The Worlds Fastest Plants
Bunchberry - World's fastest plant explodes with pollen
Cornus canadensis (bunchberry or Canadian dogwood) grow in dense carpets in the
tiaga or boreal forests of the northern hemisphere. Flowers bloom in late spring
and produce small, edible, red berries during the summer. Credit: J. Edwards.
Like a medieval catapult, the bunchberry dogwood shoots pollen grains into the
air faster than the Venus flytrap can snap its jaws shut, giving this launcher
the speed record for plants.
"Most people think of plants as stationary and sedentary," said Joan Edwards of
Williams College. "We were even surprised how fast this flower opens."
Using high-speed video observations, Edwards and her colleagues timed the tiny
explosions of Cornus Canadensis, a species of dogwood that covers the ground of
spruce-fir forests from Virginia to Canada. The flower opens its petals and
fires its pollen in less than 0.5 milliseconds.
This discharge is quicker than other speedy organisms: the Venus flytrap closes
in 100 milliseconds; the froghopper (an insect) leaps in 0.5 to 1.0
milliseconds; the mantis shrimp (a tiny crustacean) kicks in 2.7 milliseconds.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 January 2013 )