When it comes to seeds, there is no standard size. Seeds are widely varied in shape and size. Consider the contenders for the extremes of seed size.
The world’s smallest seeds are produced by certain ephiphytic orchids. Seeds can be as small as 1/300th of an inch (85 micrometers). The weight of one of them is about 1/35,000th of an ounce (0.81 micrograms). By way of comparison, a typical grain of salt is about 300 micrometers in length. This tiny specimen can grow into a beautiful orchid that is known as an “air plant.” It does not grow on the ground in the dirt, but rather attaches itself to other plants, such as tree bark, and gathers moisture and nutrients from the air.
On the other end of the see spectrum is the massive seed of the Coco de Mer palm tree. The mature fruit can weigh up 66 pounds (30 kg) and can be up to 19.7 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The fruit, which requires 6–7 years to mature and a further two years to germinate, is sometimes also referred to as the Sea Coconut, Bum Seed, double coconut, coco fesse, or Seychelles Nut. The tree that springs from that massive seed can grow to be 112 feet (34 m) tall.
If you are stranded in the Arctic and happen to have access to a polar bear for your lunch, think twice about eating the liver. Polar bear livers are extremely high in Vitamin A, cadmium, arsenic, and a host of other toxic substances. Your little polar bear liver snack will likely result in hair loss, extreme flakey skin, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, etc. If you are already in a weakened condition, that polar bear liver may well be your last meal.
Oh… and it’s not all that healthy for the bear, either.
One of the most expensive substances on the planet comes from one of it’s unlikeliest — and ugliest — sources: the horseshoe crab. The bright blue blood of the of these inhabitants of shallow ocean waters fetches an astonishing $60,000 per gallon. With one gallon containing 75,708 drops, this equates to each drop of blood being worth 79 cents.
What makes this weird-looking substance from a weird-looking creature so weirdly valuable? Continue reading →
Parents routinely tell their children to dress appropriately for the weather. How should a child dress to be properly prepared for an onslaught of amphibians?
On July 12, 1873 residents of Kansas City, Missouri were astonished to find frogs falling from the sky. Scientific American reported the event, noting that the “shower of frogs darkened the air and covered the ground for a long distance.”
Not to be outdone, Missouri’s neighbor to the north also reported amphibian precipitation — this time in the form of frozen frogs. On June 16, 1882 The city of Dubuque, Iowa witnessed a hailstorm of frogs that battered its unsuspecting inhabitants.
Meteorologists speculate that the Kansas City phenomenon was caused by a small tornado that happened to pick up a population of unfortunate frogs and carry them in what must have been the biggest frog leap in history. The Dubuque incident was likely the result of a tornado or very powerful updraft lifting the frogs high into the atmosphere, where they were flash frozen before beginning their return to earth many miles distant.