Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Science Brain Did NOT Go to Sleep in Costa Rica


Here are some of the sciency things I observed around me while I was in Costa Rica:

This is a photo of two hibiscus flowers. Aren't they beautiful???

Ah, yes - - - but did you know they contain the reproductive organs of the hibiscus plant? Well of COURSE you knew that - - - just like you knew that EVERY flower is all about "Sex in the Garden." And if you FORGOT - - - you may go read my post about it here.

But back to these lovely hibiscus blossoms. Their reproductive organ arrangement is a bit unusual. Do you see all those yellow fuzzy things? Well - - - those are the anthers which produce the male gametes. (sperm if you need me to spell it all out) But unlike in a typical flower, these little anthers are at the end of filaments which are growing out of a staminal column.

Then look closely at the end of the staminal column and you will see five tiny red discs - - - they remind me of alien suction feet. These are the stigmas, the sticky ends of the female reproductive organ, which in this case is extending out from the hollow staminal column.

The stigmas are there just WAITING to collect the pollen. Once the pollen has collected on them, it will begin to grow pollen tubes down through the long slender neck (style) of the female organ (pistil) all the way to the ovary where the eggs are waiting to be fertilized and form seeds.

Aren't you glad you asked?????

I thought it was extremely fascinating, and I'm SO glad my little digi cam captured the whole exciting process. I guess I'm just a voyeur that way.

I DO hope you will be able to enjoy your flower bouquets after this.

And here we have another "unusual" blossom. Let me rephrase. A blossom that is not seen in the temperate midwest, though I saw TONS of them in the tropics.

They do NOT however develop into the bananas you see here. These are two different plants growing side by side. The bananas ARE the ripend ovary of the banana plant, however - - - containing the seeds.

Please, don't hesitate to enjoy your next banana - - - even though you WILL be eating the offspring of some poor banana mom and dad.

Oh - - - and what have we here? Why, it's a lovely walking stick. Notice the three pairs of legs, making it an insect. I won't go into its reproductive habits here - - - maybe we'll save that for another biological post.

But while we're at it, don't you just HATE it when folks refer to spiders as insects? Yah, me too - - - we ALL know they have 4 pairs of legs, just like scorpions, ticks, and mites so are therefore arachnids and not insects at all.

I took this photo at Fossil Land , which explains WHY it's called Fossil Land, don't'cha think? Just LOOK at all those shell fossils.

Here's a close up of a smaller fossil filled piece of limestone. Makes it pretty clear that this part of the world was once under water.

And what have we here? You might think it's JUST an old stone wall, and that it is - - - but not JUST an old stone wall. Look at it closely and you will see a splendid example of primary succession.

Do you see all the lichen and moss growing on the rocks and in the cracks between the rocks? Those are what we call "pioneer species." Their little root-like structures are busy at work, breaking the rock down into small pieces of sediment.

The cracks between the rock trap these pieces of sediment, and others. Soil begins to form and soon (well - - - relatively speaking) there is enough soil to support the roots of larger more organized forms of plant life.

And where plants move in - - - animals soon follow.

Here's a close-up of Ms. Lichen. Isn't she beautiful? And you can see the new soil in the crevices and even the tip of one small plant.

Maybe when I return in a couple thousand years, the wall will be gone and in its place will be a mound of plant covered soil.


Or maybe it will take ten thousand years or more.



Julie Harward said...

WOW...I hope there isn't a test on all this teacher! LOL I love your header..very pretty...and I will continue to enjoy the flowers in my ignorance I guess LOL :D

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Glad to see you didn't let your brain rest too much while there. Beautiful flowers.

Martin LaBar said...

Well done. Long live primary ecological succession, and hibiscuses, or is it hibisci?

Gerson & Betsy said...

Just so you know, that flower in your first picture is one of my favorites!!!! Aren't they beautiful?

lilmomma said...

The offspring of a Banana Mom and Dad...Oh Keetha, how I miss you and your wonderful science classes! :) You are a blessing. Miss you much. Anna, your old student. Haha. Or should I say "past" student. I'm not old. Not yet anyways...

Maggie said...

Well whouda thunk it?
Thanks for the lesson, Miss K.

Tonja said...

I loved hearing all this. It is very interesting! I didn't think so when I heard it first...maybe it was because there was such an overload of in the world could one little brain keep it all straight? Now, when I get it in small doses like this, I really do enjoy it!


Keri said...

I have a science question for you and this post jogged my memory that I've been meaning to ask it!

Mackinley was watching a show the other day that taught him if something has seeds, it's a fruit. (And he has remembered it and is very quick to point out what is a fruit and what isn't)

So my question is this...cucumbers have seeds...are they fruit?! And if they are, how did I live 33 years and not know this??

xinex said...

Thanks for the very interesting lesson! I know you enjoyed your trip.....Christine

Brenda said...

Well, maybe HE needs to come over here and leave SHE alone! It's all about sex these days, isn't it? And, yes, I'll never look at a banana the same again. Thanks. ;)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you for the information. I read every word you typed. We actually have some of those plants here in California.

Debbiedoos said...

Your science brain took some fabulous photos! What a beautiful place Costa Rica looks like!!~ Funny you asked me about the random letters, second time this week, and the first gal was a teacher as well. Yes, attention grabber is all, whimsy, fun, just silly I guess!~ But I like it:) Have a good day!

KBeau said...

Beautiful pictures. I'm sure your science brain often dictated what you photographed. Isn't it amazing how different folks will see different things in the same setting. Glad you had a good trip.

Kristin - The Goat said...

I love it when you talk like this and I can nod my head in vague recollection that I once knew this. Maybe next time it won't be a vague recollection!!

Kristin - The Goat

Pam said...

Please call Keri!

nancygrayce said...

Now that was a science lesson I could "get"....although, I'm not so sure I ever will be able to look at a hibiscus the same...

groovyoldlady said...

We are kindred spirits. I am going to share this blog with my bio class tomorrow, It's my last time doing labs with them. They will be oh-so-thrilled to learn I am not the only science geek out there!

Cass @ That Old House said...

Well now it's a good thing I don't have parental controls on my Internet or I'd never have seen this post.

I'd hate to see that Walking Stick when it's pregnant. Imagine that . . .
I am SO behind in reading my faves in blogland -- which means you. Just backtracking and catching up!

Cass @ That Old House said...

P.S. forgot to say . . . I love it when you talk naughty.