115 Unbelievable Facts About Plants

  1. There are more than 300,000 species of plants on earth. Around 90% of them are flowering plants. The three most abundant members of plant families are the sunflower family (24,000 species), the orchid family (20,000 species), and the legume family (18,000 species). These 3 families comprise around 25% of all the flowering plant species on earth. (Source)
  2. Plants can survive low-level radiation. Few plants survived and grew near Chernobyl (Ukraine) after the nuclear disaster in 1986, thanks to the adoption of necessary changes in their inner structure. (Source) 
  3. About 80,000 plant species are edible. But currently, only 150 species are cultivated for human and animal food. (Source)
  4. Tropical rainforests cover 7% of the earth’s land mass but contain nearly 50% of all known plant species. Plants in these forests are the source of 120 prescription drugs for diseases such as cancer, leukemia, heart problems, malaria, glaucoma, arthritis, etc. So far, scientists have studied the medicinal properties of less than one percent of tropical rainforest plants. (Source)
  5. Humans have cleared more than 50% of trees initially present on earth. (Source)
  6. Flowers of skunk cabbage can generate heat during winters. This self-generated warmth protects flower from freezing and provide a warm haven for early-season insects. (Source)
  7. Manchineel, present in the USA, is known as the most dangerous tree in the world. Standing under this tree during rain can cause blistering of the skin, while the smoke of the burned tree can cause blindness. (Source)
  8. Pando is the oldest tree and one of the longest-living organisms on earth. The estimated age of this tree in the USA is 80,000 years. (Source)
  9. Fungi, red algae, and blue algae are usually not included in plants.
  10. The land plants appeared around 450 million years ago during the period known as the Ordovician Period.
  11. Wolffia Globosa (Watermeal) is the world’s smallest flowering plant. An average plant is 0.6 mm long and 0.3 mm wide. More than 5,000 of these plants  can be packed into a thimble. (Source)
  12. The Rafflesia arnoldii, commonly known as the corpse flower, is the world’s largest flower, with 12 kg of weight and up to one meter in diameter. The smell of this parasitic flower is stinky. (Source)
  13. The first botanical garden in the world was founded in Padua (Italy) in 1545. (Source
  14. The baobab tree can store 120,000 liters of water in its large trunk.
  15. Russian scientists regenerated a 32,000 years old extinct flowering plant in 2012. They did so with seeds buried by an ice age squirrel. It is the oldest plant brought back to life. (Source)
  16. Ricin, present in castor beans, is an extremely dangerous poison. Ricin was tested as a warfare agent by the U.S. military in the 1940s. (Source)
  17. Liverworts are land plants that can reduce erosion along streambanks, soil crusts in polar and desert areas, and water retention in tropical plants. 
  18. Gympie Gympie plant, native to Australia, is one of the most venomous plants and has the most painful sting in the plant kingdom. Its sting feels like hot acid and electrocution simultaneously. This horrible pain can remain for months. (Source)
  19. Most of the oxygen on earth comes from ocean plants. Scientists believe that phytoplankton (tiny ocean plants) produce 50 to 85% of the oxygen on earth. (Source
    Plants in ocean
    Ocean plants produce more than 50% of oxygen on earth
     
  20. During World War 1, mosses were used as first aid dressing on wounds for their coolness and softness. They can also absorb, retain, and distribute water throughout themselves better. (Source)
  21. Dawsonia Superba is the tallest moss in the world that can reach the height of 50 cm. 
  22. More than 28,000 plant species are known for medicinal use. 90% of people in Germany use herbal medicines. (Source)
  23. Around 58% of all tree species (34,575) are endemic to a single country. More than 23,000 tree species are present in the Neotropic biome, the highest in the world. The Nearctic biome has less than 1,400 tree species, the world’s lowest, while there are no trees in the Antarctic biome. (Source)
  24. Alnwick Garden in England is known as the world’s most dangerous garden. There are more than 100 species of poisonous plants in this garden. (Source)
  25. All parts of the Foxglove plant are poisonous. But a small amount of this plant is used to prepare medicine to treat heart failure. (Source)
  26. Several plants are viable as dyes. Plant dyes were the only source of available dye till the mid 19th Century. The best plants as natural dyes are indigo (blue dye) and madder (red dye).
