Plant Facts



Modified: 08 Jun 2022

assorted plants in a room

Between supplying our oxygen and filling our tables or medicine cabinets, it’s no doubt plants are important to us. These plant facts show how vital plants are to our survival, read on to find out!

  1. Trees have the longest lifespan of all organisms.
  2. Grass makes up 26% of plant life on earth.
  3. Banana “trees” are actually herbs.
  4. Around 120 plant species are hallucinogenic.
  5. The different colors of roses have their own special symbolism.
  1. The Amazon rainforest supplies 50% of the world’s oxygen.
  2. Algae are found underwater and they produce the majority of the oxygen for the marine animals.
  3. Daisies come in all colors, except blue.
  4. Transpiration is the process where plants take water from the ground through their roots and release them back into the atmosphere.
  5. 65% to 80% of the global population use plant-based medicine as their primary form of healthcare.
  6. Orchid flowers are symmetrical. They can be divided into two equal-looking parts.
  7. The aloe vera is a versatile plant. It is grown for medicinal, agricultural and decorative purposes.
  8. Spices come from other parts such as seeds, berries, stems, barks, roots or bulbs.
  9. Wood from the mahogany tree is popular due to its fine texture and beautiful color. Its wood is usually used to make musical instruments and furniture.
  10. Maple syrup is primarily made from three species of maple trees; the sugar maple, the black maple, and the red maple.
  1. Daisies and sunflowers are actually cousins! This probably explains why they look alike.
  2. The Four Gentlemen in China, also known as Four Noble Ones, refers to the plum, the orchid, the bamboo, and the chrysanthemum.
  3. Japan’s national flower is the cherry blossom, or more commonly known as sakura. The peak of the cherry blossoms is usually around April.
  4. Fir trees are natural Christmas trees. They are evergreen and they can live for more than 500 years.
  5. Baby’s breath are grown locally all around the world; Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific.
Table of Contents

You can make more than 170,000 pencils from one average-sized tree.

The most commonly used wood in making pencils come from the Cedar tree. A larger than average-sized tree can provide enough wood to make around 300,000 pencils. Manufacturers make over 14 billion pencils annually.

Oak trees cannot produce acorns if they are under 50 years of age.

While all oak trees produce acorns, they are not acorn trees. Some species of oak trees, such as the pin oak, can produce its first few acorns at a much younger age. A fully matured oak tree can produce over 10,000 acorns in a year.

The largest living structure on the planet is the Great Barrier Reef.

This structure spans over 200 km long. It is also considered as one of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders. This living structure is also the only reef you can see from outer space.

Great Barrier Reef, Plant Facts
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A coffee plant can use caffeine as a pesticide.

Caffeine works well as a natural pesticide. It can effectively eliminate insects that feed its plants. For humans, it works well as a stimulant that helps keep us awake and restore alertness. Only some plants can benefit and grow faster from caffeine.

Lightning hits oak trees more than any other type of tree.

This is mostly because oak trees grow taller than any other long-living tree. Oaks also have deep central root systems which make them better quality conductors. When a tree is struck by lightning, the liquids inside of the tree turn into gas and cause the bark to explode.

The tree of life is another name for the baobab tree.

This tree can store between 1,000-120,000 liters of water in its large trunk. It can also provide clothing, shelter, and food. The baobab tree is native to the African Savannah.

The pod of an orchid provides us with vanilla flavouring.

The vanilla orchid is a vine-like plant that grows upwards on trees. This vine can grow a length of 30 feet long. The vanilla pod is a shriveled black bean grounded into powder. We use it for extracts and flavouring.

Right now, there are over 300,000 identified plant species in the world.

Scientists have identified that over 94% of plant species are flowering plants. However, more species of plants have gone extinct since 1753. Botanists have found that there have been around 571 seed-bearing plant species that have gone extinct around the world.

Tulips were very valuable in the 1600s.

During this time, tulips were worth more than gold. This flower was very popular during festivals and eventually became a form of currency. This eventually led to the famous Tulip mania which caused the crash of the Dutch economy.

tulips, plants facts
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1730 was the year the first botanical garden opened.

This garden devoted its resources to study and conserve plants. Research has found that botanical gardens play an important role in sustaining human needs. Today, an estimated 1775 botanical gardens are open in over 48 different countries.

