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Grass that tastes like popular potato chip: Only in Oz

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, December 11, 2017, 8:13 PM - A group of researchers in Australia recently discovered two new species of grass that has a 'tangy' taste, which they say is similar to salt and vinegar chips.

The team stumbled upon the new species in Pilbara, a dry and mountainous section of western Australia.

Scientists aren't sure why the grass, which belongs to the spinifex genus, has its unique flavour. There doesn't appear to be any animals who eat it, not even local cows.

The team discovered the strange taste by fluke, back in the lab. A graduate advisor was working with the samples and touched her hand to her mouth, "and she was like, 'Hey that's weird.' That was the first discovery," Benjamin Anderson, a plant biologist from the University of Western Australia and lead author on a paper about the plants, told NPR.

But if you're looking for a new, low-fat snack, don't get too excited. The two types of grass, which have been nicknamed "sparkling spinifex" because they appear to shine in the sun, are hard and spiky, making them painful to pick out of the ground. They also have no nutritional value.

They do, however, provide a good home for reptile and insects. The two species cover a large swath of land and are largely untouched because they have no known predators. This helps keep soil erosion in check.

More information on the grass can be found in a paper published in Australian Systemic Botany.


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