It’s blooming! Cones actually serve the same purpose as flowers (they’re the tree’s reproductive bits) and that’s especially obvious here. Not sure if they’re convergent or actually genetically related structures…and not sure how to find out.
Hank is right, the cones are indeed the reproductive bits of conifers! The larger, woody pine cones like this one are the female cones (the male ones are typically far smaller). Conifers are gymnosperms, as opposed to angiosperms (which are the traditional flowering plants). According to the study described here, angiosperms evolved from gymnosperms. The big difference between them is that conifers have their male and female in different cones, while angiosperm flowers can have both male and female parts in the same flower. So at some point, a gymnosperm started producing cones with both the male and female reproductive bits, giving rise to angiosperms.
The Alnwick Poison Garden is pretty much what you’d think it is: a garden full of plants that can kill you (among many other things). Some of the plants are so dangerous that they have to be kept behind bars. [x]
From the BuzzFeed list 9 Places You Never Want To Go On A Vacation. I, however, think this place sounds super cool.
Aloe has been used for thousands of years—tracing all the way back to Egypt 6,000 years ago—to heal wounds and burns. This particular micrograph shows cells from Aloe erinacea, an aloe plant native to Namibia that is endangered due to habitat loss. Large, blue cells in the center are called xylem: they conduct water from the roots to the leaves. The small, circular clusters of cells are called phloem: they transport food made by the leaves to the rest of the plant.
Continuing with my posts about parasitic plants, this is Indian Pipes, Monotropa uniflora. It is a holoparasite, because it has no chlorophyll. It leeches nutrients off of mycorrhizal fungi, which are fungi that have symbiotic relationships with trees. It grows in temperate areas of Asia, North America and South America. It is rare, and hard to cultivate because of the specific growth conditions it requires. [x]
I’ve seen quite a few people making resource masterposts so I decided to make my own so I can share all these wonderful websites/masterposts with you guys and maybe make your year a little bit more awesome! Also credit goes to these lovely people for inspiring this post: abercrombierbangarztheworldwillbewatching and im5-official! Xx