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Facts About Plants

"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them." —Mitch Hedberg

Pollen is one of the few natural substances that does not deteriorate.

Plants make up at least 90% of the mass of living things on Earth.

View more facts about: Planet Earth

On June 6, 1872, the U.S. Congress passed a bill exempting from duty, among other things, "fruit plants, tropical and semi-tropical". However, it was inadvertently printed as "fruit, plants tropical and semi-tropical". This misplaced comma cost the U.S. government $1,000,000 before a new session of Congress was able to rectify the error. (source)

View more facts about: Laws and Customs

Redwood bark is fireproof; fires in redwood forests burn inside the trees.

Much has been said about the value of Incan gold, but one of the great legacies of the Incas was food plants. The potato, the pumpkin, and the pineapple came from South America and spread through the world. Coca, the source of cocaine, and cinchona, the source of quinine, are also gifts of Peruvian civilisation to mankind.

View more facts about: Pre-Columbian America | Food and Drink

The smallest trees in the world are dwarf willows, which grow to a height of only two inches. They are found on the tundra of Greenland. (source)

Nineteenth-century Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet noted that common lilac flowers bloom when the sum of the squares of the mean daily temperatures (counted from the last frost of the previous winter) adds to 4,262 degrees Celsius.

One of the greatest disasters France has had was the downy mildew plague that struck vineyards in 1876. This fungus had been introduced to France eleven years earlier on American vine stock brought to France in order to solve the phylloxera epidemic of 1865. (source)

According to a study conducted at the University of Utah, 98 tons of prehistoric plant matter was required to produce a gallon of gasoline. At this rate, the amount of fossil fuels burned in one year is equivalent to 400 times the amount of plant matter that grows on the Earth each year.

View more facts about: Interesting Statistics

While an acre of wheat produces 1,300 pounds of crop and an acre of corn produces 2,800 pounds of crop, an acre of bananas produces 18,000 pounds of crop. As well, bananas can be harvested year-round and grow quickly. (source)

The oldest living thing in North America is believed to be a box huckleberry, a low evergreen shrub whose pink flowers bloom in spring. A single specimen of this plant grows for more than a mile along a slope beside the Juniata River in Pennsylvania and is estimated to be 13,000 years old. (source)

A giant sequoia tree will bear millions of seeds over its lifetime, but each seed is so small that it takes 3,000 of them to weigh one ounce.

View more facts about: The Microscopic World

A Japanese scientist recorded one stalk of bamboo that grew nearly four feet in 24 hours.

Some varieties of lemon trees can produce as many as 7,000 lemons.

In the early nineteenth century, a mutant tree that produced oranges without seeds appeared on a plantation in Brazil. Every naval orange in the world today comes from a bud that was grafted from that mutant onto another tree, whose branches were then grafted onto another tree, and so forth.

Green, black, white, and oolong tea all come from leaves of the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The differences are the result of differences in harvesting and processing the leaves. (source)

View more facts about: Food and Drink

There are approximately 300 species of insect-eating plants worldwide.

Dinosaurs did not eat grass. Grass evolved from bamboo-like plants only 24 million years ago, 40 million years after the dinosaurs died out.

View more facts about: Misconceptions

The island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean is the home of the tambalacoque tree, which, until the 17th century, flourished in the hot and humid climate. Then, all of a sudden, the tree seemed to lose the ability to grow from seed. No reason was found, with the result that, by the 1970's, there were only 13 very old tambalacoque trees left. It was then that an American ecologist, Stanley Temple, noticed that the tambalacoque had stopped growing from seed at precisely the time when the dodo became extinct. Many seeds will germinate only after having been eaten by a particular animal and passing through its digestive system. As an experiment, Temple fed tambalacoque seeds to turkeys and gathered seeds up from their droppings. Some of these seeds did germinate, and there is hope that the tambalacoque tree will survive.

The most productive plant habitat is a marsh. The net annual primary productivity (as measured by the dry weight of plant material produced) of a marsh is two to three times that of the best agricultural land.

There is a wild edible plant called Hernandulcin which is 1000 times sweeter than sugar.

Only two flowering plants grow in Antarctica. One is related to the carnation, and the other is a type of grass.

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