Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Ninja Plants

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Ninja Plants

Article excerpt

Ninja Plants By Wiley Blevins. $35.99. 96 pp. Twenty-First Century Books. Frederick, MD. 2017. ISBN: 9781512410136.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Plants have developed intriguing methods in the struggle to survive. This book cleverly compares various plant adaptations to the techniques of ninja fighters.

Consider rafflesia, an exotic species that smells like rotting flesh. Its orange-red flower, the largest in the world at 1 m in diameter, blooms only about four days per year and then turns into black slime. Rafflesia has no leaves, making it unable to participate in photosynthesis, but it attaches itself to a grapevine, gaining nutrition as a parasite. Its foul odor attracts carrion flies that collect its sticky pollen, transfer it from stamen to pistil, and enable the plant to reproduce.

Other plants eat meat. Carnivorous plants, which often live around mineral-deficient soils, eat insects, spiders, and snails. Pitcher plants are known to consume larger animals, such as frogs, that fall into their tube and can't climb out.

Some plants use weapons for defense. …

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