How much do spring squash, the fruit of the Bok Choy plant, weigh?
That’s the question that researchers are trying to answer as they continue to study the bok chow.
The scientists, led by Professor Simon Klemperer at Imperial College London, used an infrared laser to look at bokchows and found that they weighed between 4 and 7 grams.
That is slightly less than the average weight of a normal potato, which is around 8.5 grams.
They also found that the spring variety of the potato, called Bok Chow, had the lowest density of any potato, at about 0.5 gram per cubic centimetre.
The spring varieties, however, have a slightly higher density than the potato.
So, does that mean spring squash has a high density?
The answer is yes, according to Professor Klemperer.
“We know that spring squash is a very good source of iron,” he said.
“And if it has a low density, it’s because of the iron in the soil, rather than because of any particular nutrient.
But if the soil is rich in iron, then it’s probably going to be a good source.
But the spring varieties are low in iron.”
The study also found the boku choy was slightly more resistant to mould than the other varieties of potato.
But Professor Klamperer said the high density of the spring bok could be explained by the fact that the boki choy is an invasive species.
“It’s grown in a variety of places around the world,” he explained.
“In New Zealand, for example, it has been imported from Japan.
So the diversity is a lot higher than it would be if the plant had been growing naturally.”
The researchers are currently testing the bk choy in the lab to see if they can find any other traits that could help the bkokchow grow in a more diverse environment.
Professor Klemrerer is also working with other scientists on a project called Sustainability for the Future that will look at the impact of climate change on bok.
“I think that bok is really important because it’s a very important food for people, especially in China, and we have to think about the future of this species,” he added.
“The fact that it’s the only potato growing in China is really an achievement in itself, but we also need to consider that other plants are also going to come along.”
The University of Warwick’s Dr David Williams said the boko choy, like all other bok varieties, had to be managed carefully.
“These varieties are very important, because they have been growing for a very long time in the world, and the biodiversity of the plant is really impressive,” he told New Scientist.
“We’ve been working on a variety management plan for the next few years and we’ve really just been working at a very slow pace.”
“It’s been a really exciting journey,” he continued.
“But we’re really excited to see where we are now and what we can do next.”
The story was originally published on New Scientist and has been republished here with permission.