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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Botany

The Ancient Assyrians, Chinese and Egyptians all established botanical gardens in which they grew various plants and herbs for medical purposes.

The noted Greek philosopher and scientist Theophrastus (372-287 BC) is sometimes called the "Father of Botany." He wrote two books, On Odors and An Enquiry into Plants that summarized the knowledge of his time concerning spices and herbs. In the latter Theophrastus made the important fundamental observation that the flower must always precede the fruit, that is, that a fruit is the product of a flower.

Elizabethan botanist John Gerard (1545-1612), penned in 1598 The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. The 1,484 page book is described as the largest single-volume work on plants that has been published in English.

Claude Aubriet is thought to have been the first artist to accompany a botanical expedition travelling to the Middle East in 1700. There he made drawings of historical sites and the region's flora.

A Malva, illustrations by Aubriet for Tournefort's Institutiones
One of the earliest of America's botanists was John Bartram (1699-1777).  He corresponded with the leading botanists and gardeners of Europe and exchanged seeds and plants with them. In 1728 Bartram he purchased land at Kingsessing, near Philadelphia, which he developed into the first botanical garden in the American colonies and where he conducted the first hybridization experiments in America.

Charles Darwin was a gifted botanist who used his own gardens at Down to great effect. In the last two decades of his life he wrote five botanical books, describing a wide range of observational and experimental work. It included the role of insects on cross-fertilization and the adaptions of climbing plants such as ivy.

The highest tree in the world. the, Sequoia Evergreen, is located in California. Its height is 111 meter.

Narcissus flower is the most poisonous plant in the world.

The largest flower in this world is the Rafflesia, which is 90 cm in diameter.

The Raphia palm tree has got the largest leaves; one leaf can grow up to 20 meters.

Gardenias are the most fragrant flowers in the world.

The fastest growing plant in the world is Bamboo; it can grow up to 90 cm per day.

Scientists believe that the oldest plants, algae have existed on Earth for at least 1 billion years.

The Pitcher plant is the most dangerous plant because it is a carnivorous plant, a meat eater.

Ginkgo biloba are the oldest species of plants growing in soil. They grew on Earth millions of years ago and remembers the era of dinosaurs.

An average tree filters up to 40 pounds of pollutants from the air each year.

More than 375 000 plant species have been discovered on the planet Earth.

The Sea has got more plant species than dry land.

Water only goes up the roots and stem, food and most nutrients travel both ways.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Encarta Encyclopedia, http://scienceray.com/biology/botany/15-interesting-facts-about-plants/

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