The Fastest Plant in the World and Groovy Cottonwood – Canada – Columbia Valley
The two large mammals that are abundant in these areas, and that we have yet to see are bears and cougars. Although we have cycled through an area densely populated with both of these we are probably more likely to see a bear in town raiding an apple tree!
To me one of the most impressive plants here are the Bunchberry or Cornus canadensis, whose brilliant red berries light up the sides of the tracks where ever there is a clearing.
Botanists have shown this to be the fastest moving plant in the world. Tests have shown that the petals move at 22 feet per second when they open with an explosive force launching the pollen in the air 10 times the height of the plant so it can be carried away in the wind. The stamens are like miniature trebuchets which are special catapults that maximise the throwing distance by having the payload (pollen) attached to the throwing arm (filament) by a hinge.
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