Skeleton Flower turns transparent in the rain


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/08/31/skeleton-flower-turns-transpar.html


#2

Cool!


#3

Nature is awesome…


#4

Yup. Same principle at work in the translucency of certain compositions of very thin wet paper. The water soaks into the crystalline structure and lowers its index of refraction so it’s closer to that of the surrounding air.

In his famous novel The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells posited a substance that once ingested by a person, would have the same effect. This isn’t practical of course because different tissues have different refractive indices, but it was a neat example of early hard-ish SF. You could think of this flower as a simplified exmaple of what Wells was suggesting. It’s entirely possible he knew of this plant, as he did visit the northeastern US which is one place where the skeleton flower can be found.


#5

Skeletons perfect for everyone’s closet!


#6


#8

To spark up a possible Halloween plant craze, I found a patch of these “ghost plants” on a recent hike in the Clatsop National State Forest:

The strange thing about these little fellas is they have lost the ability to photosynthesize, and instead feed by parasitizing underground fungal bodies. Thus they can grow during both the day and night.


#9

Translucent.


#10

Hm, native to East-Asia and the American-NW, why, then, didn’t they inspire a Wet-T-Shirt tradition in East-Asia?


#11

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