Bits of Trivia
Butterflies and Milkweed Plants
The growing larvae (caterpillars) eat milkweed leaves.
These leaves contain toxins- poisonous chemicals. These toxins don’t
hurt the caterpillar, but they do make the caterpillar poisonous to most
predators. Because it eats milkweed leaves as a caterpillar, the monarch
butterfly is also poisonous. The survival of the monarch butterfly
depends on this self-defense system provided by the milkweed.
Sap from milkweed was used by pioneers as a cure for
The airborne fluffy parachute of the seed was used by
Native Americans to insulate moccasins.
The dried empty seed pods were used as Christmas tree
decorations by early pioneers.
The boys and girls from Wisconsin schools collected
283,000 bags of milkweed fluff for use in military life jackets during
World War II.
It is used as an indicator of ground-level ozone air
Woodpeckers are voracious ant eaters. You may see them also pick up ants in their
beaks and crush them on their feathers. What are they doing this for? Crushing the ants
bodies releases tannic acid which in turn protects the bird from parasites!
those wonderful creatures, favor brilliant red and
orange flowers the most.
Following are some of their favorite flowers:
Perennials: Coral Bells (heuchera), Indian paintbrush, columbine,
hollyhock, jewelweed, bee Balm (monarda), phlox, daylilies, cardinal
flower, lupines, penstemons, butterfly weed- which is very pretty and
attracts butterflies too like it's name.
Annuals: 4 O'clocks, cleome, petunias, impatiens, scarlet runner bean,
red salvia, verbena, zinnias, lantana
Shrubs and Vines: Butterfly bushes, creeping trumpet vine, rose-of-sharon,
flowering quince, trumpet honeysuckle
Did you know that the flowers bees love usually close at night? The reason is bees
only fly during the daytime. Bees are attracted to flowers that are bright in color
and have strong fragrance.
Bees are responsible for the existence of many
flowers. without bees over 100.000 plant species would cease to exist!
Bees, feeling the rise in humidity, will usually
go back in their hive to avoid a coming rainfall.
The largest rose in the world resides in Tombstone, Arizona. Rosa Bankiae planted in
1855 at the Rose Tree Inn now covers over 8,000 square feet on a massive trellis. If you
are ever in Tombstone this would be worth seeing.
The most expensive flowers: a hyacinth bulb from
a variety called " king of Great Britain" sold in 1774 for L100. This equates to
over 200,000 dollars in today's economy!
A scarlet and white tipped tulip (Semper
augustus) sold for the amount of 5,500 florins. This would give it a current value
of 70,000 dollars today!
The oldest living tree is the bristlecone pine (pinus aristata). The oldest one found
is 4,900 years old. What an amazing specimen to have survived through so many eras! It
resides in the Wheeler Peak area of Nevada.
The gingko tree dates back to the Mesozoic era.
The same tree today closely resembles its' ancestor and is also known as the
"maidenhair" tree. Possibly one of the first fruit trees the ginko produces an
edible fruit that is similar to a persimmon.
The fastest growing tree in the world is the
acacia. Certain varieties can grow as much as 2 1/2 feet a month, which translates into a
little over an inch a day! Fast and furious the acacia does not live much longer than 30
Ever wonder where that cork in the wine bottle
It comes from the cork oak which is the only tree that can survive "bark
harvesting" as it has two layers of bark.
NEW TOMATO WORLD RECORD
There is a new champ for the biggest tomato ever grown
beating Gordon Graham’s 7-pound 12-ounce whopper grown back in 1986. As
of August 22, 2014 Dan MacCoy of Ely, Minnesota weighed an 8.41 pound
tomato grown on a Big Zac offshoot and a tomato plant less than 3 feet
tall. While it's not pretty there's no denying it's a whopper of a
tomato! All of the world records for giant tomatoes have been won by
tomatoes with fused blossoms. For world record purposes the skin of the
various parts of the tomato must be consistent and continuous. How many
lobes there are does not matter; only that they be connected via the
skin. Congratulations Dan.
Did you know?
Slugs are hermaphrodites: they all have male and female reproductive systems. Yes,
they can mate with themselves!!! They can stretch to 20 times their normal length enabling
them to squeeze through openings to get at food.
Cinch bugs overwinter by producing an
antifreeze chemical that protects their innards from becoming frozen. A plant that
everyone detests was found in an area where several feet of rock and plastic sheeting were
removed. This area had been untouched for at least 20 years. At the bottom was pure white
bindweed, quite alive!
Tall grass: The giant bamboo originating
from Asia can reach heights of 50 feet! It is a true grass.
Earth Worms: Have the power to
move stones that weigh 50 times their own weight. They also ingest soil and organic matter
equal to the amount of their body weight each day.