“Warm blooded” plants

Thermogenic plants have the ability to raise their temperature above that of the surrounding air. They can generate their own heat and flower earlier in the season than almost any other plant.  Botanists are not completely sure why thermogenic plants generate large amounts of excess heat, but most suspect the flowers may be doing this to attract coldblooded insect pollinators. Thermogenic plants are found in a variety of families, but Araceae in particular contains many such species. Here’s some examples.

Symplocarpus foetidus, commonly known as skunk cabbage, is a low growing plant that grows in wetlands and moist hill slopes of eastern North America. Bruised leaves present a fragrance reminiscent of skunk.

Skunk-cabbage in snow – Photo via Ryan Johnson/Flickr

Continue reading “Warm blooded” plants

Advertisements

Insect hotels

Obscurasky – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

An insect hotel  is a man made structure created to provide shelter for insects. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the specific purpose or specific insect it is catered to. Most consist of several different sections that provide insects with nesting facilities – particularly during winter, offering shelter or refuge for many types of insects. Their purposes include hosting pollinators.
Many insect hotels are used as nest sites by insects including solitary bees and solitary wasps. These insects drag prey to the nest where an egg is deposited. Other insects hotels are specifically designed to allow the insects to hibernate, notable examples include ladybugs and butterflies.
Good materials to build insect hotels with can include using dry stone walls or old tiles. Drilled holes in the hotel materials also encourage insects to leave larvae to gestate.
info wikipedia

Continue reading Insect hotels

Virga – rain that doesn’t reach the ground

By Simon Eugster (talk · contribs) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

In meteorology, a virga is rain falling from a cloud that evaporates before reaching the ground. At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating. The phenomenon is very common in deserts, where low humidity and high temperatures can cause rain to evaporate shortly after being released by clouds. You might see virga in the U.S. West and above the Canadian Prairies, in the Middle East, Australia and North Africa.
Continue reading Virga – rain that doesn’t reach the ground

The Sunken Forest of Kaindy Lake in Kazakhstan

By Jonas SatkauskasOwn workhttp://www.satkauskas.blogspot.com, Attribution, Link

Lake Kaindy is located in the south of Kazakhstan, within Kolsai Lakes National Park. The lake is about 400 meters long, reaching depths of nearly 30 meters at its deepest point. Altered by limestone deposits, the water maintains a bluish-green color.
The lake is well known for its scenery, particularly its trunks of submerged Picea schrenkiana trees that rise above the surface of the lake. The area is often referred to as a “sunken forest”. The cold water helps preserve the tree trunks, which are overgrown with algae and various other water plants. In recent years, Lake Kaindy has become a popular international tourist destination. It is considered a natural landmark of Kazakhstan. The lake is also known for ice diving and trout fishing in the winter season.
info: wikimedia
Continue reading The Sunken Forest of Kaindy Lake in Kazakhstan

The Colorful Landscape of Dallol Volcano in Ethiopia

By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) – Own work, FAL, Link

Dallol is a  cone volcano in the Danakil Depression, northeast of the Erta Ale Range in Ethiopia. It has been formed by the intrusion of basaltic magma into salt deposits and subsequent hydro thermal activity. Eruptions took place in 1926, forming Dallol Volcano. Numerous other eruption craters dot the salt flats nearby. These craters are the lowest known sub aerial volcanic vents in the world, at 45 m (150 ft) or more below sea level. In October 2004 the shallow magma chamber beneath Dallol deflated and fed a magma intrusion southwards beneath the rift. Numerous hot springs are discharging brine and acidic liquid here. Small, widespread, temporary geysers produce cones of salt.

The term Dallol was coined by the Afar people and means dissolution or disintegration, describing a landscape of green acid ponds and iron oxide, sulfur and salt desert plains. The area resembles the hot springs areas of Yellowstone Park but it is much hotter and its waters are much more acidic.
info source: wikipedia

Continue reading The Colorful Landscape of Dallol Volcano in Ethiopia