Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Totally True Tuesday ~ Peculiar Plants

Plants are everywhere, so we tend to take tham for granted. We may view them as boring or not at all special, but what if I told you there’s a plant that looks like a desert “octopus?” Or one dozen of this plant could fit on the head of a pin? How about a tree that can grow up to 125 feet and has bark like bubbly chocolate? These plants are all very real so read on to find out about these peculiar plants.

An Octopus in the Desert?

The welwitschia plant isn’t an actual octopus, but it sure looks like one! This native desert plant can be found in Namibia, sprawled up to 24 feet wide and 6 feet high. However, it starts out with only a stem and two leaves. As the welwitchia begins to grow the stem thinkens and the leaves split into straggly strips that look like an octopus.

This plant can live to be 400 to 1200 years old and is thought to be left over from when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Teeny Tiny Plants!

Did you know there’s a plant so small that 12 of them would fit on the head of a pin? And 2 of these plants in bloom could fit in this letter “o”?
The Watermeal plant is part of the duckweed family. They can be found on still ponds and is green or yellow-green in colour. They don’t have any roots so they tend to float around forming a bed across the top of the water – as the name suggests it looks like floating cornmeal!

However, unlike cormeal this plant is high in protein and could be eaten. In fact, in Asian people have done just that.

It’s Not Chocolate – It’s Tree Bark!

Wouldn’t it be cool to see a tree that has bark like melting chocolate? You could if you found a Wollemia. This tree was thought to be extinct until one was found in Australia in 1994 (fewer than a hundred are known to still be growing in the wild today).

The Wollemia is considered to be an evergreen and can grow 80-130 feet (25-40 meters) tall. It is multi-trunked and has been seen with up to 100 different stems coming from the main base. The leaves are flat and fern-like, spiralling up from the shoot. If this isn’t peculiar enough for one tree, it’s bark also resembles chocolate or Cocoa Puffs cereal. But don’t try to eat it! This is where the resemblance ends!

For more information on these and other peculiar plants, check out the internet, visit a pond or a plant nursery.

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