20 January 2007

Warm-blooded plants

If you live in the country or have taken a winter walk in the woods, you may have seen skunk cabbage coming up with its characteristic pink and white pod-like new growth. The ice and snow on the ground around the plant will have melted.

I had always thought that the melting allowed the plant to emerge, similar to a late winter or early spring bulb such as crocus. But no. The plant actually is warm blooded. Skunk cabbage provides its own warmth; its leaves and flowers cannot tolerate frost.

To read more about thermogenesis and skunk cabbage click on this link.

Think about the "Little Shop of Horrors" with the plant that seemed to have animal qualities. Spooky.

No comments: