Garden · Plants

The amazing delicateness and impossible robustness of plants

reworked trilete spore

I am constantly amazed by both the delicateness and resistance of plant life. For a lot of Antarctica’s earth history, the continent was covered by a lush landscape – trees, marshes, ferns, flowers. There were even a few crocodiles. But even after Antarctica was almost entirely frozen over, plants kept returning time after time, popping up here and there in Antarctica’s earth history and leaving behind incredibly enduring traces of themselves – pollen and spores. What amazes me most though is not that these plant bits still remain even after 15, 20, 60 million years (and more), but rather that these plants adapted to extremely cold and impossibly dry conditions, repopulating the continent over and over again, even after Antarctica was covered in ice. Smaller than half or even a quarter of a grain of sand, these grains (like the on above) are what I spend my time studying when I’m not chasing chickens around my yard. Oftentimes, they are the last remaining vestiges of an Earth we can only imagine.

So it should have come as no surprise to me today when I saw new shoots bursting forth from a plant I thought I had killed. A small crop of mint was left in the kitchen without water over the Easter weekend, and when I came home, it had all turned brown. Without real hope for it’s rejuvenation, I carelessly watered it and left it in the sink for a few days. Yesterday, I finally got around to cutting away all the dead, dried bits (which was pretty much everything above the soil). But tonight when I got home, I found fresh shoots, leaves budding out, strong stems, vibrantly green and full of fresh life. And tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll find more.


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