biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow lichen

Lichen’s paradise

The Lichen’s Paradise on Earth: Antarctica

Lichens? Most people if asked what they associate with the word ‘lichens’ may scratch their heads and come up with nothing. Some, however, will think of packing material and decoration used by florists in flower shops. And then there are those, who think of reindeer and other Arctic grazers like musk oxen, snow hare, etc. But I’m thinking of Antarctica as the “continent of the lichen”, a continent without grazers that could harm the lichen. —>—>


Oddballs of the Plant World

Strange, stranger, strangest

Higher plants (and I will probably restrict myself to those that have seeds and are therefore referred to as Spermatophytes) are supposed to have roots, a stem, leaves, flowers and seeds, right? Fungi (mushrooms, toadstools and the like) used to be considered odd plants, but for quite a while now have been given their own “kingdom”, namely that of “Fungi”. Since they are not “autotroph” like plants and with the help of sunlight can turn water and CO2 into sugars and starch, but like animals require food in the form of organic matter, they have more in common with the latter than with the former. Also the fact that fungal cell walls are made of chitin (a carbohydrate typical of, for example, insects and kin, but not plants) and some fungi possess the enzyme collagenase, contain melanin, or are able to produce light, demonstrates that they share more features with animals than plants. —>

“Coined Plants”

Plants on Coins

I have written about animals on coins and what we can learn from them and it therefore seems only fair to also present an item about plants on coins. After all, animal life depends on plants. So, are there any plants on coins? Of course there are and the early settlers of the North American East Coast must have been so impressed by the trees in their “New World” that they put them on their coins: pine trees on Massachusetts coins and others in the New England of the 17 th century; maple leaves on coins from Canada etc. The cedar pine trees of Lebanon are also legendary and unsurprisingly feature on some of that country’s coinage like, for instance, the 50 piastres of 1929 and the brown 10 piastres of 1972. —>