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Environment Trivia

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The "French" marigold arrived in Europe with the Spanish conquistadors during the sixteenth century, who brought the delicate flower with them from its land of origin. It was from Mexico, not France.

In Calama, a town in the Atacama Desert of Chile, it has never rained.

The African boabab tree can have a circumference as large as 100 feet. One such tree in Zimbabwe is so wide that the hollowed-out trunk serves as a shelter at a bus stop, with a capacity to hold as many as 40 people.

In England, vraic is a seaweed used for fuel and fertilizer. It is found in the Channel Islands.

In living memory, it was not until February 18, 1979 that snow fell on the Sahara. A half-hour storm in southern Algeria stopped traffic. But within a few hours, all the snow had melted.

In Los Angeles, discarded garments are being recycled as industrial rags and carpet underlay. Such recycling keeps clothing out of landfills, where it makes up 4 percent of the trash dumped each year.

There are more than 700 species of plants that grow in the United States that have been identified as dangerous if eaten. Among them are some that are commonly favored by gardeners: buttercups, daffodils, lily of the valley, sweet peas, oleander, azalea, bleeding heart, delphinium, and rhododendron.

There are only about fifty geyser fields known to exist on Earth and approximately two-thirds of those fifty are home to five or fewer active geysers. Yellowstone National Park in the state of Wyoming has more geysers than any other field known in the world. The park has been the site of extensive study of the properties and characteristics of geysers.

There is about one quarter-pound of salt in every gallon of seawater.

The Agulhas current in the western Indian Ocean is the fastest ocean current in the world. Even so, its speed is only 6 miles per hour.

There is an organization in Berkeley, California, whose members gather monthly to discuss and honor the garlic plant. Called "The Lovers of the Stinky Rose," this unusual organization holds and annual garlic festival and publishes a newsletter known as "Garlic Time."

The air is so polluted in Cubato, Brazil, no birds or insects remain, most trees are blackened stumps, and its mayor reportedly refuses to live there.

There is so much moisture in the air that if it were all to condense and fall, there would be up to an additional three inches of water added to the earth's surface.

The American yew, a shrub commonly found around federal buildings in Washington, D.C., has the botanical name Taxus taxus(italicize).

There's enough energy in ten minutes of one hurricane to match the nuclear stockpiles of the world.

The amount of lava produced when Iceland's Laki volcano erupted in 1783, was, at 98 feet deep, enough to bury a four story, 66 foot home.

Thirty gallons, or 135 litres, of water is used for the average shower in the United States.

The ancient Greeks believed ivy to be the sign of everlasting love.

Three hundred and fourteen acres of trees are used to make the newsprint for the average Sunday edition of the New York Times. There are nearly 63,000 trees in the 314 acres.

The angle between the main branched of a tree and its trunk remains constant in each species and this same angle is found between the principal vein of the tree's leaves and all its subsidiary branching veins.

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