  27. There is some toxicity in a few edible plants. Apple seeds; seeds and leaves of cherry, peach, bitter almond, plum, and apricot; uncooked or partially cooked red kidney beans and lima beans; raw cashews; peel and sap of mango; leaves and green part of potato; and leaves, stem, and unripe fruit of tomato are toxic to humans. Consumption of large quantities of these foods can even prove fatal. (Source) (Source) (Source)
  28. Citrus fruits, onions, garlic, and grapes are toxic to dogs, cats, and a few other animals.
  29. Carnivorous plants eat insects and even a few small invertebrate animals. They do so to attain nutrition unavailable in the soil where they grow.
  30. Around 40% of all plant species in the world are in danger of extinction. Since 1750, we have lost more than 570 plant species. Chief causes of plant extinction include destruction of wild habitat, pollution, overharvesting, invasive species, construction, and climate change. (Source)
  31. Vanilla flowers open once for 24 hours and should be pollinated within 8-12 hours. A small bee, known as the Melipona bee, is the only insect that pollinates vanilla flowers. (Source)
  32. Coco de mer has the largest seed and leaves in the world. It can weigh more than 16 kg. The smallest seed belongs to tropical orchids. They are barely visible to the naked eye. (Source)
  33. It is a common misunderstanding that the only plant with seeds on the outside of its fruit is the strawberryBut the things that look like seeds outside the strawberry are its ovaries. (Source)
  34. Rhizanthella gardneri, an orchid in Australia, spends its entire lifecycle underground. This plant lives as a parasite on a fungus species. It has the fewest chloroplast genes among plants. (Source) 
  35. According to research, freshly cut grass contains a chemical that reduces stress and prevents mental decline in old age. (Source)
  36. But the smell of freshly cut grass has a different meaning for plants and insects. Plants send the signal of their distress through this smell. It is also a call to insects for assistance. (Source)
  37. There are more than 600 known species of carnivorous plants on earth. These species employ different mechanisms to capture prey. (Source)
  38. A carnivore pitcher Plant has been discovered in the Philippines that devour the whole rat. (Source)
  39. Secretions of carnivorous plants can be used to prepare new anti-fungal drugs. (Source
    A pitcher plant
    Secretions of carnivorous plants are used for anti-fungal drugs
  40. Pitcher plants act as a toilet for tree shrews. The carnivorous plant also takes advantage by using the feces of this mammal as nitrogen. (Source)
  41. Around 12% of the earth’s terrestrial surface is part of protected areas to save endangered plant and animal species. (Source)
  42. Salicin in the bark of the willow tree acts as a natural aspirin. This ingredient is present in 2 to 3 years old willow trees. (Source)
  43. Scientists have found new types of antibiotics in wild plants. These antibiotics are present in the thale cress (a common weed) and can resolve the issue of antimicrobial resistance of microorganisms. (Source)
  44. It is not possible to have a truly black flower.
  45. Black, green, oolong, and white tea come from the same plant. The difference in taste and appearance is due to the time of picking leaves and their processing. (Source)
  46. Leaves are necessary for the survival of most plants. But bryophytes (moss, liverworts, and hornworts) can survive without leaves, stems, and roots. Cacti and a few other plants have spines instead of leaves. They can survive through “CAM photosynthesis”.
  47. Grapes were initially grown for wine-making 8,000 years ago in present-day Georgia. (Source)
  48. Elephant grass in Africa is 4.5 meters high, and even an elephant can hide in this grass. It is the reason behind the name of this grass.
  49. Nearly 30,000 plant species produce wood, but less than 4,000 of them are suitable for wood industry. Gymnosperms (cone-bearing trees) produce pine, spruce, and other softwood timber. Angiosperms (flowering plants) produce hardwoods, namely beech, oak, teak, etc.
