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Environment Trivia

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The orchid is named after the male genitalia. Its botanical family name, Orchidaceae, means "testicles" in Greek and may derive from an early notion that the orchid possessed aphrodisiac qualities.

One 75-watt bulb gives more light than three 25-watt bulbs.

The orchid releases a chemical that makes bees drunk. When the bee becomes disoriented, it dumps its load of pollen into the flower, thus pollinating the flower.

One fifth of the Earth's land surface is covered with deserts. A desert forms where the rainfall is less than 10 inches (250 millimeters) per year causing the soil to be dry for most of the time.

The Pacific equatorial countercurrent flows eastward toward South America, carrying up to 40 million tons of warm water with it every second.

One hurricane deposited enough water on Baquio on the Philippines to cover the entire island to a depth of 3 feet.

The paddlefish, a living fossil, has existed virtually unchanged in the Mississippi River for 230 million years, although it now weighs no more than one-third of its ancient weight. The only other part of the world in which the paddlefish is found is China.

One single perfect red rose framed with baby's breath is referred to by some florists as a “signature rose,” and is the preferred choice for many for giving on Valentine's Day, anniversary, or birthday.

One-third of the solar energy reaching Earth is used in evaporating water; about 95,000 cubic miles each year. This is equivalent to 30 lakes the size of Lake Superior.

Only about 1.6 percent of the water on Earth is fresh. Most of it is locked – unusable for living things – in snow and the ice at the poles and on the peaks of the highest mountains.

The pecan tree is the only naturally growing nut tree in North American. It is native to the Texas, Mississippi and Mexico River Valleys.

The perennial European grass timothy, widely grown in the United States for hay, was named after Timothy Hanson, who took the seed from New York to the Carolinas in the 1720s.

The petunia and the potato are related to each other.

The philodendron is one of any various climbing tropical American plants often cultivated as house plants. Tthe word comes from the Greek word philodendros, which means "loving trees."

The poinsettia flower is named after a nineteenth-century ambassador to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, who first brought the poinsettia plant to America.

The practice of naming hurricanes began early this century when an Australian weather forecaster decided to insult politicians he didn't like by naming devastating tropical storms after them.

The predominance of minerals mined in the world that fluoresce come from the United States; most of these are found in New Jersey.

The primary purpose of growing rice in flooded paddies is to drown the weeds surrounding the young seedlings — rice can, in fact, be grown in drained areas.

The process of mountain formation or upheaval is orogeny.

The rings of a tree are always farther apart on the tree's southern side. Woodsmen often read tree rings to find the compass points.

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