Monday, October 05, 2009

The Midge and the Chocolate Lover

What does a midge have to do with chocolate? More than you think. Chocolate comes from cocoa trees that grow in the tropics. These trees look quite different from most other plants. Instead of having flowers in the most conspicuous places, they have them on the trunk and lowest branches. These flowers are small and white and face down, the reason for all this is that they attract tiny flies, known as midges, rather than bees or other better known pollinators. The midges are ordinarily attracted to fungus and cocoa flowers smell somewhat mushroomy, too. In essence, for the cocoa tree to bear fruit, first it has to be pollinated by midges.
Think about it next time you eat a bite of that marvelous thing known as chocolate.

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