Wander Lord

Interesting on art, nature, people, history

Category Archive: Nature

Alaska – largest American state

Alaska – largest American state

Alaska – largest American state

Alaska is the largest state in the USA. Its area is 1,717,854 square kilometers. It is nicknamed the Last Frontier or Land of the Midnight Sun and includes rugged coastlines, massive glaciers, and the tallest mountains in North America. Juneau is the capital of the state, but Anchorage is the largest city. Alaska is not connected to the other 48 states of the mainland United States.
The Yukon is Alaska’s largest river. Two mountain chains—the Alaska Range and the Aleutian Range—curve along Alaska’s southern coast. The highest point in North America is Mount McKinley, in the Alaska Range, which rises to a height of 6,194 meters.
Native Alaskans, Eskimo (Inuit), Aleut, and American Indians, make up about one sixth of the population. Common nationalities among the rest of the people include Russian, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese.
Alaska’s economy is based on oil, tourism, and fishing.
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Cactus – Don’t Touch!

Cactus - Don’t Touch!

Cactus – Don’t Touch!

Cactuses, or cacti, are desert plants. They grow in dry places and their ability to store water keeps them alive. They have thick tissues that take up and hold large amounts of water. Cacti are protected by sharp spines that are actually modified leaves.
There are about 1,650 species of cactus. They can be of different sizes. The giant cactus known as the saguaro can be 15 meters tall. Mexico has the greatest number and variety of cacti.
Their roots are spread out near the surface of the soil because this is important to their survival. Some cacti have flowers and branches. The fruit is a many-seeded berry.
Unusual and beautiful cacti are prized as houseplants. Some types of cacti are also grown for food. Some types of cacti are used for making medicines.
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Owl – Nighttime Hunter

Owl - Nighttime Hunter

Owl – Nighttime Hunter

Owls are birds of prey. They are nocturnal birds and they are very helpful to people. Owls eat rodents, such as mice, gophers, and rats. Some owls eat insects or fish. Owls sleep during the day, hidden among tree branches. They live around the world in almost every kind of habitat.
These birds have a large head, a flat face with large eyes, a hooked beak, and sharp claws. Owls have excellent eyesight and hearing. Because of their soft feathers, owls fly silently and almost always surprise their prey. Owls catch their prey and swallow it without chewing.
Owls cannot move their eyes, but they can turn their heads to the left or the right almost all the way around. The head snaps back so quickly that people think owls can turn their heads all the way around.
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Fuchsia – bright flower

Fuchsia – bright flower

Fuchsia – bright flower

Fuchsias are known for their brightly colored, hanging flowers. They can be found in New Zealand, Central America, South America, Europe, and the United States. People grow fuchsias in gardens and window boxes. Fuchsias need to be kept away from strong winds and be protected from heat.
There are about 100 species of fuchsia. They can be small plants, shrubs, or trees. Fuchsias have very colorful flowers and come in many sizes (from 15 centimeters to 5.5 meters). Flowers can be monochrome, bi-color and tri-color.
The main part of a fuchsia flower is shaped like a tube or a bell. At the end are four brightly colored petals. The colors attract hummingbirds and insects.
South American Fuchsia triphylla was brought by conquistadors as a gift to the king of Spain.
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Bamboo – The Tallest Grass

Bamboo - The Tallest Grass

Bamboo – The Tallest Grass

Bamboo is the tallest grass that can grow as tall as a tree. Some kinds of bamboo grow to a height of 130 feet. There are more than 1,000 kinds of bamboo. Most are found in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Some kinds grow in the southern United States. They grow in mild to warm and humid areas.
The stems of bamboo are called culms. They are hollow and grow in clusters from an underground stem called a rhizome. Some grow as much as 0.3 meter per day.
It is one of the world’s most useful plants. People use bamboo to build rafts, bridges, and houses, make furniture, paper, pipes, walking sticks, fishing poles, garden stakes, chopsticks and many other things. Bamboo sprouts and shoots are used in cooking.
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Tulips – From Bulbs to Beauties

Tulips - From Bulbs to Beauties

Tulips – From Bulbs to Beauties

Tulips are wonderful flowers that bloom in early spring. There are nearly 4,000 kinds of them. There are white, yellow, red, pink, orange, purple tulips and even black and brown tulips. They belong to the lily family.
Tulips grow from bulbs that are planted in the ground. A small tough stem inside the bulb began growing when the sun is warm enough and the ground is wet enough. In most types of tulip each stem grows a single flower.
The people of Turkey were probably the first to grow tulips in their gardens. The name “tulip” came from the Turkish word tulbend, which means “turban.” In 1551 an ambassador from Austria took tulips from Turkey to Europe. Because they were rare at that time, the bulbs were very expensive. The Netherlands became the center of tulip production in the 1600s.
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Maple – Spectacular Leaves and Tasty Syrup

Maple – Spectacular Leaves and Tasty Syrup

Maple – Spectacular Leaves and Tasty Syrup

Maples are trees and shrubs that are often planted in parks and along city streets. Their leaves form a thick dome and in autumn they turn spectacular shades of yellow, orange, and scarlet.
There are about 200 different species of maple. They grow throughout much of North America, Europe, and northeastern Asia. They can grow to be more than 40 meters tall. The leaves usually have several fingerlike sections called lobes. Flowers appear in early spring. The fruit of maple trees is a hard pebble-sized structure with a pair of thin wings.
Sugar maples have sweet sap that is used to make maple syrup. These trees grow in Canada and the United States. People collect the sap in late winter or early spring. Sugar maples do not produce sap until they are about 40 years old! Sugar maple is the national tree of Canada, and a stylized leaf of this species is featured prominently on the Canadian flag.
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