Big name, big dreams
Thursday August 11th 2022, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Life

The contrast: I read recently that you generally don’t see treetops all entangled in each other because they can sense each other’s growing ends and turn out of the way. I imagine they avoid some degree of future fragility that way.

And then there’s this.

Someone designed an experiment to see how a low-growing rosette-leaved ground cover in pine forests interacted with its environment. Because, science.¬†They designed a gizmo to measure how much a leaf pushed it out of the way in 24 hours’ time: testing repeatedly, they found it put out pressure about equal to lifting a dime.

The kicker is that the plant is named Elephantopus–now there’s a safari-and-sea portmanteau for you, who thought that one up? And the force it exerts vs its size and weight is equal to the capability of an actual elephant.

No word from the octopus family on the matter.

They studied one next to some up-and-coming rye grass: it folded its leaf in such a way as to block out twenty shoots’ worth and hog all the sunlight for itself and starve out its competition. Scrappy little thing.

I’m picturing the tulip poplars up there looking way down and going, Now kids. Behave.


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Cool! Thanks for sharing. The elephantopus could still be sharing nutrients with its pushed-over neighbors. I just finished Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree, about her discoveries of how different species of trees support each other, and how ripping out the lesser trees in a forest really hurts the others. Quite fascinating.

Comment by DebbieR 08.12.22 @ 7:35 am



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