Tumbleweeds are more interesting than they are generally portrayed. If you have ever watched an old western, a cartoon, or even read a picture book as a child, you might have noticed that tumble weeds often show up in boring or dull situations. The plants are usually shown to amplify the lack of action or excitement in any given situation. I have never really wondered much about tumbleweeds since they were always just part of the scenery, but these rolling balls of crabgrass are actually in a sense the fruit of a plant. Tumbleweeds are a part of a plant that breaks off at the stem, and rolls about with some help from the wind. These rolling weeds spread about seeds or spores in order to propagate its species over a large area. Tumbleweeds are interesting because of the fact that, unlike many other plants, they are a group that is quite active in its reproduction process. Tumbleweeds aren’t the only plants that use wind to aid their reproduction, but the way spread over vast regions with their rolling methods, is an ingenious way to stretch the usefulness of a gust. Tumbleweeds are probably not the most interesting types of plants, but they are certainly not as boring as they are regularly shown to be. As a child, I always thought a tumbleweed was just a big useless ball of dirt and grass rolling in the desert, I now know that, while they may not be much, they are still useful, and very important to the life of a plant.
Yesterday’s blog about super heroes got me thinking about the upcoming super hero movie, Ant-Man, and that reminded me of the spectacular insect that is the ant. The ant is a bug that is both hated and admired for its industrial nature and ingenuity. While almost all people would consider ants pests, it has to be said that they are quite brilliant in their own way. Ants have the ability to make a living in almost any setting, and due to their codependent nature their species has been able to thrive and stay safe even in more hostile territories. Ants are the most common single animal on almost every continent, as they hold a disproportionate percentage of the total biomass in any given ecosystem, and that total is based only on the number of species we known to man. Humans can probably learn much about community interaction from ants, since they are so productive as a unit, but theses animals don’t communicate the way we do. I sometimes like to wonder what the world would be like if humans communicated like ants or other organisms. If we used chemicals and smells in order to convey our desires and needs, would we be more productive? I know as humans, we waste plenty of time trying to figure out what others are trying to say, but I guess that’s just one of the tradeoffs of being more complex than insects. I could probably go on and on about these bugs from their immense strength to body ratio to their interesting breeding methods, but the fact of the mater is I get pretty grossed out by bugs so I will leave it at that. Ants are amazing creatures with plenty of applications that are beneficial to mankind, and as long as they stay out of our living spaces, I’m sure more people would be able to form a respect for these interesting creatures.