Thursday, November 29, 2007

How do plants drink?
Although plants can absorb a little water through their leaves, they get most of the water they need by drawing it up from the ground through their roots. The roots are in close contact with the particles of soil around them. Tiny rootlets connected to the roots extend into the soil, and these draw in moisture. If you pull up a plant, you can see the delicate white roots, but you cannot see the microscopic rootlets that absorb water. If a plant is pulled up, the rootlets are broken. As soon as they stop working, the plant starts to wilt.

Insect-eating plants
Some plants that grow in poor soil get the nutrients they need by trapping and digesting passing insect. Most produce and attractive scent or glistering drop that look like nectar to lure insect to their doom. Sticky glue or a pool of liquid keeps an insect in the trap while the plant closes and begins to digest it.

Tag :plants drink
Tag :eating plants

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Look at trees and other plant, and what colour do you see? The answer, almost always, is various shades of green. That green colour is produced by a chemical called chlorophyll, which is found on the leaves of plants. Chlorophyll is the one of the most important substance on Earth, because it absorbs energy from sunlight, and enables plants to grow. Without it, plants could not survive, and animals would have nothing to eat.

How do plants feed?
Unlike animals, plants do not need to find food. Instead, they make food 'out of thin air' with the help of chlorophyll. The chlorophyll in the plant's leaves absorbs energy from sunshine. The plant then uses this energy to combine water with carbon dioxide, making a sugary food substance called glucose. This process is called photosynthesis. Plants use glucose to grow.They also use it to form sweet-tasting fruits, and to make nectar, syrupy liquid that attracts insects to flowers. Any spare sugar is stored in the plant's seeds or roots.
Light is essential for plants, because they cannot make glucose without it. This is why they grow towards the light. If a plant is shut up in a dark place, it turns pale because its chlorophyll breaks down, and eventually it dies.

Tag :plants live
Tag :plants feed

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The mouse's whiskers
Most fungi release spores into the air. These fly about and, if they settle in the right place, grow into new fungi. One fungus is much more cunning about spreading its spores. It grows on mouse dropping, and produces spores with long, upright threads attached. These stand up in the air and catch on the whiskers of passing mice, where they stick fast and are carried off. Later the mouse washes its face and swallows the spores, which travel right through its stomach and intestines. When the mouse next leaves dropping, the spores are there, ready to start growing.

Fungal giants
One of the largest toadstools ever found was an example for an edible kind called Polyporus frondosus. It weighed 33 kg (72 lb). Fungi on living trees can grow even larger. One in the United States measured 142 cm (56 in) across and weighed at least 140 kg (300 lb).

Tag :mouse's whiskers
Tag :fungal giants
Are toadstools poisonous?
Some toadstools are very poisonous. You would only have to touch them and lick your fingers for them to make you ill. People have died from eating just a few of them. In 1534, Pope Clement was killed by the death cap toadstools, the world most poisonous fungus. The are many delicious wild fungi, but you need to be an expert to distinguish them from the poisonous ones.

The death cap grows in woodland in Europe and North America. Some edible fungi look quite like it.

Tag :poisonous toadstools

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kind of fungus
  • Truffle is a delicious fungus lives underground on the roots of oak trees.
  • Honey fungus is an enemy of trees, this fungus feeds on living and dead wood. If you see a cluster of honey fungi near a tree, you can be sure that the tree is either dead or about to die.
  • Jelly antler grows on the ground, sprouting from old pieces of rotting wood.
  • Fly agaric is a beautiful but highly poisonous, this brilliantly coloured fungus usually lives close to birch or spruce trees.
  • Red cage fungus is about the size of a golf ball. The inside of the 'cage' contains slimy spores that are spread by flies.
  • Lemon disc fungus feeds on dead wood, growing in dense cluster on old fallen branches.
  • Oyster fungus is a edible fungus grows on dead or dying trees.

Tag :fungus kinds

Attacks by fungi
In Australia koalas can become infected with different kinds of fungi. One of the fungi is associated with certain types of eucalyptus tree, the trees that koalas lived in and feed on. The fungi are not passes from one koala to another, and most healthy koalas are not killed by them. Koalas are not the only victims of fungi. A fungus carried around by beetles, for example, caused the Dutch elm disease that wiped out many of Britain's elm tree in the 1970s.

Why does bread go mouldy?
Bread is an ideal food for many fungi. Their spores are everywhere in the air, and as soon as you take out a loaf of bread, some mould spores fall on it. Long before you see any furry mould on the bread, moulds are growing but, in small amounts, they do us no harm.

Tag :fungi attack
Tag :mouldy bread

Sunday, November 25, 2007


People often think that living things are either plants or animals. But there are many other kinds of life. Some are tiny creatures such as bacteria. Others, called fungi, can look like plants, but grow by absorbing food instead of by using sunlight. Fungi spread by scattering spores, dust-like particles much simpler than seeds.

Forest fungi
Forest are good places to find fungi, because many fungi feed on wood or on fallen leaves. Some, like the red-and-white fly agaric, are useful to trees because they help them to collect nutrients from the soil. Others, like the honey fungus, are much less welcome because they attack living wood.

Tag :fungi
Deadly bite
Malaria is caused by single-celled parasites that are carried by mosquito. When an infected mosquito bites a person, some of the parasites get into the blood, feed inside red blood cells and attack the liver.

Rotifers are related to roundworms (nematodes), even though they look nothing like worms. There are 2000 different species, mostly living in ponds or on wet mosses in woodlands.

Heliozoans have spiky skeletons. They live mainly in ponds and lakes. The spikes are made of silica, the same substance that makes glass.

Daphnia are related to crabs and shrimps. They can just be seen with the naked eye, but you need a microscope to see their structure. They are transparent, so you can watch their stomach digesting food and all the other internal organs. They swim by beating their brush-like antennae.