The secret behind the amazing strength of lily pads and other science news
Researchers analyze the architecture of giant water lilies, 'spines on sticks' honor ancestors, and a green light helps conserve marine life.
At up to 10 feet in diameter, the floating leaves of giant water lilies (genus Victoria) are the largest on Earth. In South American waterways, they thrive and crowd out other plants. Some are sturdy enough to support the weight of a small child—a concept that a new paper in Science Advances illustrates literally, with a photo of a tot curled up on a colossal leaf.
The species V. cruziana, though long known to be strong, was little understood until this study analyzed the underside of its leaf, where veins branch from one artery to the next in a geometric pattern. The rigid vascular architecture lets the plant spend less energy maintaining its