The scientific method of determining the age of a tree is dendrochronology.

This method calculates the age of a tree by counting the number of rings it has on the trunk when cut. This study also aids in the research of its environment and climate in times of history by analyzing the wood. People used this method during the early years of the 20th century.

The majority of plant life is in the ocean.

About 85% of all plant life on the planet is in the ocean. Over 228,450 known species live in the ocean. Around 2 million more species remain undiscovered. Ocean plants include common species such as kelp, seagrass, phytoplankton, and algae.

The country of Brazil is the only country named after a tree.

It is after the indigenous brazilwood tree harvested to get a red-coloured dye. This dye is often shipped for use in Europe. Ironically, Brazil’s national tree is the Pau Brasil and not the brazilwood tree.

Aspirin came from plants.

The ancient Egyptians used willow bark as an all-around herbal remedy. The salicylic acid that gives this bark its healing component is also found in jasmine, beans, peas, clover, certain grasses and trees.

Sports bats make use of wood from different types of trees.

A cricket bat uses the wood from a willow tree. A baseball bat is from the wood of a hickory tree. Maple is one of the hardest and most dense woods that baseball bats use.

The rose family is one of 6 economically important crop plant families.

This family includes well-enjoyed fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and plums. This family also includes quinces, almonds, strawberries, and raspberries. This is one of the most important crop plant families because of the abundant products it is capable of producing.

The Arctic tundra hosts around 1,700 species of plants.

Plants in the Arctic might seem impossible because of the unforgiving climate. However, there are a handful of plants that thrive in its permafrost. These plants have distinctly shallow root systems due to the freezing of the topsoil.

Tundra plants, plants facts
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Pando is the oldest surviving tree.

Well, trees, if we’re being specific. Pando is a massive clonal colony of quaking aspens in the Fishlake National Forest of Utah. Estimates say the tree colony is over 80,000 years old, making it the oldest plant in the world. Though Pando appears to be a grove of individual trees, they share the same root system and genes. Pando is continuously growing – old, fallen trees are replaced by new ones.

Pando is also the most massive known living organism on Earth at 106 acres and weighing more than 6 million kg. Though Pando thrives to this day, Pando faces threats. Upon close monitoring, researchers found that Pando is no longer growing new shoots.

The dwarf willow is the smallest tree.

This is also known as the Salix Herbacea and it is one of the smallest woody plants in the world. Because of this, it is the smallest tree. It typically grows to only 2” in height with round, shiny green leaves 0.8” long and wide.

Scientists were able to grow a 32,000-year-old plant.

In 2012, Russian scientists reproduced an extinct plant dating back to the Ice Age. They recovered seeds of the Arctic Siberian Campion plant from prehistoric squirrel burrows. Siberian permafrost preserved these seeds.

The rafflesia is the biggest flower.

Also known as the monster flower, the rafflesia is the biggest flower. Rafflesia reaches a width of over 3 ft. No one knows what the spikes at its center are for, nor trace this plant’s genetic origins. Currently, scientists have not been able to reproduce it.

Dandelions are edible.

The dandelion is edible and rich in antioxidants that boost the immune system. European settlers originally introduced it into the U.S. as a salad green, but now people consider it a weed. This is also one of the most recognizable weeds that are edible.

dandelions, plants facts
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All tea varieties come from the same plant.

Camellia Sinensis is more commonly known as the tea shrub. The same way that all wine comes from grapes, most teas come from this one plant. The only difference between different types of teas is its processing methods.

Photosynthesis is a process that helps plants make their food.

The process requires plants to absorb sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water around the area. Plants that are normally green pigment generate oxygen as a byproduct. This is important because all living things on the planet require oxygen to survive.

A good lawn can increase a house’s value by up to 20%.

Keeping your greens healthy can boost the chances of you selling your residence for a bit more than you’d get for a Sahara-esque lawn.

A 2,500 square foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a four-person family.

Plants can provide oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. The amount of oxygen in a 50 ft x 60 ft lawn is enough to supply enough oxygen for a family of 4. The average-sized lawn can catch up to 300 pounds of carbon per year.

Over 70,000 plant species are medicinal.

