There are a lot of amazing things in the world.  When you get surprised by a new idea, sometimes you just say “Wow!” and sometimes you want to learn more!  You can do either one by clicking on the questions below.

Did you know .....?

No wonder it feels so good to lay around in the grass on a hot summer day!  Of course, another good thing that you can do while you are there is watch the clouds and see if they look like a face, or a tree, or a dog, or a….?  The sky is the limit!

That’s a lot of different trees!  Can you name some different types of trees?  Here are a few common ones:






And one of my favorites – Chinaberry!

There are lots of different types of bamboo, but they are all grasses.  Bamboo is certainly one of the tallest grasses – it can grow up to 80 feet high!

That’s a lot of grasses!  And many of them don’t look like the grass we are used to in our yards and at the park.  The grasses people like to play in and walk in and lay in don’t usually grow very tall.  They have names like orchard grass, carpet grass, ryegrass, bermuda grass, zoysia grass, and lots more.

Flowers are almost always pretty and they usually smell good.  That’s why people like them so much.  But when they die they also produce seeds or fruit that we eat.  That’s another reason people like them.  All of the fruit we eat started out as flowers.  That includes strawberries, peaches, watermelons, apricots, apples, and pears.  Can you name some more fruits and vegetables that come from flowers?

It’s hard to believe, but every part of a big tree is in one little  seed.  It starts out as a small little seedling, but with sunshine and water and food it keeps growing until it is as big as it is supposed to be.  Every plant has a different size that is right for it and the seed has all the instructions the plant needs to grow just the way it is supposed to.  Even the giant redwood trees that are 300 feet tall come from a little seed – about the same size as a tomato seed!.

Speaking of 300 foot tall trees – that would be the redwood!  Redwoods are kind of evergreen tree – that means they don’t lose all of their leaves in the fall.  It takes about 50 years or more for redwoods to reach about half their size!  They sometimes live for thousands of years.  Redwoods mostly grow in California and Oregon, although there are a few in China.  The ones in China are called Dawn Redwoods and they are smaller and grow a little differently than the ones in the United States.

Probably every day you eat at least one kind of grass – wheat!  The seeds of wheat is what bread is usually made from.  But there is also another kind of bread that is made from a different grass – corn!  We call that one cornbread.  Bread can also be made from other grass seeds like rye and barley.

Sunflowers are one of the flowers that follow the sun throughout the day.  In the morning they have their flower buds toward the east where the sun comes up.  All day long they stay pointed at the sun as it moves across the sky.  By evening they are pointed toward the west as the sun goes down.  At night they move their flower back toward the east and then they start over again the next day.  When the flowers get all of the way open they stop following the sun and just stay pointed to the east.  There is a fancy word scientists have for plants that follow the sun – it’s called heliotropism.  Some other plants that do this are the Arctic Poppy and the Compass Plant.

Flowers don’t just look pretty and smell good – they also make seeds to grow new plants!  As a flower starts to die and drop its petals, you can usually see a litle roundish green thing right in the center, where the stem is.  This little green thing will turn into a fruit or a seed pod in about a month or so.  The seeds in the seed pod or the fruit can then be planted in the ground and grow into a new plant that makes a new flower that makes a new seed that…. Let’s just stop right there!

But if you want to know more about how it works, take a look here.

Plants make flowers for a reason.  They have a job to do.  Flowers are supposed to make seeds so that new plants of the same kind can grow.  But most flowers need some help from bees if they are going to make some seed.  Each flower makes something called pollen.  But most plants need extra pollen from another flower of the same kind to make a seed.  Well, the flower can’t just walk over and get some pollen – they need something to bring it to them.  That’s why they are pretty and smell good – they want bees to visit them!  When a bee lands on one flower to get some pollen and then goes to another flower to get pollen, some of the pollen from the first plant rubs off on the second plant.  THen the flower can make a seed.  You probably didn’t know flowers were that tricky.

There is a type of redwood tree whose real name is Sequoia.  These trees are all huge, but some of them are verry, verry tall and some of them are verry big around.  The ones that are very big around are in Southern California.  There are a few that are more than 22 feet across!  Some of these trees are so wide and so old that the middle of the tree (the oldest part) starts dying even though the rest of the tree is still alive and growing.  There are a couple of trees that have a hole so big that you can drive a car right through the middle of them!

Take a look, here.

Usually insects like to eat plants.  But some plants don’t wait around to get eaten – they use their flowers to eat insects.  This is the way it works – an insect, maybe a fly or a small beetle, goes poking around in the flower looking for something to eat.  In some plants they get stuck in some sticky liquid and in others the flower closes around them and traps them.  Either way, the plant slowly digests them!  The Venus Flytrap and the Pitcher Plant are the most well known of these plants.

Click here for a link to pictures and more information about insect eating plants.