Gin! When made with skill and care, it’s the finest of the spirits, delicious and refreshing. When made cheaply, it can taste like chewing on a pine tree car freshener. That’s due to juniper berries, gin’s predominant botanical. And juniper is in trouble, according to Plantlife. From the BBC:
A Scottish plant that is used to flavour gin is being killed off by disease, a report has concluded.
A study by Plantlife said juniper was in a “critical state” due to the spread of the deadly fungal disease phytophthora austrocedrae.
The report concludes that the decline of juniper is caused by the failure of juniper bushes – many of which are over a century old – to produce seeds.
OH DEAR SWEET GOD NO. We must find this Phytophthora austrocedrae and destroy it before it can kill again. “Juniper is important,” notes the Plantlife press release, “not just for its cultural value, but also because it provides food for wildlife such as the juniper shield bug – a key native invertebrate, important cover for game bird and shelter for stock.” Yes, yes, we’re all deeply concerned about the juniper shield bug. Some of my best friends are juniper shield bugs. But the gin! Think of the gin!