Plants aren’t usually thought of as very fast moving – they stay in one place, almost completely still, occasionally drooping over if you forget to water them. In some cases, however, plants can be amazingly quick; grabbing hold of insects, shooting out their seeds or spinning their leaves round to get a suntan.
Next in our series on the world’s fastest plants is…
Sandbox tree | Native to North and South America
The sandbox tree has sharp spines and smooth bark, so it’s sometimes given the (overly literal, Yoda-esque) name “Monkey no-climb”. That’s not the only alternative moniker for this giant plant; it’s also sometimes called the dynamite tree. However, despite the violent name, it can’t be used to blow up a bridge – the “dynamite” refers only to the explosive sound of the tree’s fruit.
Sandbox trees grow fruit that look like little pumpkins, three inches in diameter. Once ripe, these fruit distribute their seeds through the power of explosion – the fruit burst with such force that the seeds fly out at 160mph. (We once looked into this method of sending out the documentation for travel insurance. It didn’t end well.) Anything going 160mph is impressive, but it’s even more impressive when it’s a seed (which is really just a baby plant) that’s moving so quickly.
(We tried and tried to find a video of an exploding fruit but couldn’t find anything… Please let us know if you manage to find one!)