These plant species provide herbal remedies needed for certain ailments. Ginger, onion, and oregano are a few plants that have a purpose beyond our kitchens and culinary ventures. These plants either heal, relieve, or improve the body’s condition.

Watermeal is the world’s smallest flowering plant.

The world’s smallest plant is watermeal or Wolffia globosa. It is a distinctive bright green and the size of a rice grain. Watermeal is from the genus of aquatic plants known as duckweeds. The Wolffia also bears the smallest fruit.

wolffia, watermeal, world's smallest plant, plants facts
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Dawsonia is the tallest moss.

The Dawsonia Superba is a large moss, growing to 23.6” in height. It is the tallest moss in the world. It is commonly found in New Zealand, Australia, and New Guinea.

The corpse flower is the tallest flower.

The Titan arum plant known for its morbid smell and colouration grows from 10-15 ft. Its leaves can reach a width of 13 ft. The tallest bloom recorded for a corpse flower is 10 ft 2.25” tall.

Mushrooms aren’t plants.

Mushrooms belong to the kingdom Fungi, which also includes yeasts, rusts, mildew, and mold. They are often confused for plants because of their plantlike form.

Out of 1750 cacti species, 1749 are only found in America.

The Mistletoe Cactus is the only cactus naturally found outside America. There are theories that suggest that bird migration brought these seeds outside the Americas. Another theory cites the continental drift theory. Some, however, simply say that it was human trade that got these cacti so far away from their brothers.

A poison garden in England is full of venomous plants.

The Alnwick Garden is a garden complex by Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. The authorities revived these historic gardens at some point, and added Poison Garden in 2005. The garden exhibits deadly plants as well as narcotic plants such as marijuana, coca, and opium poppies.

White baneberries look like doll eyes.

Roots and berries are the most fatal parts of the baneberry, but it is toxic as a whole. The berries are also very bitter. Once ingested, a person will experience complications such as stomach cramps and dizziness.

white baneberry plant
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There’s a plant that looks like stones.

Lithops are succulent plants that are a part of the ice plant family, Aizoaceae. It is native to Southern Africa. These plants distinctly resemble stones or rocks, which explains its namesake.

Amber is a fossilised resin from ancient trees.

Tree resin “heals” damage such as broken branches or blows to the tree’s surface. Amber is the crystallized version of this resin. Amber is aromatic and can drip down trees.

68% of plant species are endangered.

Over half of all plant species are now classified as endangered. Prairie orchids, rafflesia, and Texas wild rice are only a few plant species endangered by climate change. Unlike animals, plants cannot move to new habitats so they get exposed to deteriorating conditions.

Over half of all plant species are native to only one country.

There’s a big chance that a plant you encounter in one country isn’t anywhere else. This shows that we should preserve these rare plants. Properly caring for these plant life will also keep them from going extinct.

The world’s smallest seeds are from epiphytic orchids.

These seeds are produced by certain epiphytic orchids (family Orchidaceae) in tropical rainforests. These seeds cannot be seen by the naked eye at only 1/300th of an inch (85 micrometers) long.

The coco de mer is the largest seed in the world.

The seed of a palm tree reaches about 12” long and weighing up to 18 kg. The government of Seychelles protect this seed because of its rarity. This seed is also known by its other name, the lodoicea.

coco de mer, largest seed, plant facts
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Certain plants are going extinct much faster than we anticipated.

This is mostly due to climate change, deforestation, and other industrial efforts. Experts believe that certain species of plants are going extinct 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than they naturally would. This is bad because most of our products and resources come from plants.

Only a percentage of areas that are rich in plant life has protection.

The Amazon and the Galapagos are only a couple out of the many bio-diverse areas on Earth. Other areas with forests and smaller plant life are usually cut down or destroyed to make way for urban construction. Governments protect and preserve areas because they are ecologically and culturally valuable.

90% of the food that humans consume comes from 30 plants.

Rice, maize, and wheat comprise 2/3 of human food consumption. These three are the main staple crops of today’s food energy intake. Rice feeds almost half of humanity.

Baseball plants are exactly what they’re called.

The baseball plant is a succulent plant belonging to the spurge family. This is commonly found in the Cape province of South Africa. It gets its name from its distinct resemblance to the ball used in the beloved sport. It grows in a subtropical climate, on hillsides and stony areas, surrounded by dwarf bushes.

