Dumbest Myths You have Heard About Plants

They don’t respire when they don’t photosynthesize, do they? And when they do respire while photosynthisizing they give off O2, not CO2, right?

That is not a myth - it really works! I’m a fool who tried it, and indeed, it will not sting you, and you can harass your soon-to-be-ex-friends by brandishing nettles at them! But if you’re grabbing big handfuls while foraging, you’d undoubtedly get brushed by some, and you’d be stung.

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I’ve not been brave enough (or foolish? Fine line?) to try that… I have developed the habit of grabbing curtly dock leaves to carry in case I do rub stinging nettles!
I am still non-allergic to poison ivy in my late sixties, though!

You can brush with/in the direction of the needles and it won’t sting. I’ve never been brave enough to grab them.

  1. these few individuals of ‘X’ native plant will ‘take over/get out of control’ and you’ll never get rid of it

  2. every toxic plant (of which you must eat kilograms of to get sick) must be removed from anywhere within a 1km radius of children, lest one of them brush up against it and die[instantaneously

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I’m another fool who tried it, and I can attest that it is indeed a myth.

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Aren’t there toxic plants that are a legitimate hazard if near children that put stuff in their mouths?

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Here we do not miss some (or many) idiots who cut the aerial trunks of the ivy (which is native here) because they heard that it is a parasite and it kills trees.

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It might be the way that you grabbed it. If you pinch the stem with two fingers, you’ll be fine. If you grab a bunch in your fist, well, good luck to you.

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One thing that plants have in common with us is that cellular respiration happens constantly, and cellular respiration always uses up O2 and produces CO2, in the process “burning” organic carbon and converting it into chemical energy (in the form of ATP) that can be made available for other cellular processes.

Photosynthesis is a separate process that uses sunlight to fix CO2 into organic forms of carbon that the plant can then use to grow, while releasing O2. So it is technically correct that (non-CAM) plants emit CO2 at night, the “dumb” myth is that it would ever be enough to become harmful. The CO2 you produce yourself (or your partner, or pets sleeping in the same room) is much more likely to cause you discomfort than the little a couple of (or even many) houseplants could ever do.

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Plants also photorespire (neither a myth nor an April Fools joke), which is a wasteful version of ‘photosynthesis’ that uses O2 instead of CO2 because the enzyme RuBisCO can get overwhelmed by high oxygen concentration (e.g. when stomata are closed due to drought) and turn into an oxygenase. Getting around this is the whole reason C4 and CAM plants have evolved in the first place.

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Given the date today, my favorite plants are spaghetti trees and marshmallow farming. Golden classics. :laughing:

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One of my worst pet peeves is when someone says:
“Did you know: Tomatoes are actually not vegetables because botanically they are a fruit/berry”
There is just no reason why the botanical category tomatoes (or cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, or whatever) are in should in any way influence the culinary use of them.

Also, if people believe every introduced plant is automatically invasive.

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I think this may be a sort of grey area, maybe?
My very uninformed guess is that how hard you grip doesn’t make any difference, but how you grip it will and people tend to grip stuff differently when they grip hard vs. when they grip gently. That, plus our palms are perhaps a bit less sensitive and thicker skinned than the tips of our fingers. Just a hypothesis, though.

In any case, my foolproof method of not getting stung by them is still not to touch them at all. :sweat_smile:

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We have marshmallows ;~)
Pink and white with golden sparkles

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Same country and I’ve seen it too, beautiful ivy with massive trunks being hacked at the base to “protect” ornamental hybrid planes from a threat that doesn’t exist, trees whose only ecological and aesthetic value was the ivy cover in the first place.
Wouldn’t it be cool if plant management was done by people who actually know plants…

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Late blooming Tilia trees are killing bumblebees, as the many dead bumblebees one can find underneith them prove

Indeed they are probably the only food resource left in late summer in our urban landscapes and die there due to exhaustion and starvation

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Oh no, companies like that are the worst. My mom used to sell books at vendor events, and she would always end up next to some essential oil company that didn’t understand that extremely concentrated plant oils should be used sparingly. IDK what they did, but my mom has allergic reactions to peppermint now and I think it was bc the essential oils people didn’t understand “just a dot, not a lot” smh

Overdosing on ‘natural’ herbal medication can be just as bad as other medication. I wonder if you can give your dad a placebo instead.

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Also beans, peas and sweet corn are technically fruit.

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Yup (at least the entire pods are).
But it would just make no sense at all to call them fruits in day to day life. Also, technically some “fruits” aren’t actually fruits (apples, pears, strawberries…), but I guess a “fruit salad” sounds more appetising than a “salad of hypanthia and receptacles”. :D

In my native language, German, it’s a bit better and a bit worse at the same time.
We have two different words for fruit. “Frucht” often meaning fruit in a botanical sense, “Obst” meaning fruit in a culinary, day-to-day sense.
If someone says “Tomaten sind übrigens eine Frucht” (tomatoes are actually a fruit), it’s still mildly annoying, but they are not wrong, so I can live with it.
Sometimes, though, people say “Tomaten sind übrigens Obst”, which… aaaAaAAAH :(

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German and English terminology can differ and some things that are often pointed out in English make no sense or do not translate into German and vice versa. Giftig is a good example: in German, both the rattlesnake that bites you and the mushroom that kills you when you eat it are giftig, but in English the first one would be venomous and the second one poisonous. On the other hand, the English translation for Obst and Frucht is fruit for both terms. So while it’s easy to distinguish the botanical and culinary concepts in German, it’s more confusing in English where only one word exists. There’s an existing thread pointing out that tomatoes are fruits and other related concepts - if people want to delve back into that discussion maybe one of the moderators may be willing to reopen that.

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