The plant kingdom has some fascinating species of plants. For example, the African baobab can hold as much as 25,000 gallons of water. A 6,000-ton stand of quaking aspen in Utah is estimated to have cloned itself via runners for over 10,000 years. These, however, are only a few interesting facts and statistics about plants.
Number of Plant Species
According to Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BCGI), getting a precise count of the number of plant species is impossible because new species are constantly being discovered while other species are becoming extinct. BCGI estimates that there are around 400,000 species of plants.
Establishing the number of endangered plant species is also difficult. In 1997, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) listed 34,000 threatened plant species out of 60,000 evaluated species. In recent years, the definition of threatened has changed and the IUCN listed 8,000 of 11,000 evaluated species as threatened. BCGI estimates that 20 percent of plant species in the United Kingdom are endangered or threatened.
Number of Carniverous Plants
Carnivorous plants are plants that gain sustenance from insect and animal flesh. Carnivorous plants evolved in environments where other nutrients were either too low or not available for plant growth. Although a few species are well known, the Botanical Society of America lists 600 species of carnivorous plants in nine different plant families.
Oldest Living Plant
The oldest living plant, according to Palomar Community College, is an endangered shrub in Tasmania of the Proteaceae family. King's Holly is a sterile triploid that can not reproduce via seeds. Thickets of King's Holly are estimated to be 43,000 years old and nearby fossilized leaves could be genetically identical to the living thicket.
Most Massive Living Organism
The most massive living organism on earth, according to Palomar Community College, is a giant sequoia in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This tree is 272 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 35 feet. The tree is estimated to contain 600,000 board feet of lumber with the trunk weighing an estimated 1,400 tons.