Jatydid and Noct, two of the most experienced botanists left alive, sat at a round table, two thick binders of test results sitting between them. They both had a chance to peruse them, one containing the breakdown of all the Earth plants Skylar and Leama managed to bring back, and the other containing information on available Qwortarian crops for cross breeding and grafting experiments.
Scientists weren’t particularly pleased with the small amount available for testing of the Earth plants, but if things went well, they were promised larger sample sizes later, to improve the accuracy of their averages.
What was, and wasn't, edible for Qwortarians, average levels of sugar, salt, liquid, and lipid content of the edible parts.
“Okay,” Noct ran a tentacle down the side of the binder, pages inside rustling. “We only have so many attempts with the store of uninfected seeds and seedlings.”
“Exactly.” Jatydid tilted their eye. “What do you think has the best chance of melding well with the Earth plants?”
“Well…” Noct flipped through the binder on Qwortar’s plants. “Brineberries. One, we have the most of them, they grow fast, and with their many branches we could run multiple grafting experiments at once.”
“Fair enough.” Jatydid flipped the pages in the Earth binder. “They could go well with grapes, blackberries, raspberries, hm, maybe strawberries-”
“Kiwis!” Noct blurted, a tentacle slapping away Jatydid’s to point to a pitcure of the hairy green fruit. “I think they would go great with kiwis.”
“All right. Adding kiwis to the list. So, why do you think kiwis would be good?”
“Because most of the brine in a brineberry is in the skin, and we have these strange hairs on a kiwi, and maybe the brine would go into the hairs making the fruit itself more palatable. Especially as the kiwifruit is more solid than the inside of a brineberry.”
“I suppose.” Jatydid slowly bobbed their eyestalk. “It’s worth a shot. Though without the electrolytes in a brineberry-”
“They have supplements for them. For Qwortarians who couldn’t stand the taste. Or, if each one tastes less briny, more overall would be consumed, and thus more electrolyte intake.”
“All right all right. Now, what should we attempt to cross with the bamama?”
“Obviously the banana.” Noct chuckled. “Maybe plantains. Not much else seems to have close to the same texture of the fruit.”
“But we don’t usually eat the fruit.” Jatydid twisted their beak. “Maybe we should focus on other plants with edible skins.”
“That grow on trees.”
“This gives us cherries, Indian gooseberries, mangoes, peaches, plums, and olives.”
“Might want to hold off on the Indian gooseberries, we don’t have a lot of those to spare if the bamama trees don’t take well to grafting or cross breeding.”
“All right. Meet again tomorrow to discuss further details?”
Word count: 470