C4 Photosynthesis


Supercharged plants
32-25 million years ago

Plants have been busily harnessing sunlight to make sugar for hundreds of millions of years – a process called photosynthesis. But fairly recently, some plants have found a better way to do it. C4 photosynthesis is far more efficient than normal photosynthesis, allowing C4 plants to cope with harsh conditions. Today scientists are trying to engineer rice to use C4 photosynthesis, to help feed the growing population.

See other: History of Life

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To repel attackers, the bombardier beetle shoots a noxious mixture of boiling chemicals out of its bottom in a series of rapid blasts.

The National Health Service is the world’s 4th-largest employer after the US Defense Department, the Chinese Red Army, and Walmart.

Palm trees are a type of grass.

The seventh most common sentence in The Hunger Games trilogy is “they swallowed hard”.

In 2015, a town in North Carolina rejected a solar farm because residents believed it would “suck up” sunlight and kill the local plants.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Athens is the only capital city in Europe where the air is more polluted outside than inside.

In AD 380, the Catholic Church issued a law specifically forbidding anyone to read the Bible whilst naked.

There is a plant called Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria Elata).

In 2006, later Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

Since 1963, the reverse of the United States ten-dollar-bill has stated “In God we trust”. Between 2000 and 2017, the reverse of the Bank of England ten-pound-note has portrayed Charles Darwin.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Flowers Flower


Plant revolution
130 million years ago

This may sound strange, but flowers are a quite recent invention. There have been land plants for 465 million years, yet there were no flowers for over two-thirds of that time. Flowering plants only appeared in the middle of the dinosaur era. The equally-familiar grasses appeared even more recently. The oldest fossil grasses are just 70 million years old, although grass may have evolved a bit earlier than that.

See other: History of Life

On Transparent Walls


“Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”

– Michael Pollan

Brier [Noun.]


Any of many plants with thorny stems growing in dense clusters, such as many in the Rosa, Rubus, and Smilax genera. (Alternative spelling of briar.)

‘From “desire”: desirable–admirable from “admire”,
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,’
– Gerard Nolst Trenité, The Chaos

Plants Colonise the Land


Out of the sea
465 million years ago

Some animals ventured onto land as far back as 500 million years ago, but they only visited briefly – perhaps to lay eggs in a place without predators. Plants were the first to take up permanent residence on land. The first land plants were relatives of green algae, but they rapidly diversified.

See other: History of Life