It’s easy to forget plants are “alive”, because they hardly move on their own. No more. This timelapse of plants growing and blooming and shooting up and blossoming shows plants move all the time.
Posts Tagged ‘Botany’
Have you ever wondered why leaves are green and not red, blue, or even black?
Affectionately known as Hot lips, Psychotria elata with it’s colorful red flowers attracts many pollinators including butterflies and hummingbirds. One of the host plants for the golden silkmoth (Xlophanes adalia). Also known in some circles as Mick Jagger’s lips. Native to Tropical America, this specimen was found at the Butterfly Gardens in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
The most intense colour in the biological world belongs to a tiny African berry. Iridescent blue and metallic, it literally outshines any other plant or animal substance in the world.
The plant itself is called Pollia condensata, and researchers have now explained the material magic underlying its marvelous hues: layers of cells that refract light in a manner usually seen in butterfly wings and beetle shells.
Structural colours come about not by pigments that absorb light, but the way transparent material is arranged on the surface of a substance. This fruit is one of the first known examples in plants. Scientists compared it with some other structural colours, such as the morpho butterfly wing, which is often described as the strongest structural colour. The fruit is stronger. Learn more here.
It’s called a tree spade — a piece of heavy equipment previously unknown to me but apparently widely available. A truck mounted tree spade is used to dig out the root ball and tree, lifting and tilting each tree onto the back of the truck for safe transportation to its new location.
Patches of white sand dot the Campos Rupestres savanna in Brazil’s central highlands. One of the strangest plants that thrives in these tracts of nutrient-poor soil is a spiny, purple-flowered genus called Philcoxia, which inexplicably grows with its leaves buried underground. Researchers have now discovered why: The leaves are a snare for tiny worms that the plant absorbs and eats.
The strategy makes sense in the plant’s barren, rocky environment – despite the apparently counterproductive adaption of burying light-harvesting leaves underground in the dark. Learn more here or here.
In a study of the molecular underpinnings of plant pest resistant, biologists have shown that plants both anticipate daylight raids by hungry insects and make sophisticated pre-dawn preparations to fend them off.
The graceful taper of a tree trunk into branches, boughs, and twigs is so familiar that few people notice what Leonardo da Vinci observed: A tree almost always grows so that the total thickness of the branches at a particular height is equal to the thickness of the trunk.
Leonardo’s rule holds true for almost all species of trees, and graphic artists routinely use it to create realistic computer-generated trees. The rule says that when a tree’s trunk splits into two branches, the total cross section of those secondary branches will equal the cross section of the trunk. If those two branches in turn each split into two branches, the area of the cross sections of the four additional branches together will equal the area of the cross section of the trunk. And so on. Learn more here.
Deep in the rainforests of the Indian state of Meghalaya, bridges are not built, they’re grown.
Ancient vines and roots of trees stretch horizontally across rivers and streams, creating a solid latticework structure strong enough to be used as a bridge.
This is a bridge in Meghalaya constructed by the living roots of Fig Trees:
Learn more here.
Two 400-million-year-old fossil plants are the oldest known examples of wood. They are small herbs, suggesting that wood did not evolve to help plants grow tall.
Trees did not evolve until about 385 million years ago, at which point they began scrambling to grow taller in order to capture more light. Wood was crucial for this, because it made their trunks sturdier.
But scientists think that was not why wood first evolved. These new fossils are stems only 12 centimetres long, so they wouldn’t need the support. Instead the wood may have improved the flow of water up the stems. Learn more here.