Agriculture
Springing forward
Getting the dirt on carbon
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Frogs and Toads
Newts
Animals
Hearing Whales
Thieves of a Feather
Big Squid
Behavior
The chemistry of sleeplessness
Baby Number Whizzes
Listening to Birdsong
Birds
Rheas
Chicken
Kiwis
Chemistry and Materials
Sugary Survival Skill
Earth from the inside out
Heaviest named element is official
Computers
Graphene's superstrength
A Light Delay
A New Look at Saturn's rings
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Three strikes wiped out woolly mammoths
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
An Ancient Spider's Web
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
The Rise of Yellowstone
Coral Gardens
Environment
Shrimpy Invaders
The Wolf and the Cow
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Finding the Past
A Big Discovery about Little People
Words of the Distant Past
Unearthing Ancient Astronomy
Fish
Manta Rays
Catfish
Trout
Food and Nutrition
Yummy bugs
Building a Food Pyramid
Symbols from the Stone Age
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Math Naturals
Setting a Prime Number Record
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Foul Play?
Gut Microbes and Weight
Cell Phone Tattlers
Invertebrates
Spiders
Black Widow spiders
Centipedes
Mammals
Armadillo
Rabbits
Doberman Pinschers
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Einstein's Skateboard
IceCube Science
Plants
Underwater Jungles
A Change in Leaf Color
Fast-flying fungal spores
Reptiles
Box Turtles
Pythons
Chameleons
Space and Astronomy
A Very Distant Planet Says "Cheese"
Burst Busters
Gravity Tractor as Asteroid Mover
Technology and Engineering
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Algae Motors
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Middle school science adventures
Robots on the Road, Again
Where rivers run uphill
Weather
Watering the Air
Catching Some Rays
A Dire Shortage of Water
Add your Article

A Giant Flower's New Family

You may know someone who’s taller, shorter, blonder, or more artistic than all of his or her relatives. The phenomenon can make you wonder at the strange ways in which family trees sometimes work.

Rafflesia plants present a similar puzzle. They boast the world’s largest known flowers. With buds the size of basketballs and blooms that stretch 3 feet across, they can weigh up to 15 pounds. They’re also among the stinkiest flowers in existence.

The rafflesia plant shown above ranks as the species with the largest known individual bloom. Smelling of rotten flesh, the yard-wide flower attracts carrion-loving insects for pollination.

The rafflesia plant shown above ranks as the species with the largest known individual bloom. Smelling of rotten flesh, the yard-wide flower attracts carrion-loving insects for pollination.

Jeremy Holden

For nearly 200 years, botanists have debated which plants are most closely related to rafflesias. Now, researchers from Harvard University have used DNA to put the plants in their place. Analyses of eight genes suggest that these megaflowers belong in the same family as poinsettias and castor beans.

The discovery is a surprise because poinsettias and many of their relatives in the Euphorbiaceae family have tiny flowers. (Poinsettias may look big and flowery, but their bulk actually comes from large, red, leaflike structures, not flowers.)

Rafflesia plants may be relatives of the poinsettia (shown above).

Rafflesia plants may be relatives of the poinsettia (shown above).

Scott Bauer, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

In fact, the species of Euphorbiaceae that are most closely related to rafflesias, according to the new study, have flowers that are just a tiny fraction of the size of rafflesia blooms. They measure just a few millimeters across. Some quirk in evolution during the last 46 million years led to the mega-boost in size, scientists say.

Raffesias also evolved into parasites. They have no true roots or leaves. They live off of a plant in the grapevine family.

Rafflesia plants, with their giant blooms, are parasites. With no true roots or leaves of their own, they live off of a plant in the grapevine family. One flower may weigh up to 15 pounds.

Rafflesia plants, with their giant blooms, are parasites. With no true roots or leaves of their own, they live off of a plant in the grapevine family. One flower may weigh up to 15 pounds.

Jeremy Holden

Some experts are surprised by the new conclusions. The rafflesia plant’s flowers seem too different in structure from those of poinsettias and castor beans to be related to them.

Even in the plant world, family trees can be confusing.—E. Sohn

A Giant Flower's New Family
A Giant Flower's New Family








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™