Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Plant Snippets

The Gardener's Corner
I’m always collecting little snippets about gardening and came across some fun and interesting facts about plants.
Most fruits and vegetables contain a large percentage of water and a raw apple has 84%, while a cucumber has 96%. It might surprise some people that cranberries, blueberries and concord grapes are major fruits native to North America. Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.
Curiously enough, some edibles belong to plant groups that would not be expected. For example, peanuts are beans, pineapples are considered a berry and aubergines, commonly called eggplants are a member of the thistle family.
The oldest living seed came from a North American Arctic lupin. It was found in 1954, buried in frozen silt near Miller Creek in central Yukon by a mining engineer. It had been there for 10,000 years yet when a scientist planted it, a plant grew identical to the modern lupin.

Almonds are the oldest, most widely cultivated and extensively used nuts in the world and there are two hundred and fifty two varieties of potatoes grown around the world.
Some facts make one wonder as to how they came about. An average ear of corn has 800 kernels, arranged in 16 rows. So, how many people actually sat and counted kernels and rows, and did they eat them afterwards? Here’s another tidbit about corn; one bushel of it will sweeten more than 400 cans of pop.

One cord of wood can make seven and a half million toothpicks, that’s a lot of toothpicks to count. Some really old trees have been found with long forgotten garden tools embedded in the bark as the tree grew around them. I’ve seen photos of several of these in magazines and it’s amazing that the trees could do this. Did you know that a notch in a tree will remain the same distance from the ground as the tree grows?
We think the forests here are dense but the canopy of a rainforest is so thick, only one percent of sunlight reaches the ground.
Some plants can grow very fast like bamboo which is a grass and can shoot up at the rate of three feet a day. Even edible mushrooms are quick to start by reaching their full size within seven days. Others like the saguaro cactus in the Arizona desert grows less than one inch (2.5 cm) in its first ten years.
Various facts are hard to grasp like the collector in the Netherlands in 1634 that paid 1,000 pounds of cheese, 4 oxen, 8 pigs, 12 sheep, a bed and a suit of clothes for a single bulb of the Viceroy tulip.
Today using tobacco has a warning from the surgeon general whereas from the 1500’s to the 1700’s it was prescribed by doctors to treat a variety of ailments including headaches, toothaches, arthritis and bad breath.
For years, and still today, seaweed is used in the manufacturing of fertilizers, medicines, toothpaste and ice cream.
Strange but true; coffee was discovered by goats, nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously and orchid seeds are so small that one million of them would weigh just less than one gram.


  1. I remembered reading one of Michael Pollan's books and being bamboozled by the facts about corn. Interesting info. Good job Judith

  2. Great info to digest ...

    Have a lovely Christmas week ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  3. Hi Judith, Lots of fun and surprising facts!! Are you already dreaming of spring :-)) Wow you have a lot of snow, I am jealous!! But I do understand, when you get a lot it could be tiring.

  4. Wow, that was great. Learned a lot, thanks Judith. How is the snow, need the snowshoes up your way? Jen.

  5. Great fun and fascinating, too, Judith. I am amazed by the lupine – seeds are so powerful, most people have no idea! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and ideas. – g

  6. Lovely amalgam of plant facts.
    The orchid one is amazing, that something so small could be so valuable and so beautiful- vanilla and orchid. Yum!

  7. That was all very interesting to read! And awesome when one stops to think about nature and all its variety. Enjoyed your post on your Christmas decorations also! Bess


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