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The word thalli comes from the 19th century Greek words thallos meaning green shoot and thallein meaning to bloom or to sprout. [1]

In contemporary botany, thalli or thallus refers to the undifferentiated cells of ‘lower class’ organisms such as algae (including seaweeds), fungi, lichens, and liverworts. [2] [3]

The (analogous) tissue of undifferentiated cells in plants can be referred to as the meristem. The meristem is composed of cells which continually divide and allow the plant to grow. Plants have two, or more, meristems: one at the downward-reaching root and the other the upward-reaching tip. [4]

So why are we talking about thalli and meristems? As gastronauts, the thallus and the meristem are important because that's where the freshest, tastiest, most tender growth is. As mentioned already fungi, or mushrooms, and algae, including seaweeds, are examples of thalli.

We are continually searching for plants at the peak of their growing potential: when they are most supple, most delicious, most nutritious and easiest to digest. We are driven by our quest for food diversity. Diversity is delicious. 


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1. Simpson, J. A., E. S. C. Weiner, and Michael Proffitt. Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993. Print. 2. Haupt, Arthur W. Plant Morphology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953. Print.

3. Encyclopædia Britannica." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

4. Rouse, Susan T. "Meristems." Biology Reference. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.​

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