Friday, 11 May 2012


The mints, taxonomically known as Lamiaceae or Labiatae, are a family of flowering plants. They have traditionally been considered closely related to Verbenaceae, but in the 1990s, phylogenetic studies suggested that many genera classified in Verbenaceae belong instead in Lamiaceae. The currently accepted version of Verbenaceae may not be more closely related to Lamiaceae than some of the other families in the order Lamiales. It is not yet known which of the families in Lamiales is closest to Lamiaceae.

The family has a cosmopolitan distribution. The enlarged Lamiaceae contains about 236 genera and 6,900 to 7,200 species. The largest genera are Salvia (900), Scutellaria (360), Stachys (300), Plectranthus (300), Hyptis (280), Teucrium (250), Vitex, (250) Thymus (220), and Nepeta (200). Clerodendrum was once a genus of over 400 species, but by 2010, it had been narrowed to about 150.

The plants are frequently aromatic in all parts and include many widely used culinary herbs, such as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, lavender, and perilla. Some are shrubs; trees, such as teak; or, rarely, vines. Many members of the family are widely cultivated, owing not only to their aromatic qualities but also their ease of cultivation: these plants are among the easiest plants to propagate by stem cuttings. Besides those grown for their edible leaves, some are grown for decorative foliage, such as coleus. Others are grown for food purposes, but seeds are utilized instead of leaves, such as with chia.

Friday, 24 February 2012


There is some speculation as to the origin of the idiom.
The earliest reference to an analog of "two cents" appears in the lesson of the widow's mite in both the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke. In the story, several wealthy temple patrons donate large sums of money, but an extremely poor widow places just two small coins, i.e. her two cents, into the offering. Jesus finds greater favor with her than with the wealthy patrons, seeing that the widow gave all of her money to the church while the wealthy patrons had much money left over for themselves.

Some believe that the phrase originates in betting card games, such as poker. In these games, one must make a small bet, or ante, before beginning play. Thus, the phrase makes an analogy between entering the game and entering a conversation. However, there is no documentary evidence of this being the origin of the idiom, so it is merely speculation. Other likely origins are that "my two pennies worth" is derived from the much older 16th Century English expression, "a penny for your thoughts", possibly a sarcastic response to receiving more opinion than was wanted "I said a penny for your thoughts, but I got two pennies' worth". There is also some belief that the idiom may have its origins in the early cost of postage in England, the "twopenny post", where two pennies was the normal charge of sending a letter containing one's words and thoughts or feelings to someone.

"Two cents" and its variations may also be used in place of the noun "opinion" or the verb phrase "state  opinion", e.g., "You had to put your two cents in, didn't you?" or "But that’s just my two cents."
The phrase "If you don't put your two cents in, how can you get change?" encourages an expression of opinion. It makes a pun on the word "change". One meaning of change is an alteration — presumably to bring someone or something in agreement with an expressed opinion. Another meaning of change is the cash equivalent of an overpayment. Thus the reference to two cents is in accord with another idiom that values opinions at one cent (penny for your thoughts).

This expression is also often used at the end of a statement, e.g., “Just my two cents."