  50. Chinese witch hazel is commonly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. But its most unique characteristic is the “firing” of its seeds with bullet force. Witch hazel throws these seeds at the speed of a bullet of a 19th Century gun (12 meters per second) up to 18 meters away. Before firing, these seeds spin around 26,000 times per minute inside the plant. (Source)
  51. According to a recent study, an endangered Chinese fir tree has cancer-fighting properties. Compound 29 in these trees enhances the effectiveness of an already-existing cancer drug against multiple cancers. (Source)
  52. Scientists have found natural compounds in a Japanese plant that slow the aging process. Angelica keiskei koidzumi (locally known as ashitaba) plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant for stomach ulcers, constipation, gout, cholesterol, and other diseases. The flavonoid DMC in these plants may be able to cause this anti-aging effect. Tests have shown promising results on both animal and human cells. (Source)
  53. The creeping devil is a species of the cactus plant. This strange plant can move at a rate of 2 ft per year in favorable conditions. (Source)
  54. Before the 17th Century, carrots were generally purple. (Source)
  55. Tulip bulbs were more expensive than gold in Holland in the 17th Century. This craze is known as “tulip mania” and is the first example of an economic bubble. (Source)
  56. The oak tree starts producing acorns after 20 or 30 years. The production of acorns attains a peak at 50 to 80 years. The acorn production decreases after 80 years of age. (Source)
  57. A mature leaf of Victoria amazonica, native to tropical South America, can support 45 kg of load if distributed evenly. (Source)
  58. The dwarf willow is the smallest tree in the world. It can grow to 1-6 cm in height. (Source)
  59. Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world that can reach 300 feet or above. The tallest tree ever recorded was Hyperion having a height of 380.3 feet. 
  60. Azolla fern played a key role in reducing greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) from the earth’s atmosphere 55 million years ago. There are expectations that the same fern can now reduce temperature and greenhouse gases rapidly. (Source)
  61. Onions are rich in L-tryptophan, a natural sedative. It is the reason that eating onion makes you sleepy. (Source)
  62. Onions and garlic contain natural antibiotics. (Source)
  63. Tears while cutting an onion are caused by sulfuric acid. You can control this problem by wearing protective goggles, running a fan, or cooking/refrigerating the onion. (Source) 
  64. Conifer trees secrete special resin that protects the tree from fungal infection and insect invasion. (Source)
  65. When harmful insects lay eggs on plants, these plants emit special scents and chemicals to seek assistance from nearby friend insects. (Source) 
  66. Plants can hear the sound of insects while they are eating them. In response, these plants secrete defensive chemicals to protect themselves. (Source
  67. Plants with deep root systems can prevent erosion and landslides. These include shrubs, grasses, and perennials. (Source)
  68. The roots of South Africa’s Shepherd’s tree are almost as long as the height of a typical redwood tree. (Source) 
    Cotton plant roots
    Plants communicate with nearby plants through roots
  69. Plants send chemical signals to nearby plants through their roots. These chemical signals act as communication between plants. (Source
  70. During their conversation with each other, plants pay more attention to those that are closer to them (close relatives) as compared to other unrelated plants. (Source)
  71. A study shows that plants recognize their siblings and don’t compete against them compared to stranger plants. (Source)
  72. According to recent research, plants use flowers to hear the sound of nearby pollinator insects. As a response to these buzzing sounds, these plants start sweetening their nectar quickly. (Source)
  73. Only leaves of a plant are known as herbs. Seed, root, bark, and all the other parts of a plant are spices.
  74. The Carolina Reaper is the world’s hottest chili pepper. Eating even a single Carolina Reaper can constrict arteries in the brain. (Source)
  75. Grass has toothed edges on blades. When you rub your skin with grass, these edges cause minor cuts and itching. (Source)
  76. You can smell the scent of Violet for a few moments at a time. The scent restores after a few seconds. (Source)
  77. Human noise harms plants. The impact of noise on animals that pollinate these plants indirectly affects plants. (Source)
  78. Lignin makes tree wood stiff and acts as a glue to hold cells together.
  79. According to a study, tomatoes grow better when human females sing in front of them. The male voice produces either no or negative effects on the growth of tomato plants. (Source)
  80. Plants are deaf but can see, smell, feel, and respond. (Source)
  81. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. It is followed by vanilla, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, pepper, and turmeric. (Source)
  82. The most accurate way to estimate tree age is by counting annual rings on a tree. (Source)
  83. Apples and onions taste similar in the absence of sight and smell. (Source)
  84. Honey can be toxic if made from poisonous plants. A few of these plants include Andromeda flowers, Datura plants, belladonna flowers, and a few others. Eating honey from these plants can cause headache, convulsions, vomiting, and even death. (Source)
  85. All parts of oleander are poisonous due to the presence of a large number of toxins. The plant is highly toxic, whether dry or green. (Source
  86. All parts of Aconitum napellus, especially roots, contain poison. This poison has been used in arrows and spears to kill wolves since ancient times. (Source)
  87. The poison in dumb cane, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, can cause speechlessness and temporary vision loss. 
