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Ghost Trees DO have a purpose

Every now and then you come across an article about a white conifer, usually a redwood. These are special trees, no chlorophyl and yet they live. It is no wonder they take on spiritual connotations.

Now, a real scientific explanation has evolved. It seems that the ghost redwood trees all contain large quantities of cadmium, copper and nickel. These are toxic in the concentrations usually found at twice the levels of their green cousins with some having as much as 10 times more. What gives.

Well, first, the plants seem to have something wrong with their stomata. They leak. This means more water, and hence some of the minerals in it, go through the plants. The water leaves, but the metals remain.

Second, the plants get “paid” for their work. They clean up the soil of toxins and in return are rewarded wit starch from green plants. This is transported thought the mycorrhizal network which connects all of the roots in an area.

This is a big Wow. They mycorrhizal network is real. Paul Stamets calls it the world wide mycoweb and he is correct. Amazing.


Sometimes I come across an article that contains a discovery so fantastic that I wonder why I have not heard of it before. This is one of them and I am going to have to do a bit of research to make sure it is true because the discovery by Aussie scientists that plants are able to consume whole bacterium and yeast was made several years ago. You ever heard of it? The discovery was made sometime around 2013, so why not?

A little background: The process was named “rhizophagy” by the discovering scientists. A cell wall in the root literally engulfs the organism. Apparently the enzyme cellulase breaks open the wall. The question is where does this enzyme come from, the bacteria/ yeast or from the root?  Apparently, this has not been determined.

The organisms do not travel through the plant. However, nitrogen they produce does so apparently the plants are using the microbes for nutritional needs. The questions this raises are when and why and under what conditions does  rhizophagy occur? Ultimately, the question might be how do we use this to help us grow food?

Stay tuned. I am going to check this out some more when I get time. In the meantime, if  you have any info, drop me an email or leave a comment.



Hello world!

WOW, I never, ever thought I would be the author of one book, nonetheless three. A trilogy. All of a sudden I am Lord of The Roots. What a thrill.

Some of you may know that I have been writing a garden column for over 40 years, never missing a single week even for vacations. That is a lot of columns. I am going to start to post them on this site, but in a separate section called, how appropriate, Columns.

There are so many new discoveries being made about the soil and plants that I can hardly keep up with them. I will try and cover some of these here in this blog. Column writing is very regular, every Friday. Blog writing is new to me, so bare with me! I will be back!