Seashore Mallow Potential Biodiesel Source

Unlike soybeans and corn, which require annual plantings to feed the growing appetite for biofuels, the pink-flowered seashore mallow is both a perennial and a halophyte, or salt-tolerant plant, that grows in areas where other crops can't.

Published: 12-Jul-2007

LEWES, Del. (AP) — John Gallagher pinches a pod from the long-stemmed plant in the greenhouse next to his office, cracks it open and pops the BB-sized seeds into his mouth.

"They're not going to compete with peanuts, but they're good," said Gallagher, a University of Delaware researcher studying the plant, which is native to salt marshes stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the mid-Atlantic coast.

While the seashore mallow might be handy for a quick snack, the sturdy plant has provided Gallagher food for thought in addressing a smorgasbord of environmental problems, from global warming to the disappearance of coastal farmland.

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