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10 Shocking Plant Facts You Didn’t Know

10 Shocking Plant Facts You Didn’t Know

1. The earth has more than 80,000 species of edible plants.

If you’re ever in the mood to try something new, the good news is that there is certainly food you haven’t tasted yet still growing somewhere in the world. You’ll probably have some trouble finding it, however, because…

2. 90 percent of the foods humans eat come from just 30 plants.

Out of tens of thousands of plants we could eat, mankind chooses to consume only about 30 of them. It’s crazy to contemplate how limited our diets are compared to all of the different foods we could be eating. If you think the selection of which plants we eat has anything to do with their nutritional benefits, however, you’d be wrong…

3. Nutrition doesnt factor into the crops we do mass produce.

The world’s largest farmers have pursued certain crops because they can grow a lot of them more quickly, easily and inexpensively to turn a better profit. As a result, most of the most healthful plants stay off of our dinner plates because they aren’t available at grocery stores. Still, sustenance isn’t the only thing humans rely on plants for…

4. 70,000 plant species are utilized for medicine.

As it turns out, humans are more diversified in the plants we use for medicine. Although a large portion of that figure applies to traditional medicine, modern medicine is not excepted from plant help. Half of the drugs prescribed in the United States have plant origins, many coming out of the rainforest, yet…

5. Only 1 percent of rainforest plants have been studied for medicinal potential

Given how valuable plants can be medicinally, the rainforest houses a host of possible cures for ailments new and old. This untapped resource could still hold the key to medical breakthroughs. Of course, a lot of this potential could be lost considering…

6. 80 percent of the earths original forests have been cleared or destroyed.

The same forests that dominated the land 8,000 years ago are all but gone. Approximately four-fifths of the forests are gone thanks to human intervention — just think of how many plant species may have been lost in that process. If you thought protections were in place, actually…

7. Just 10 percent of the worlds plant-rich areas are protected.

Of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, only 10 percent are officially “protected” to ensure the survival of a multitude of species — plant and animal alike. Worse still, many of the supposedly protected areas are done so nominally only, leaving plants threatened by external factors they should be safeguarded from. This is especially problematic because…

8. More than half of plant species are native to just one country

Chances are, a plant you find in one part of the world is not currently growing anywhere else. As plant habitat is ruined, there’s little point in hoping that the killed plants could be found and harvested somewhere else in the future. For this reason…

9. 68 percent of plants are in danger of going extinct

While scientists have only examined a fraction of the existing known plant species, of those that have been studied, 68 percent face extinction in the not too distant future. Since plants can’t just up and move as their habitat is being destroyed, they are even more vulnerable than endangered animals. It’s happening quickly, too, since…

10. Plant species are going extinct — about 5,000x faster than they should.

Some will argue that species would go extinct even without human interference. While that’s certainly true, it’s the rate that plants are dying off that raises alarm. Thanks to climate change, deforestation and other human-influence factors, experts believe that species are going extinct somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times faster than they would naturally.

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210 comments

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11:57AM PDT on Jun 12, 2014

wow, this is really amazing! And very sad how all these plants are disappearing...

11:42AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Noted

11:41AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Noted

9:10AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

So amazing and depressing :(

3:32PM PST on Jan 8, 2014

I have a friend who is convinced climate change is a big hoax;after telling her about my $400.00 electric bill,in December,for AC cooling costs,and having her insist that our weather anomilies were actually declining(huh?)I realized that the Bible is right-"There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see!".The truth is so awful,and we've painted ourselves into such a corner with deforestation and burning fossil fuels that denial is extremely attractive to otherwise intelligent folks.These same folks also do not want to admit how fragile our food supply chain is- or acknowledge the ominous signs that massive bee die offs,droughts,and declining ocean and freshwater fish stocks indicate for our future food supplies.We need to keep our open pollinated heirloom seed crops around-for when the GMO crops wither and die because the defoliant -laced soil theyre grown in cant sustain them during droughts!

2:56AM PST on Jan 8, 2014

Thanks for this information.

5:54AM PST on Jan 7, 2014

thanks for the info

8:03AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

Amazing thank you for opening our eyes to this really important information. I especially like it cos I'm vegan. This just reminds me of the quote, " The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed."- Mahatma Gandhi.

9:32PM PST on Jan 5, 2014

WOW - TOO BAD - that we do not farm with more diversty

9:16PM PST on Jan 5, 2014

I agree that the information is excellent. It is shocking to those who don't know this for whatever reason besides being a climate change denier. We must keep on getting the information out there through all means possible. Thanks for making this succinct.

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