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15 Strange And Lesser-Known Facts About Plants That Your School Books Never Taught You

5. There is a flower called “ghost plant” which is completely white in color because it does not contain any chlorophyll. This plant is found in parts of Asia, North and South America.

Ghost plant
Image credits: dekayem via wikimedia

There are a whole group of vascular, flowering plants which are growing in Arkansas that do not have chlorophyll which is vital for photosynthesis. As a matter of fact, these plants, known as the “Ghost Plant”, are not green, but instead a translucent white. Their pale,shimmering color is how the plant got its common name of Ghost Pipe, Ghost Flower, and even Corpse Plant. The Ghost Plant, Monotropa uniflora, grows in the dark areas, and instead of generating energy from photosynthesis, it operates like a parasite on fungi. Ghost Pipe flowers produce pollen and seed, and usually bloom in September and October.(source)

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4. There is a plant that mimics the anus of a dead animal, in order to attract flies for pollination.

Dead House Arum Lily
Image source: rottenbotany.files.wordpress.com

The Dead Horse lily (Helicodiceros muscivorus) mimics the anus of a dead animal so that it can better attract female flies for pollination. The plant is native to Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. When the plant is ready to pollinate, the plant produces its own heat and releases an extremely foul odor, reminiscent of rotting meat, to attract flies because they normally lay their eggs in carrion.

Once the flies are inside, they become trapped for up to six hours until the male parts of the flower begin to produce pollen. The chamber then opens and, as the flies leave, they brush past the pollen then carrying it to other flowers, fertilizing them in the process.(source)

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3. Plants make caffeine to defend themselves against pests. Caffeine is toxic to birds, dogs, cats, and has a pronounced adverse effect on mollusks, various insects, and spiders.

Image credits: pixabay

Caffeine (C8H10N4O2) is the common name for trimethylxanthine which is naturally produced by several plants including coffee beans, guarana, yerba maté, cacao beans, and tea. The primary reason for plants producing caffeine is that it acts as a natural pesticide which paralyzes and kills insects that attempt to feed on the plants.

Since the caffeine is also toxic to plant cells, it’s stored in specialized cell compartments called vacuoles which are like a medicine chest that keep the caffeine safely locked away from the rest of the cell contents until it’s needed. Caffeine is a toxic chemical to birds, dogs, cats besides having adverse effects on mollusks, various insects and spiders.(source)

2. Horticulturists in Britain have developed a new “grafted” plant that can produce both tomatoes and potatoes simultaneously. This plant is called “Ketchup ‘n’ Fries” plant or “Tomtato”.

A new grafted plant with the name “Ketchup ‘n’ Fries” plant, or “Tomtato” plant, was introduced in the England market in 2014 by the British horticulturists. The most fascinating part of this grafted plant is that it can yield tomatoes that have been grafted on potatoes root stock. This allows the plant to produce tomatoes and potatoes simultaneously.

In order to plant this graft, a cup of organic tomato food should first be introduced into the planting hole, but without the bone meal normally used for potatoes. The graft of ‘Ketchup ’n’ Fries’ should be planted at least an inch deep into the ground to allow the buried part of the tomato stems to grow roots to help support top growth. The plant can be kept in vegetable garden, or in a whisky-barrel-sized container, and it requires full sunlight to grow.(source)

1. A graduate from Royal College of Art has created the “first man-made biological leaf” that absorbs water and carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. This plant is hoped to be able to assist supplying oxygen for long space travels of NASA.

A graduate from the Royal College of Arts named Julian Melchiorri, has built a silk leaf that has been termed as the “first man-made biological leaf” which is capable of photosynthesis. Inside the silk leaf, organic chloroplasts, which are obtained directly from plant cells, are held together in a complex matrix of silk protein. Due to the presence of chloroplasts, the lightweight synthetic leaf produces oxygen from carbon dioxide and water.

The entire process takes place in the presence of light, be it sunlight or even the artificial light of a bulb. This plant has found a major application in NASA shuttle programs where a self-renewing supply of oxygen has always been sought after. This plant will further allow for the production of oxygen in long-distance space flights.(source)

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