Amazing Plant Facts
The greatest reported depth to which roots have penetrated has been calculated at 393.7 ft
for a wild fig tree at Echo Caves, near Ohrigstad, Transvaal, South Africa.
Fastest Growing Plant:
Some species of bamboo have been found to grow at up to 3 ft per day, or at a rate
of 0.00002 mph.
The giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), originally from the Caucasus (east Black Sea,
Russia) reaches 12 ft in height and has leaves 36 in long. It was introduced into Europe, Canada, and the U.S. as a garden ornamental and, after taking hold as a pest, has since become naturalized in these parts of
Tallest Living Tree:
The tallest tree currently standing is the Mendocino Tree, a coast redwood (Sequoia
sempervirens) at Montgomery State Reserve, near Ukiah, California. Its height was measured to be 368.5 ft when it was initially measured in September 1998 and it had a diameter of 10.3 ft. The tree is
still growing and is estimated to be about 1,000 years old. Its location is kept secret by park officials to protect it, and there is no official marker identifying the Mendocino, which, despite its grandeur,
is barely distinguishable from an 80-acre cluster of two dozen or more surrounding champion trees at 350 ft or taller.
A corncob grown by Bernard Lavery of Wales, England, in 1994, measured 36.25 in length.
A single winter rye plant (Secale cereale) has been shown to produce 387 miles of roots in
1.8 cu ft of earth.
The corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) is the stinkiest plant on the planet. It
grows to an average height of 6.5 ft, and when it blooms, releases an extremely foul odor comparable to rotten flesh, which can be smelled half a mile away. Also known as the “devil’s tongue,” this foul-smelling
flower was discovered in 1878 in a rainforest in Western Indonesia, by Italian botanist and explorer Dr. Oroardo Beccari.
Most Weeds Not Native to U.S.:
Virtually none of the weeds we commonly contend with are native to North America.
For example, cocklebur, Field bindweed, lambsquarters, and kochia came from Eurasia (Russia and surrounding territories) and crabgrass, dandelion, leafy spurge, quackgrass, wild oats, green and yellow foxtail, wild buckwheat, and wild mustard all are native to Europe. Even Canada thistle originated in Eurasia and north Africa.
Most Massive Plant:
The most massive organism was reported in December 1992 to be a network of quaking
aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) growing in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah, from a single root system, covering 106 acres.
Thistles Helped Scots Repel Viking Invasion:
As the story goes, Scotland was under an imminent Viking
attack during the 12th Century. During the night of the invasion, the sandal-clad Norsemen leaped onto the thistle-strewn beach and let out cries of pain and curses. Warned of their approach, the Scots drove
the Norsemen back to their ships and across the North Sea. From that day, the thistle has been adopted as Scotland’s national symbol, and one of Scotland’s proudest orders of knighthood is called the
“Order of the Thistle.”
(Sources: Guinness World Records; Colorado State University; North Dakota State University; Weed Science Society of America)