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102 votes

Why can't my huge trees be chopped down?

Underneath the outer cork-like layer of bark, the trees have a second foam-like layer. The cells of this layer are filled with a volatile liquid (in the chemistry sense - meaning it evaporates easily)...
Chronocidal's user avatar
  • 15.3k
100 votes

How would trees communicate?

Plants already communicate, we simply ignore or are just now starting to discover most of the mechanisms they use. An African tree has been found capable of communicating with its neighbors to warn ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 291k
76 votes
Accepted

Could a virus that just kills plants be the end of us all?

We're boned. You described a virus that is... air, fresh, and saltwater borne destroys plants and their seeds in two days can survive in all terrestrial environments can go dormant, presumably in ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 30.2k
73 votes

Could a plant grow on a restrained, living human?

First off let me say yuck!, that is a series of Google searches I can never take back. But as to your question, apparently plants often germinate inside the human body, specifically inside the lungs, ...
Josh King's user avatar
  • 24.9k
71 votes
Accepted

Why would people let a super tree grow?

The tree was never supposed to be a tree, it was supposed to be a natural boost to the air quality and be a feature of the building. The architect had a great idea for a natural air circulation and ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
71 votes
Accepted

Why can't my huge trees be chopped down?

The most likely reason would be that they simply don't have anything that can cut them in your scenario. You say that the trees are highly valuable, so there's a high motivation to cut them down. ...
stix's user avatar
  • 5,928
69 votes
Accepted

Can plants survive without animals?

If you allow the third kingdom (after plants and animals), namely fungi (mushrooms and their many, many cousins), then yes. Fungi will take care of the oxygen surplus, using it up and releasing CO2 ...
Syndic's user avatar
  • 6,662
56 votes

Can a plant evolve to give off CO2?

Plants give off CO2 at night, when they start to respirate using the 'fuel' (glucose) synthesised by photosynthesis in the day. Check out the Calvin-Benson cycle
costrom's user avatar
  • 898
51 votes

Can plants survive without animals?

Plants existed before animals ever evolved, and if all animals were to disappear, plants would continue to exist a million years from now. Just mostly different species. Respiration. Plants produce ...
Karen's user avatar
  • 3,628
51 votes
Accepted

Anatomically Correct Carnivorous Tree

There are trees which are capable of killing large animals, in fact, only they don't eat them afterwards. But it's a start. Pisonia brunoniana is known as the birdcatcher tree for a reason. The seed ...
SealBoi's user avatar
  • 14.9k
51 votes

Could a pine forest with year-round snowfall survive?

A few notes. You can have it snow all year, without snowing every day. The problem with snowing every day is the snow will just pile up, and gravity will compress it into an ice sheet. No matter how ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 34.7k
50 votes

Can we Build a World Where Cooking is Difficult?

It looks like you want a world with a law of narrative causality. Why is cooking such an exacting thing where cutting an onion wrong will result in it turning poisonous at best, or worse, transforming ...
sphennings's user avatar
  • 21.4k
47 votes
Accepted

How many plants does it take to breathe?

13 square meters BIOS-3, a sealed, underground compound designed to mimic a spacecraft, managed to generate oxygen for humans using algae. Its specifics are outlined in an article by Salisbury et al.: ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
45 votes

How to kill trees?

I know this is a slightly short answer, but it applies to most European trees (not all I admit) at least: if you hammer a copper stake into the tree low down, close to the roots, it will poison the ...
Blade Wraith's user avatar
  • 8,502
45 votes

How would trees communicate?

You don't have to speculate very far at all; it's a widely accepted notion, since Prof. Suzanne W. Simard's 1997 research paper, "Reciprocal transfer of carbon isotopes between ectomycorrhizal Betula ...
Rab's user avatar
  • 621
44 votes
Accepted

Tree Shape on a Tidally Locked World

This is an interesting observation which I don't recall anyone making before! A world where the sun appears to stand still in the sky (the planet is tide-locked and its orbit is circular) will indeed ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 14.3k
43 votes
Accepted

How to check what is edible on an alien world?

A multi-pronged strategy. First, simple chemical tests would be performed for heavy metals and strong acids/alkalis and to give a general profile of the plant or animal's chemical composition. Gas ...
Escaped dental patient.'s user avatar
43 votes
Accepted

Could tree-sized mushrooms grow on an Earth-like world?

They did. Now, the first trees evolved on Earth right around the same time that Prototaxites went extinct, so perhaps trees just out-compete them and they really can't co-exist... but it's not ...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
42 votes

How would a human be affected if plant DNA was injected into their system?

It would have little to no effect if it was just "injected", since at that point it would just be harmless nucleotides. It would be captured and digested by lymphocytes. It is possible that ...
LSerni's user avatar
  • 55.4k
40 votes

Learning a new language without any reference

Humans have a built-in ability to learn languages. While this ability is greatest in young children, it never goes away. What you are looking for is called learning a language by immersion. It has ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 91.1k
38 votes
Accepted

Plausibility of Mushroom Buildings

Prototaxites! Fossil mushrooms are rarities. Mushrooms are the fungal equivalent of flowers - spongy, ephemeral, disposable bodies generated to serve a reproductive need. You could not use ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
38 votes

What sort of materials could be used to make clothing in a swamp?

Jute. (Source) Jute is an ancient and versatile fiber crop, and according to wikipedia is still second only to cotton in amount produced. It requires standing water and so is perfect for your ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
37 votes
Accepted

Why do the plants glow?

Whenever there is a puzzling, wasteful, obvious excess in an organism's biology or behaviour, the answer is almost always SEX! So, this glow would be a sexual attractant for pollinators or seed ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62k
36 votes

Exploding fruit mechanism

You're lucky, this is a case of "nature already did it". A combination of melting resin, high internal pressure and physical tension works for various existing plants such as the squirting cucumber, ...
0xFF's user avatar
  • 1,664
36 votes

Why can't my huge trees be chopped down?

People get the wood. The trees are cut. They are just not cut down. There is no need to cut them down. Your forest is a pollard forest. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding Pollarding, a ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
36 votes
Accepted

Planet with only plant life?

The Earth had life without multicellular animals for roughly three billion years, so it should be pretty obvious that such a planet is possible. There were certainly plants for some of that very long ...
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 20.3k
35 votes

Would glacier 'trees' be plausible?

Maybe, nature is incredibly inventive, but there are a couple of problems with the basic premise; Glaciers "bulldoze" soil out of the way when they move down valley. If there is any major volume of ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 45.6k
35 votes

Why can't my huge trees be chopped down?

Diseases or toxins Maybe the forest is a hazardous place due to various diseases thriving in local flora or fauna for example Malaria mosquitos. Bandits would not be immune, but well maybe they have ...
TheShadowOfZama's user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

Can you design your own plants without a computer?

Take a look at this description of how DNA sequencing works, both today and 30 years ago. Basically, 30-odd years ago we did sequencing manually with a whole bunch of scientists (and/or interns) ...
enpaul's user avatar
  • 2,119

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