Newberry was found at Fort Mims in Florida. These two plants were named after their location and the name “Newberry” was changed to “Mimms”. The first description of the plant appeared in 1804. Later, it was described in 1806. The name “mammoth tree” was used until the mid 1800’s when other names such as “tulip tree”, “pink lady”, and even “bluebell” were given to them. They were never referred to as nipples before then though.
In 1809, a man named John H. Waring published an account of the discovery of the plants in North Carolina.
His book was titled Mammoth Tree or Pink Lady?
The Nature and Antiquity of the Nipples. Although he did not mention any connection between these plants and the human body, he mentioned that they were likely related to mammoths because there had been several mammoth bones found nearby. This inspired the name Mammoth Tree.
Between 1809 and 1812, a few Mammoth Trees were displayed at the London Zoological Gardens. The first display was in April of 1809.
It is not known how many there were or what happened to them because their documentation is very limited. The last record shows that one was alive in December of 1812. The tree was in a damp loggia and therefore died from being exposed to the elements.
In Europe, the first Mammoth Tree to be discovered was in France in 1804. By the mid 19th century, the trees were found to be growing wild and common in many areas of North America.
By 1837, people had begun planting Mammoth Trees in their personal gardens to enjoy their beauty. The trees began to be sold in nurseries as well.
At the time, it was common to plant them near houses and other buildings because they looked attractive. Mammoth Trees were not very popular among farmers because the fruit from the trees can cause the cattle to go blind. Some farmers in the south also did not like these trees because they prefer open fields rather than wooded areas.
In the 1890’s, a man named A.J.
Eaton discovered that the fruit from one of these trees tasted good when made into jam. He placed the jam on bread as a simple meal. This caused the popularity of these trees to rise, especially in areas less forested such as the east coast.
In the 20th century, it became a common practice to use the wood from these trees to construct barns, houses, and other farm buildings. The wood from these trees is very strong and durable so it lasts a long time.
Just like the fruit, the wood can also cause blindness in some animals so care must be taken.
In 1928, scientists took a closer look at the trees and discovered that they were of the same species as the extinct mammoths from millennia before. The name Mammoth Tree stuck even though it was no longer accurate.
In the late 20th century, the trees began to dwindle in number for an unknown reason. It may have been due to disease, habitat loss, or something else.
There are no longer any Mammoth Trees growing wild today and it is illegal to cut down a tree because of endangered species laws. In fact, many of the trees in private ownership have been cut down as well. It is estimated that there are less than one thousand of these trees left in the world today, all of them located in the United States.
Recent expeditions have been made to try to find more Mammoth Trees but none have been found. There are rumors of Mammoth Trees growing in Mexico and other parts of the United States but these have not been confirmed.
Many have given up looking, accepting that the tree is now extinct. Others continue the search, determined to prove that it still exists somewhere on this continent.
You decide to…
Call it a night. You’ve had enough of history for one day.
Go back to the truck and head home. Just start heading west on foot.
You don’t want to miss out on a great camping spot just because of one silly tree.
You find yourself leaning towards the Italian restaurant. You like pizza, after all.
The waitress smiles and shows you to a booth, handing you a menu.
“Take your time,” she says. “I need to go grab your Uncle Bob.
It’s been so long since he’s been here, he wanted to make sure you guys had enough money before he came out.”
She walks off and you examine the menu while Rose looks around the room.
“This is a nice place,” she says. “Quaint.”
The dim lighting and decorations would certainly give that impression. The walls are wooden paneled and the furniture is dark and rich looking.
Little round lights are on the ceiling, shining bright enough to see everything, but not enough to strain your eyes. There are even little spotlight focused on some paintings here and there, giving the impression that this place is more art gallery than restaurant.
You’re not here for the ambiance, though. You’re here for the food.
You start looking over the menu when Uncle Bob comes hurrying out of the back room. He’s much older than your dad but more like a younger version.
He has the same thick beard and mustache though his is salt and pepper and he has similar facial features. The main difference is he’s much shorter than your dad, barely surpassing five feet.
“Sorry, sorry,” he says, taking his hat off. “I just got so caught up looking at all the hats in the museum that I lost track of time.
It’s been too long since I’ve been there; I felt like a kid in a candy store!”
His voice is heavily Southern and tinged with an old-western drawl.
Your father stands up, smiling. The two men hug and exchange a few pleasantries before your uncle turns to you.
And who is this lovely young lady?”
he asks, gallantly holding out his arm for you to take.
“I’m Rose,” you say, standing up and hooking your arm with his. “Rose Mihie.”
“Enchanted,” he says, leading you towards the table. “I’ll have to remember to buy you a drink.
I’m sure this one here will want wine; she looks like a girl who’s had her share of it.”
He winks at you and you make a mental note never to trust this man with a drink. He leads you to the booth and pulls out a seat for you.
“I’ll have what she’s having,” he tells the waiter, before turning back to you. “Now, I haven’t seen your father in years.
It was at your mother’s funeral, if I remember correctly.
How is he doing?
Sources & references used in this article:
Origin and history of food fermentations by …, AS Hansen, J Josephsen, WK Nip… – FOOD SCIENCE …, 2004 – books.google.com
Transgenic plants and crops by GC Khachatourians, YH Hui, R Scorza, WK Nip – 2002 – books.google.com
Handbook of food and beverage fermentation technology by YH Hui, L Meunier-Goddik, J Josephsen, WK Nip… – 2004 – books.google.com
Natural history of small mammals of subtropical montane areas in central Taiwan by HT Yu – Journal of Zoology, 1993 – Wiley Online Library
Members of the tomato FRUITFULL MADS-box family regulate style abscission and fruit ripening by S Wang, G Lu, Z Hou, Z Luo, T Wang… – Journal of …, 2014 – academic.oup.com
On the Nature and Origin of so-called “Chichi”(nipple) of Ginkgo biloba, L. by K Fujii – 植物学雑誌, 1895 – jlc.jst.go.jp
Host plants of Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) on the Island of Hawaii (1949-1985 survey) by NJ Liquido, RT Cunningham… – Journal of Economic …, 1990 – academic.oup.com