Great For Summer Science Lessons: 50 Wild Facts About Plants

It’s summer, which means you’re most likely out of the classroom and enjoying the weather and all that comes with it. For many of us, this means either attempting to grow a few things in our own gardens or hitting up the farmer’s markets for some awesome fresh produce. Others will start small school gardens with their students in the fall, which offer many learning opportunities extending way beyond just the idea of how to get something to grow. The handy infographic below takes a look at fifty cool facts about plants, many of which you may not have already known. Use them as cocktail party fodder, to get your students interested in plants, or just for fun! 

Facts About Plants

  • One species of bamboo can grow up to 91 centimeters in one day
  • The tallest recorded sunflower was 7.76 meters high
  • The world’s tallest recorded basil plant was 3.34 meters high
  • 11,200 year old carbonised figs are some of the oldest crops
  • The hemp plant is the oldest plant cultivated to make products (like clothing)- starting about 5,000 years ago in China
  • The asian watermeal is the world’s smallest flowering plant, at .1-.2mm
  • The oldest example of rice cultivation dates back 15,000 years
  • The heaviest living organism on the planet is a colony of aspen trees all linked to one root system. It is called the Trembling Giant and weighs 6,615 tons
  • The oldest flowering plant found by scientists is about 125 million years old
  • There are about 80,000 edible plants in the world
  • Prior to the 17th century, almost all cultivated carrots were purple
  • 1,355 is the largest number of tomatoes harvested from one plant
  • A 1.1 meter long cucumber was grown in Essex, UK
  • The oldest documentation of wine being made from grapes was around 6,000 bc
  • Technically, banana plants are not a fruit – they are an herb
  • All parts of dandelions are edible
  • All parts of the burdock plant are edible
  • The UK spends £150 million a year removing japanese knotweed
  • 20% of spice imports are black pepper
  • Rhubarb stems may be delicious, but the leaves are poisonous
  • Flowering plants first appeared on earth about 130 million years ago
  • About 90-100 million years ago flowers developed petals to lure insects
  • Scientists once revived a seed that was frozen 32,000 years prior
  • There are some plant varieties on Socotra island that are 20 million years old
  • The woad plant produces a blue dye that has been used since the neolithic time
  • At Chernobyl, radiation has caused trees to not grow directly upwards – they have lost their sense of direction
  • Israel has a type of rhubarb that is self watering
  • There are supposedly some 300 species of fungi living in the N-S Korea demilitarized zone
  • There is a ‘poison garden’ in Northumberland dedicated to poisonous plants
  • Ecuador has a type of plant that feigns illness to avoid being eaten by insects
  • Scientists discovered a plant in the Phillipines in 2009 that is capable of eating rats
  • 80% of New Zealand’s flowering plants are only found there
  • 68% of all plant species are in danger of becoming extinct
  • There are about 298,000 plant species on the planet
  • About 70,000 plants are used in medicine
  • A venus flytrap can live about 20 years
  • Plants can transmit sexually transmitted diseases
  • Caffeine is a natural insecticide
  • Gum trees can regenerate after fire

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