The world’s rarest plant?

We’ll probably never see this plant again. Image from Wood (2012)

Many of the rarest and most endangered species we know of are plants. The sad story of Hibiscedelphus woodii, which I’ve only just read about, is not atypical. Of the 4 last known specimens, on a cliff in Hawaii,

three individuals of H. woodii were apparently crushed by a large fallen boulder and died between 1995 and 1998. on 17 August 2011, the last remaining H. woodii was observed dead. [zotpressInText  item=”X8HWMKBN”]

The unfortunate (but appropriate) choice of this as a endangered species at a recent event for the Society of Biology, prompted me to dig out the following, which I wrote in 2009 to answer the question “What is the world’s rarest plant”: Continue reading

Period table Scrabble

Just how many words can you make using the element symbols. And what if you aren’t allowed to use the symbols more than once? An obvious job for a computer, especially if you have a text file of English words hanging around. So this morning I hunted for a decent list of chemical elements and symbols, and found 38163 valid words: 15% of a large English vocabulary… Continue reading