Web edition: November 15, 2012
The bunchberry dogwood is the fastest flower on Earth. It literally explodes into bloom, firing off its pollen faster than a rifle can get off a shot — three times faster, actually. The bunchberry’s explosive blossoming even earned it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“It’s so unexpected,” admits Joan Edwards, the botanist who helped discover the plant’s quick trigger. “You don’t think of plants doing anything fast. And here they do it so fast, you can’t see it with your naked eye.”
Edwards is one of a trio of researchers profiled here whose work deals with extremely fast and powerful events.