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Tag Archives: orchids

More about Mycorrhizae

Have you ever seen an uprooted tree while walking in a forest? If so, you might have noticed strands of white thread-like structures attached to the tree roots and running through the soil. What you were seeing were mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi surround and bind almost all of the plants growing in an ecosystem together. Some of them, like the honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) are even luminous, glowing in the dark. The honey fungus is also the world’s largest organism (that we know of, at least); one specimen stretches for an astounding 2.4 miles (3.8 km) (Ferguson et al. 2003)! This fungus is attached to hundreds of trees, which are…

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Water-lilies and Wetlands

Wetland plants are the least commonly collected and photographed plants in Manitoba for good reasons. For starters they’re protected by the most vicious gangs of thugs you can imagine: bloodthirsty mosquitoes and black flies. I’ve taken many blurry photographs in my day because I was too busy swatting mosquitoes to focus properly. No matter how good the bug jacket is, the pests always seem to find a way in. Wetland work can be utterly exhausting: walking in a bog is like taking a stair climbing class taught by Satan! I got heatstroke from doing bog work once. Further, unless you’ve got a magical inflatable boat that shrinks to the size…

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Craziest Botanical Explorers in History

As the opening of the National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers exhibit at the Museum draws near, I find myself remembering some of the botanical explorers I learned about when I was a student. Although these botanists lived at different points in time they shared one thing: an insane passion for plants that very nearly caused their demise!

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