Exploding Flowers

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Exploding Flowers

... Quote:
Flowers of Cornus canadensis explode open, launching their pollen, in less than 0.3 ms. Pollen is accelerated at more than 2000 times the acceleration of gravity, and is launched at speeds exceeding 4 m/s. To capture this extrememly rapid motion we recorded flower opening with a high-speed video camera capable of taking images at 10,000 frames per second (fps).

Videos of flower opening recorded at this rate but played back at 15 fps. Footage such as this was analyzed to not only measure the speeds and accelerations reached by this amazing plant, but also to understand its clever design. Because the anthers can rotate freely about the filament tip, pollen is accelerated straight upwards as the filaments unfold. Only after the pollen has reached do the anther tips move out away from the center of the plant releasing the pollen. In essence, each stamen is designed like a miniature midievel trebuchet for launching pollen. This design results in a natural release point, whch maximizes the pollen's vertical speed at the moment of launch.

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About the Plant

These are some amazing exploding flower videos. The pollen is shot out 2,000 times faster then the rate of gravity accelerating. It is triggered by a bug landing on it.

dogwood.jpg - 20.12kb
By YCON: posted on 7-5-2006

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