Articles » Botany
Problem Solving Takes Brains!
Have you ever noticed that everybody seems to place a high value on problem solving? I can well imagine one’s mother saying “This room is way too messy! How are you going to manage your clothes, toys, electronic gadgets (or whatever) so that this does not happen again?” She clearly expects you to come up with a plan and to follow it! Possibly you may come up with some way to organize your treasures in order to keep mum happy. Read the rest of this entry »
Way Too Rich for Evolution
Unless a lake is considered polluted, we don’t reflect much on all the living organisms that the waters contain. As a matter of fact however, most lakes have many different kinds of single celled plants (algae) floating happily in the top several metres of the water column. While in certain situations, people say that variety is the spice of life, many scientists worry about why there is such diversity/variety in lakes and the sea. Read the rest of this entry »
All the Beauty!
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 »
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 »
Subtle Traps in the Borneo Jungle
Whatever you may think about cats, there is no denying that they are beautifully designed. No, I do not mean their attractive appearances and charming personalities. I mean their design features which allow them to catch mice. The cat, of course, is an expert in the strategy of the hunt. She lies in wait, preferably in a spot where she is not too conspicuous. Then she stalks her prey, slinking along ever so quietly. Finally she winds up for a mighty spring through the air with a precise landing spot… right where the unsuspecting victim hesitates. Then voila! Here she comes to show the victim to you. Naturally you are very impressed with this cat’s achievement. If her strategy were not perfect, there would be no victim since mice are notoriously cautious. Read the rest of this entry »
When I think about gardens, a happy little ditty comes into my mind.
- You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
Especially in the month of June
You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
All on a golden afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »
Clever Plans in Plants
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 »
Only a ? in a Guilded Cage
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 »
Cleaning up in ponds
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 »