FlipFact of the Day: Certain types of bamboo grow incredibly fast. Some are said to grow almost 3 feet in just one day.
There are over a thousand species of bamboo, all of which fall under the grass family (Poaceae). Quite a few of these species grow at a remarkably fast rate. According to the Guinness World Records, some can grow up to 91 cm (35 in) per day. Meanwhile, in “The Book of Bamboo,” David Farrelly wrote that at least one species has been observed to grow 120.9 cm (47.6 in) within 24 hours.
However, bamboo’s rapid “growth” is actually rapid elongation. The small cone at the base of a bamboo clump has all the cells for a new system (or culm). Under the right environmental conditions, cells quickly elongate and shoot upwards from the bamboo’s subterranean plant stem (or rhizome), with the cell walls constraining lateral expansion.
A 2017 study suggests that bamboo’s fast growth rate may be due to “a high level of coordination between cell division, cell growth, and cell wall biosynthesis, optimized for rapid growth.”
Today’s Science History Milestone: On September 17, 1962, NASA announced the members of its second group of astronauts, meant to augment the first. The line-up included an experimental research test pilot who would eventually make history as the first man on the Moon: Neil Armstrong.
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Cover image: householdwonders.com