Berry Go Round # 11 - Berries, and more than just Berries
By Christopher Taylor at 12/02/2008 09:46:00 am
Welcome to the eleventh edition of Berry Go Round, the monthly celebration of all things photosynthetic. Time to take a stroll through the blogging garden, and see what is showing itself this month.
First off, consider where it all began. The Phytophactor takes us back to look at Cooksonia, one of the first plants to grow on land, a towering giant that at five centimetres tall was the highest-growing plant of its time.
And while you're looking low, consider what other small wonders you may find near the ground. You may even find a pile of dead men's fingers.
But if you've had enough of looking down, you might prefer to look up... and up... and up... and contemplate some of the world's great conifers. Or you might be impressed by another of the gymnosperms, the ginkgo, with an ancestry separated from all other living plants by about two hundred million years. And, as it turns out, with an associated fungus that is equally unique. Just don't think you'll get away with shoving the seeds in your handbag.
Or perhaps flowering plants are more your thing. With spring moving into summer, it's a good time for flowers in Western Australia, and you can be moved by the glory of Christmas trees. Just don't ask what they're hiding beneath the soil. In North America, your dose of gold has recently been supplied by the normally unassuming rabbitbrush.
If you're in the tropics instead, then what could be more tropical than palm trees? Seeds Aside considers the effect that weather can have on palm evolution, while Ian Ramjohn looks at the Moriche palm and efforts to harvest from it more sustainably.
In the Northern Hemisphere, autumn is moving into winter, and while there may be less flowers, that doesn't mean there's nothing to see in the garden. Take a look at this wonderful array of autumn colours. Or the simple artistry in goldenrod seed-heads. Or you may find birch seeds scattered by the wind.
If after all that your head is swimming a little, then help is close at hand. And while reaching for that aspirin, you can even learn how the medicinal effects of willow bark were first discovered.
And then its back home, to wait for the next Berry Go Round to be held at Foothills Fancies. Hope you had fun!
Winter berries photographed by GrrlScientist.
Ginkgo seeds by Kurt Stueber.
Coco de Mer photo from Bill and Sylvia Henderson.
Painting of Thismia (a saprobic monocot) from Kew.