Stone-Making Plants (Part 1 of 2)


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285>_9989249Stone-Making Plants (Part 1 of 2)

Have you ever wondered how you could get cut by a blade of grass or the edge of a palm leaf? Find out on today’s Creation Moments Minute.

Plants have a nasty secret. They absorb silica, the same stuff of which glass is made, and store it in their cells.

Some plants, like corn, store large mounts of silica on their leaves, making the edges of the leaves sharp and strong enough to give you a nasty slash. And yes, they do this largely to protect themselves. Insects that like to eat plant leaves find that when they chew on plants with lots of silica, their mouth parts wear out faster. Plants also store silica between their cells, giving them a strong, stony skeleton.

These silica particles made by plants are called phytoliths, which literally means “plant stones.” For more info about these plant stones, catch our next program.

For Creation Moments Minute dot com, I’m Darren Marlar.

Ref: Ivars Peterson. 1983. “Plant Stones.” Science News, Vol. 124. Aug. 6, pp. 88-94.

 

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