A 4-Letter Word

CELL is a very misunderstood 4-letter word. In working with students across a range of ages, I have to believe people generally do not give much thought to cells.  We know of red blood cells (RBC) – they can be isolated from the liquid that streams through our veins.  RBC outnumber others; according to Wikipedia: …

True Blue?

Blue and Green are inseparable, paired in the rainbow and essential to our perception of Nature – as Le Gulliene explains, they “contract for the colouring of vast departments of the physical world.” Envious of its partner, the green grows upward, but blue vastness reigns in the sky and wells from the seas. Those formative …

Boon, Boom, Bloom

“Till one comes to think of it, one hardly realizes how many important and pleasant things in life are yellow.” Richard Le Galliene Though Newton saw yellow in his rainbow, Emily Dickinson pined over a dearth of yellow in the natural world: “Nature rarely uses yellow, than another hue; saves she all of that for …

Phyllotaxy

Plants grow linearly, producing leaves and flowers along newly formed stems. It’s a remarkably straightforward process, but challenging for the mind’s eye because the cell-producing tip (we call this the apical meristem) is a moving target. The meristem makes new cells that “grow up” (not a botanical term), constantly pushing the growing tip further along. …

Bignons

When botanists say “it’s a bignon” (big-nōn), we are talking about a particular group of plants, shorthand for saying “and you know what that means”. It’s like saying “its a Chevy”, with the certain knowledge people will know something about the car based on the brand legacy. “Bignon” is the botanical nickname for a distinct, …