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In this image taken on July 30, 2012, from left, Poore Brother’s Habanero, Route 11 Chips Chesapeake Crab, and Boulder Canyons Red Wine Vinegar, potato chips are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Scientists discovered two grass species that taste like ‘salt and vinegar’ chips


A group of researchers in Australia recently discovered two new species of grass that boasts a peculiar flavor similar to salt and vinegar chips, according to NPR.

NPR on Friday reported that the unusual plants were found in the Pilbara, a dry and mountainous region in Western Australia.

“It’s probably not the best way to explore the natural world, licking things,” said plant biologist Benjamin Anderson, the lead author on a paper describing the strange find.

“My supervisor was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s definitely salt and vinegar,’” added Anderson, who recently graduated from the University of Western Australia.

“For me, it was a funky taste. It was a neat experience, but it’s not like it made me want to eat it.”

The two new species are part of a group called Spinifex grasses, which populate most of the Australian continent.

Anderson said he noticed the pair of undiscovered grasses as they featured a spray of glistening droplets around their leaves.

The plant biologist noted that one of his graduate advisers ultimately noticed the grasses’ unusual taste while working with samples in a laboratory.

Spinifex grasses are typically so hard and spiky that scientists claim gathering them can actually be painful.

The plants have scant nutritional value, and they also boast no known predators, including livestock like cows.

Some spinifex varieties produce a think resin that keeps herbivores away, but the droplets on the new kinds do not have that purpose.

Spinifex is the dominant vegetation in most of Australia, and it is a valuable foundation for ecosystems and helps curb soil erosion.

Insects, reptiles and a rare bird called the night parrot are known to make their homes in arid grass lumps, which are called hummocks.

Humans have used the resinous type of spinifex as a strong adhesive for centuries, but it is not edible.

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