REXBURG, Idaho— In what botanists around the world are calling a “nice surprise,” a research team comprised of BYU-Idaho faculty and students announced in a press conference yesterday the creation of Prunus redenbacunae, a new species of apricot that produces delicious popping corn in lieu of its usual succulent fruit.
Jennifer Christensen, a senior studying horticulture and one of the project leaders, told reporters that she could vividly recall the moment she realized the experiment had been successful.
“I came into the lab very early one morning and looked out the observation window, and what did I see? Popcorn, popping on the apricot tree!” Christensen said.
Kevin Arnold, Horticulture department head and senior advisor to the project, told reporters that the he believed the fruit-vegetable hybrid would fill a previously-unoccupied niche in the culinary field.
“There are many applications for this new species of Prunus armeniaca,” Arnold said. “For instance, I could take an armful and make a treat. A popcorn ball, which as you can see, has a very sweet aroma. This is just one of the numerous uses I anticipate for this new foodstuff.”
President Kim B. Clark, the concluding speaker at the press conference, expressed his appreciation for the Horticulture Department, which in 2013 completed a challenging five-year expansion program.
Clark said the reorganization began in 2008 when Gordon B. Hinckley, then the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, directed campus administrators to drastically increase the amount of greenhouse facilities on the campus.
“The Prophet said to plant a garden,” Clark told reporters. “To which [the Horticulture faculty] replied, ‘So that’s what we’ll do.’ The success that we see today is a result of that willingness to adhere to inspired counsel. We are now reaping the fruit of the seeds of obedience that were sown half a decade ago.”
This is not the first noteworthy achievement of the Horticulture Department, which in 2003 successfully produced a strain of miniaturized purple pansies which now line garden rows worldwide.