Redwoods are the tallest trees.

These trees reach over heights of 350 ft. The tallest living tree in the world is Hyperion at 380 ft. Hyperion is a coast redwood in California. Redwoods can grow to a diameter of 24 ft, and weight of 726,000 kg.

The fastest-growing woody plant in the world is the bamboo.

Bamboo grows a little over an inch in length each hour, and 35 inches in one day. This plant commonly grows in tropical countries such as Southeast Asia and South America. There are around a total of 1000 r species today.

bamboo, plants facts
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A lily can reproduce from seeds, bulbs, and tissue cultures.

Lilies can also reproduce both sexually and asexually. White and tiger lilies are famous for their good smell. You can also use some species of lilies for food.

Rubber can only be acquired from 6-year old trees.

The rubber tree’s milky latex wax can only be industrial rubber after the tree has reached 6 years of age. You can get latex from the tree through a process called rubber tapping. Although over 200 plants around the world produce latex, most of the world’s natural rubber comes from the rubber tree.

Good landscaping can increase the value of a house by up to 20%.

Keeping your greens healthy can boost the chances of you selling your residence. Unlike other remodeling projects, landscaping can give you a 100-200% return on your investments. With this in mind, you should get an idea of how to attain a green thumb.

Scientists can’t explain what causes four-leafed clovers.

The common explanation for this phenomenon is that the clover experienced a mutation of recessive genes. This is a typically rare occurrence. Some cultures believe that finding a four-leaf clover will bring you luck.

Bamboos are a form of grass.

Because of the great lengths, bamboo can grow, they are the largest members of the grass family. In total, there are around 91 genera and over 1000 bamboo species. This plant is more commonly found in tropical countries such as southeast Asia.

Carnivorous plants make up only 0.2% of flowering plants.

The most famous carnivorous plant is the Venus Flytraps. Pitcher plants are also known to trap and digest their prey completely. Most of these plants enjoy growing in acidic bogs or sandy soils.

Venus flytrap, Plants facts
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Plants prevent erosion and landslides.

They can do this by keeping the soil around them firm with their roots. Crops such as rye and clover are good choices for erosion control. When tilled back into the soil, the nutrient density increases.

80% of the world’s forests have already vanished from the planet.

According to National Geographic, only about 30% of the world’s landmass are forests. Each year, the Earth continues to lose about 18.7 million acres of forest. This is equivalent to about 27 soccer fields per minute.

About 80,000 plant species are edible.

However, in the present day, only 150 species are regularly cultivated. 30 of these products make up 95% of the human’s usual calorie and protein intake. If a plant tastes very bitter or soapy, it means it is not edible.

Herbs come strictly from the leaves of a plant.

A few examples are mint, basil, sage, and parsley. Generally, these plants have medicinal and flavouring purposes. Herbs also have a variety of other uses apart from this.

A sunflower has many tiny flowers.

This beautiful yellow flower is a large inflorescence. This means that its head has many tiny flowers referred to as florets. When these ripen, they become the seeds of the sunflower.

sunflower, plants facts
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The Gingko Biloba is one of the oldest tree species on the planet.

This species of trees dates back to over 250 million years ago. Researchers believe that Ginko can significantly improve cognitive function. However, it does not ensure that it can improve one’s memory.

Pennisetum purpureum is more commonly referred to as elephant grass.

This grass is a species of perennial tropical grass that is native to African grasslands. This grass has low nutrient and water intake which is why it is more commonly found in lands not cultivated. Elephant grass got its name because it grows tall enough for adult elephants to hide in.

The tobacco plant can be hazardous if harvested when wet.

This can cause green tobacco sickness. You can get this type of nicotine poisoning by the dermal absorption of nicotine from the surface of wet tobacco plants. Symptoms often include vomiting, headaches, and increased heart rates.

Nicotine is poisonous to insects.

The tobacco plant has a power neurotoxin that dangerous for insects. While many other plants also have this, the concentration of nicotine in the tobacco plant is much higher than any other. This plant is relatively easy to grow but in some areas, it has become an invasive weed.

Lignins are what make the wood of trees its stiffness.

