Things We Heart – May 2018

We’ve rounded up some of the best tree stuff on the web for your enjoyment. Check out this month’s highlights below:

If you’ve ever visited Los Angeles, California in May or June, you may have seen the iconic Jacaranda tree in full bloom.
The Jacaranda features vibrant, purple flowers that help to brighten up a gloomy weather season that locals refer to as “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” Turns out, the Jacaranda’s presence in southern California can be attributed to Kate Sessions, a pioneering female horticulturalist who leased and tended to 32 acres of land in San Diego in 1892 that was later re-named Balboa Park (sound familiar?). In this park, she planted many different plants and trees, including the Jacaranda. In the 1920s and ‘30s, the Jacaranda was planted extensively in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, becoming one of the most recognizable trees in the region.
Read more about Sessions and the Jacaranda.

Picture a city street at night, but instead of street lamps imagine glowing trees.
Researchers from a lab outside of Copenhagen, Denmark are working to isolate the glowing genes in bioluminescent algae and apply them to trees so that they could replace standard street lighting. There are many ways glowing trees could benefit a city, including less electric energy consumption, cleaner air, reduced temperatures and more. However, the project also presents ethical challenges about how genetically engineered trees will affect the ecosystems in which they live.
Read more about the research.

Did you know that trees and plants sleep?
During the day, plant metabolism changes depending on the intensity of sunlight. At night, plants redistribute starches and sugars to optimize their ability to perform photosynthesis the next day (Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make their own food – converting sunlight into energy. Source). Researchers in Hungary discovered that trees, rather than going dormant at night, are actually quite active – so much so that they’re “restless sleepers.”
Learn why trees do this.

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