The 21 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Plant Kingdom

Sure, they’ve been around for about 500 million years at this point, but there’s still plenty to learn about our little leafy friends.

1. “Fruit” is a botanical term and “vegetable” is a culinary term, so certain vegetation such as tomatoes, green beans, eggplants, and cucumbers could be called either fruits or vegetables.

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2. A herb is specifically from the leaf of a plant, and a spice is from the seed, berry, stem, bark, root or bulb.

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3. Plants are capable of recognizing their siblings and will give them preferential treatment, competing less for valuable resources like root space than when surrounded by plants that are strangers.

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4. One third of the plant life on the island of Socotra near Yemen can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.

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5. Scientists were able to revive a flowering plant from the fossilized fruit found in the stomach of an Arctic ground squirrel who was trapped in ice around 32,000 years ago.

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6. There’s a garden in England dedicated to plants which are really bad.

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7. Caffeine evolved as a natural insecticide. It paralyzes and kills insects that attempt to feed on the plants containing the chemical.

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8. But broccoli, broccolini, and broccoli rabe are not the same family.

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9. In fact, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and savoy are all the same species of plant.

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10. Native Americans planted corn, beans, and squash together because corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize, and the squash spreads along the ground preventing weeds.

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11. The smell of freshly cut grass is actually a plant distress call.

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12. In fact, when some plants are being eaten by caterpillars, they send chemical signals to parasitic wasps who swarm and attack the caterpillars.

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13. Mustard and Wasabi aren’t spicy until they are crushed

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14. The entire dandelion plant is edible.

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15. Figs are not always considered vegan.

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16. A Bonsai Orange Tree will actually produce tiny oranges.

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17. The average tree is made up of 99% dead cells.

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18. The heaviest tree in the world is also the heaviest single organism.

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19. The locations of the oldest tree in the world, Methuselah, and the tallest tree in the world, Hyperion, are closely guarded secrets.

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20. The fifth oldest tree in the world, The Senator, was burned down.

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21. In 1973, the world’s most isolated tree, Arbre du Ténéré, was hit and destroyed by a driver.

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