Featured in the newest Dialogue Magazine »

Articles » Botany

 

Adventures Await Everywhere!

Adventures Await Everywhere!

Children

One of the most delightful aspects of travel is the prospect of new adventures. And so it was, on a blustery and chilly day in late September, that we found ourselves driving along the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. We were heading to Hawk Beach on Cape Sable Island, the most southerly tip of Nova Scotia. Such beaches are never easy to find, and we had to ask twice before we found it. After driving down very obscure roads, we found the beach after we had scrambled up quite a high embankment. Read the rest of this entry »


All the Beauty!

All the Beauty!

ChildrenIntroductory

Every season of the year provides its share of interest for young adventurers, or the young at heart. In winter, for example, have you considered how beautiful the silhouettes of the trees are against the snowy background? The deciduous (without leaves) trees look particularly artistic because we can see the branching pattern. Every tree has a characteristic canopy shape as a result of the way that the branches grow. This shape enables the tree in summer to display its leaves to best advantage so that the maximum possible sunshine is intercepted and the minimum number of leaves remains in the shade. Read the rest of this entry »


Appreciating the Creation

Appreciating the Creation

Introductory

Many people claim they are not interested in science, but this is not really true. Perhaps they never really studied nature, but there are few people who do not notice how interesting and beautiful the surrounding countryside is. Did you realize for example that magpies are common in the western half of North America, but not in central Canada? Some people say that these distinctive birds are so common in Edmonton that this is the “magpie capital of Western Canada” (a dubious distinction). Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating Rhythm!

Celebrating Rhythm!

IntermediateIntroductory

The 2017 award of the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine to three Americans, Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall and Michael Young, has served to stimulate our interest in a phenomenon that is actually well-known. We all know why people get hungry about the same time of day, or wake up about the same time, or suffer from jet-lag. It is because of biological clocks. So what was so special about the work of these three scientists? The story actually goes back to 1729! Read the rest of this entry »


Cleaning up in ponds

Cleaning up in ponds

ChildrenIntroductory

Some things in nature are so unexpected that our reaction can only be one of wonder or amazement. Did you know that some plants, innocent in appearance, but vicious in character, lurk in ponds throughout the world? These plants attract, catch and eat aquatic insects, water fleas and young tadpoles, fish fry, tiny worms and very young insect larvae including mosquito wrigglers. Read the rest of this entry »


Clever Plans in Plants

Clever Plans in Plants

IntermediateIntroductory

Have you ever read The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl? It is such a fun story! Even grown ups laugh about this nasty scheming reptile who keeps devising new and ingenious ways to catch children for his supper. He describes his schemes as “secret plans and clever tricks.” Various jungle animals however foil each sneaky plan and the nasty croc eventually gets launched by an elephant into outer space. Read the rest of this entry »


Conversations on Creation

Conversations on Creation

Introductory

A friend, a while ago, articulated some possible critical arguments concerning advocacy for young earth creation which are based on observations from nature. Here are some reflections on that conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


Creation Weekend 2019

Creation Weekend 2019

Introductory

Friday and Saturday – October 25 and 26, 2019

Featuring Dr. Margaret Helder

  • Original research in algae, aquatic fungi and freshwater ecology
  • Taught biology to university and high school levels, and home school science workshops for all grades
  • Science writer for Dialogue and Reformed Perspective and other Christian publications
  • Expert witness at a trial on creation/evolution in the United States Read the rest of this entry »

Diatoms: Jewels of the Marine World

Diatoms: Jewels of the Marine World

IntermediateIntroductory

Diatoms are a major group of plants which float in open water, and they are one of the most successful types of microscopic algae known. The estimated over 100,000 known species are found in the oceans, in freshwater, in soils and even on damp surfaces. Most diatoms are unicellular, although some can form colonies in the shape of long filaments or ribbons. As eukaryotes or cells with a nucleus, they have highly complex cells, comparable to other eukaryotes such as mammals and even humans (Philippe, et al., 1994, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 7: 247). Read the rest of this entry »


Dicot Dreamers vs. Monocot Meanies

Dicot Dreamers vs. Monocot Meanies

Children

Two “teams” of plants compete for popularity

One evening after dinner at our Opa and Grandmum’s house, Grandmum told us that we were going to do an experiment called Monocot “Meanies” vs. Dicot “Dreamers”.  We each took two styrofoam bowls and put holes in the bottom, and then put in some soil.  In one bowl, we planted two soaked bean seeds and two dry bean seeds.  In the other bowl, we planted two soaked corn seeds and two dry corn seeds.  Grandmum said, “Some plants are Monocot Meanies and others are Dicot Dreamers.”  She didn’t tell us which was which, but that we would know when they came up. Read the rest of this entry »


Fascinating Dates

Fascinating Dates

Introductory

I remember that when I was a child, we tried to grow date palms from the pits or seeds in the fruit. None ever germinated. But that was then and time has passed. When we had fresh dates (with seeds inside) at Christmas a few years ago, I decided to try again. Accordingly, I took a deep margarine tub, punctured several holes in the bottom to drain out water, and filled it with good potting soil. Then each day, as the dates were consumed, I tucked their seeds into the soil. Maybe twenty or more seeds went into the pot. And nothing happened. But I kept watering. Then after eight weeks or more, a pure white shoot about 2 mm in diameter finally appeared. It looked like a growing shoot from a corn seed, only thicker. Next day another shoot appeared. It took several days for these to turn green. Eventually we had five young seedings, each of which developed a bright green leaf. More leaves followed, one at a time. These plants are monocots, like corn and grasses and bamboo. That is why they send up only a single leaf at first. Read the rest of this entry »


How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Children

Even in Alberta, there are many crops which we could choose to grow in our gardens. Do you like perennial flowers? Lots of people grow a wide variety of such plants, but  maintaining them involves a constant battle with weeds. Others choose edible plants to grow. These may also be artistic, as in some cabbages or large areas planted with lettuce, or string beans. Humming birds love the bright red string bean flowers, so the garden can serve several uses. Other people choose plants that taste good but are not particularly attractive to look at (potatoes for example). Read the rest of this entry »


Imagine That

Imagine That

Introductory

Have you ever discovered that something you thought quite ordinary (or even ugly), was actually a priceless antique? I remember harbouring such sentiments when I was a teenager. Since then, of course, I have learned better how to identify valuable items. Read the rest of this entry »


 

Everyone likes to communicate, to share what we have learned. And there is so much to learn!! While we all enjoy sharing our latest news with friends, sometimes this news involves events or objects observed in nature. Did you hear about the bear that so and so saw in their back yard?! Naturally you want to be the first to report this interesting piece of information. But as we get a little older, sometimes it is fun to make a study of an issue and be the first to report our findings to our friends.  Nature is so full of interesting features and processes and events. Have you ever asked yourself, what is happening here and why is it happening? Read the rest of this entry »


Only a ? in a Guilded Cage

Only a ? in a Guilded Cage

IntermediateIntroductory

Have you ever seen a plant growing inside a cage? We saw such a sight at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Australia. It makes you stop and think doesn’t it? Is the cage there to protect the tree or to protect the people? Is this some sort of carnivorous threat or what? The little evergreen tree inside the cage is actually a very non-threatening 50 cm tall. The cage is there to prevent anyone from running off with the rarest known tree species on earth. The existence of this highly unusual tree, known as the Wollemi Pine, was just discovered in late 1994. Scientists are still dancing with delight. Read the rest of this entry »