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  1. Coconut

    Stranded on a desert island? You can count on the coconut to provide food, drink, shelter, and fuel, among other things. A native of the Malayan coast, the versatile coconut tree can reach heights of up to 100 feet. Learn More
  2. Linoleum

    One person's waste is another's product! The waste from the manufacture of corkstoppers and other cork byproducts is used in the making of linoleum. Learn the process of how the material used to make your bulletin board is transformed into material used for your kitchen floor! Learn More
  3. Sugar Maple Tree

    Discover the beautiful sugar maple tree, found in the northeastern United States. Not only does the processed sap of the tree produce three quarters of the maple sugar crop, but the lumber is used in making fine floors and furniture. Learn More
  4. Witch Hazel

    Soothe yourself with the medicinally important leaves of the witch hazel shrub, a secret salve of the Native Americans have been using for centuries. Fresh leaves and twigs provide an astringent lotion for bruises and wounds, and the dried leaves are known to produce a valuable extract used in internal medicine. Learn More
  5. Crab Apple

    The Crab Apple, which grows throughout the Chicago region, blossoms during May and June and is an ideal fruit to be made into jelly. Colored in delicate tints, and emitting a delectable fragrance, the Crab Apple is a pleasant presence to be around. Learn More
  6. Yellow Poplar (Tulip Tree)

    The blossoms of this massive tree may fool you into thinking it's related to the tulip flower, but it is really a Yellow Poplar. Known to reach heights of up to 200 feet, this tree produces a light, soft lumber with a wide range of utilitarian purposes. Learn More
  7. Cultivated Blueberries

    Explore the long history of the cultivation of blueberries, the only common fruit whose record of domestication is well known. Bred from two wild plants, more than twenty varieties have been introduced since 1912. Learn More
  8. Jute

    Transport yourself to India, where jute has been cultivated for centuries to produce coarse fabrics and twine. A long process of hydration and peeling is needed to bring the jute from its plant form to a usable material. Learn More
  9. Soybeans

    Pluck a soybean and marvel at its versatility. Aside from its nutritious value, soy can be processed into oils and soaps, as well as stock feed, flour, and cereals. Learn More
  10. Vanilla

    Follow the climbing vanilla vine through its tropical habitat. A member of the orchid family, the bean of the vanilla plant has been used for centuries in Central and South America. Learn More

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