  88. Death cap (also known as destroying angel) is the most toxic mushroom and one of the most toxic plants. Eating just the cap of a single mushroom can prove fatal for healthy adults. (Source)
  89. Every part of the Dandelion, from flowers to roots, is edible. This weed is a rich source of calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. 
    Dandelion flower and stem
    Every part of dandelion plant is edible
  90. Humans usually discard weeds. However, many weeds are edible plants. (Source)
  91. The cooking of edible flowers was first recorded in 140 BC. 
  92. Bamboo is known as the fastest growing plant on earth. Certain species of this plant can grow up to 35 inches a day. It can grow up to 40 m (130 ft) in height. (Source)
  93. Despite their tree-like appearance, bamboos belong to the grass family. It is the tallest member of the grass family. (Source)
  94. Some species of bamboo flower once every 40 to 50 years. Bamboo flowering is considered a bad omen in India.
  95. Caffeine acts as a natural pesticide in plants. Therefore, it is possible to prepare harmless caffeine-based pesticides for food crops. (Source)
  96. Caffeine has another advantage in plants as well. Caffeine in the nectar of coffee and citrus plants attracts pollinator insects. Honey bees can remember the plant with caffeine for a longer duration. (Source) 
  97. ‘Ketchup n Fries’ plant produces tomatoes and potatoes in a single plant. (Source)
  98. Ramonda Serbica, a plant present only in Serbia, returns to life with water even if dried for a year or more. This plant takes 12 hours to come to life after receiving water. 
    Ramonda Serbica plant
    A plant in Serbia can regrow with water after years of dryness
  99. Acacia phlebophylla, present only in Australia, is the purest natural source of the psychedelic drug DMT. (Source)
  100. Several plants and herbs are handy for abortions. But using them for this purpose is not risk-free and must be avoided. (Source)
  101. There are hundreds of tiny flowers inside every sunflower. These small flowers are known as florets.
  102. Sunflowers can clean radioactive waste by pulling radioactive contamination out of the soil. This plant has been used successfully for this purpose in Chernobyl. (Source)  
  103. Oak trees are taller than their surrounding trees and have higher moisture content. Due to these reasons, oak trees are struck by lightning more than any other tree. (Source)
  104. Red spider lily plants are grown near burial sites in Japan. The bulbs of these plants are poisonous, which keep the hole-digging animals away from corpses.
  105. Mimosa Pudica, commonly known as “the sensitive plant”, can remember and retain that memory for nearly a month. (Source 
  106. Petals of skeleton flowers are white when dry. But these flowers become transparent when they receive water.
  107. The Alula plant in Hawaii has almost extinct due to the reduction in numbers of its only pollinator, the green sphinx moth. (Source)
    Alula plant
    Alula has almost extinct due to insufficiency of its single pollinator
  108. Chewing the flowers of the Electric Daisy plant makes you salivate uncontrollably for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  109. Giant Hogweed can cause severe burns, blisters, and blindness. (Source)
  110. At least 120 plant species in the world are hallucinogenic. (Source)
  111. There are around 1,700 plant species in the Arctic tundra. These include flowering plants, grasses, mosses, lichens, herbs, and dwarf shrubs. (Source)
  112. Plum, bamboo, orchid, and chrysanthemum are known as the Four Gentlemen in Chinese art. (Source)
  113. Bromeliad is a family of flowering plants with around 3,600 species. Pineapple is the only edible member of this family. (Source)
  114. Lilies can reproduce by both sexual and asexual methods. It is the reason that you can propagate this plant from seeds, bulbs, scales, tissue culture, etc. (Source)
  115. A rubber tree can grow up to 130 ft tall and live for around 100 years. Latex (white milky sap) is available from 6 years old rubber trees. (Source)

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