Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big things are happening in Neuroscience!

If you haven't heard of TED.com, you've been missing out.

The biggest and the littlest.

A while back I posted a little information about Amorphophallus titanum, the world's largest flower. Just a few days ago while peeking around on Ebay, I discovered (and bought!) Amorphophallus ongsakulii, which I have heard is the smallest member of the genus. It was discovered in 2004 in the Khammouane Province of Laos by Alan Galloway and Annop Ongsakul, and described to science in 2006. A. titanum requires a corm (bulb) at least 30 lbs to produce its incredible flower. And, it can only produce this flower when it isn't busy growing its enormous single leaf. A. ongsakulii, in an incredible act of rebellion, flowers with a corm less than 1 cm long and weighing less than a gram. Further bucking evolutionary tradition, this miniature Aroid creates its itty bitty non-smelly flower right alongside its single leaf. Right now mine are in dormancy until spring, but hopefully some day I'll be able to take a photo similar to:

Photo from: Plant Delights Nursery, where you can buy your own!