These are important cell wall formations in the wood because they do not rot easily. Chemically, this is cross-linked to phenolic polymers. Lignin forms about 30% of non-fossil organic carbon and up to 35% of mass wood.

The world’s most dangerous tree is the manchineel.

This is native to the tropical southern North American and northern South America. Every part of the tree contains toxins that can cause blisters and skin breakouts on human skin just from touch. Blindness can also occur if it touches a person’s eyes. Most of these trees now have warning signs or an X to indicate the dangers.

Peanuts are not nuts.

In technicality, peanuts are legumes. Real nuts grow on trees while peanuts are only grown in pods that mature underground. Other legumes include peas and lentils.

The garlic mustard is a member of only one family.

It is a member of the mustard family. Garlic mustard is a biennial plant that has a life span of two years. The garlic mustard is not a member of the garlic family.

The snapdragon closely resembles the head of a dragon.

Squeezing the sides of the flower will cause the dragon’s mouth to open and close. These flowers are natively found in the rocky areas of Europe and the Americas. Snapdragon flowers profusely bloom under the full sun.

orange and pink snapdragon, plants facts
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The scientific name used for flowering plants is Angiosperm.

This name refers to the seeds that are borne in capsules or fruits. This group consists of many plants such as shrubs, grass, and most trees. Non-flowering plants are in the gymnosperm category.

In Greek, the Iris flower translates to rainbow.

Iris was also known to be the goddess of the rainbow in ancient Greek Mythology. Its name refers to the wide variety of colours the flower found among its species. Iris can also translate to ‘messenger’.

Dogwood trees are short.

Dogwood trees rarely grow above 25 feet in height. They are a type of flowering tree and are native to temperate areas of North America and Eurasia.

The wishbone flower is an annual plant found in the Linderniaceae family.

This flower is also known as the torenia fournieri. When fully grown, it is about 12-15 inches tall. To care for this flower, the soil should remain moist but not soggy.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico.

This flower is a commercially imported plant species that comes from the spurge family. It is well known for its vivid red color and is more commonly used for Christmas displays. Typically these flowers can stay in bloom for about six months.

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The first records of edible flowers date back to 140 BC.

Plants such as rosewater and orange flower water are commonly used until today in many middle eastern homes. Other edible flowers include the hibiscus, pansies, certain roses, and violets. However, you should always take caution when consuming any unfamiliar plant as they could be deadly to the human body.

You can use many known plants as natural dyes.

The oldest blue dye comes from the woad plant used since the neolithic period. Berries and roots can also dye cloth. People consider natural dyes better because they do not contain any harmful chemicals.

A plant that consumes rats is in the Philippines.

Scientists have discovered this rat-eating pitcher plant in the Philippines in the year 2009. This newly discovered pitcher plant is one of the biggest carnivorous plants on the planet.

Plants have the ability to recognize their siblings.

They do this through the use of chemical signals they secreted from their roots. These plants often give their family members parental treatment and compete for resources less. This is more common in plants that grow from the same seed or mother.

The chemicals found in freshly cut grass can relieve stress.

The leafy plants release a chemical called green leaf volatiles. This chemical is only found in freshly cut grass. Once cutting grass, you can leave its clippings as-is for it to act as a natural fertiliser.

green grass, plants facts
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The smell of freshly cut grass is the grass screaming in distress.

This smell is a chemical that grass uses to call other critters to come and rescue them. The chemical compounds the plant releases can also poison an enemy and alert surrounding plants. Scientifically, this means that the smell we pick up is the way that the grass signals it ‘feels’ pain.

The tallest basil plant was 3.34 meters.

The basil plant was grown by a woman in Greece by the name of Anastasia Grigoraki. This basil plant converts to about 10ft and 11.5 inches tall.

An Australian plant called Gympie can sting you.

This is a deadly plant known better by its alternative name; the suicide plant. According to research, the pain from its sting can last for years. To some, the pain had become so unbearable that it had caused them to perform suicide, hence its name.

You can’t drink water from a cactus plant.

A cactus plant has the ability to store plenty of water, but unfortunately, this water is not suitable for human consumption. This water contains acids and alkaloids, which isn’t poisonous, but harmful for human kidneys.

So don’t go looking for a cactus plant for water when you’re feeling thirsty in a desert!