Did you know that plants are just like us? We are born and immediately need someone to take care of us until we can take care of ourselves. Plants are basically the same way.
Seeds are planted then need to germinate until certain needs are met: water, correct temperature or warmth and a good location, which means good soil and moisture.
Early on, the seedling relies on food stored in the seed itself. Then, when it is large enough for leaves to break through the soil surface, it can begin making its own food through photosynthesis.
What is photosynthesis? That’s when plants convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy that can be stored and later released to fuel the organism’s growth. It’s very magical stuff when you think about it.
Still, there are a few interesting other facts about plants that you might not know. For example, did you know that peanuts are actually a bean and that a pineapple is a berry? Did you also know that one bushel of corn can sweeten more than 400 cans of soda pop?
Here are a few more interesting plant facts:
• A notch in a tree will remain at the same distance from the ground even as the tree grows. Plus, 84 percent of a raw apple and 96 percent of a raw cucumber are made up of water.
• The bright orange color of carrots tells us that they are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is essential for good eyesight, especially at night. But did you also know that vitamin A helps your body fight infection and keeps your skin and hair healthy?
• Onions contain a mild antibiotic that fights infections, soothes burns, tames bee stings and relieves the itching of athlete’s foot, while avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.
• The oldest living plant in existence is the bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, which is said to be 4,600 years old. The California redwood and giant sequoia are the tallest and largest living organisms in the world.
• A more interesting fact about plants is that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis sativa (better known to us as marijuana) on their plantations.
Like plants, we need help after we are born, until we can grow and take care of ourselves. But animals are not necessarily like that.
If you are a rancher, you know that a calf that was born yesterday can be running around at full speed in a very playful manner today. Meanwhile, we humans (and plants) take several months or a year — at least — just to prop ourselves up on two feet without some kind of assistance.
You may not know who St. Basil is, but he was a theologian who was born into a wealthy family in Greece in about 330.
In 357, he traveled to Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia to study monasticism and distribute his fortunes to the poor. Eventually, he became known for his care of the poor and underprivileged.
I bring him up because, when it comes to plants and life in general, he summed it all up nicely when he said: “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
That’s not a bad blueprint for life.