On tulips, daffodils and falling meteorites

On tulips, daffodils and falling meteorites

When we hear about meteorites and asteroids, we often think of faraway places and exotic settings. But these space fragments can land anywhere at any time. Of course, the majority of the earth’s surface is covered in water, so most of these fragments never hit land.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, meteorites are fragments of comets or asteroids that have reached the ground intact. That’s amazing stuff — the fragments we find on the ground have arrived here from the solar system.

ODNR said meteorites fall into one of three types:

—Stony meteorites (rich in silicate minerals).

—Iron meteorites (enriched with natural iron alloyed with nickel).

—Stony-iron meteorites (mixtures of the two types mentioned previously).

Ohio has 14 confirmed meteorites. Meteorites are defined as a fall or a find. A fall is a meteorite observed falling through the atmosphere just prior to being discovered. A find, as you might guess, is a meteorite that was not observed falling to the ground but instead was found on the ground sometime after landing.

Wayne County is listed as having a meteor with a mass of 22.5 kg land in 1858. It was classified as an iron meteorite. According to ODNR, the Wayne location is one of Ohio’s northernmost sites and is one of very few found in the eastern half of the state. A small segment of the meteorite is in the Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University.

Tulips and daffodils

There are few symbols of spring as welcoming as tulips. Although we only see a few types each spring, there are over 150 species of tulips with over 3,000 varieties. They are a part of the lily family and have flower buds that are almost perfectly symmetrical.

The beautiful tulip also is related to onions, garlic and asparagus. All these plants are part of the Liliaceae family of plants.

The name tulip comes from the shape of the flower, which supposedly is related to a Persian word that means turban. It is said the people of Turkey decorated their turbans using a tulip stem.

According to flowerbulbs.com, tulip production is centered in the Netherlands, which exports almost 2.5 billion tulip bulbs to other countries every year. Although they export 8,000 varieties, there are just 23 varieties that make up 40% of the tulip production. The Teleflora Blog said at one point in Holland’s history, tulips were its biggest export, behind cheese, gin and herring.

How times change. At one time in history, tulips were extremely expensive flowers. In the 1600s tulips were more valuable than most people’s homes and cost more than 10 times what an average individual earned in a year.

Daffodils also are a sure sign spring has arrived. Although their blossoms appear delicate, daffodils are very tolerant of cold weather. According to the Daffodil Data Bank, there are at least 25 different species of daffodils and over 13,000 hybrids.

Although they are beautiful, daffodils contain sap that is poisonous to other plants. If you plan to put some stems in a vase with other flowers, it’s a good idea to soak the stems in water for 24 hours to remove the sap. Squirrels won’t eat daffodils because of the poisonous sap, and dogs should be kept away from the plants.

Daffodils also have their share of nature folklore. For example, a bouquet of daffodils is said to ensure happiness for the lucky recipient. However, a gift of only one daffodil means bad luck may be coming soon.

The in-between season

This is a great time to explore our local parks to watch the rebirth of our woods and fields. It’s a powerful experience to see the “lifeless” forest floor slowly reveal the variety of plants that have been patiently waiting for warmer days and more direct rays of the sun. We are so fortunate to have several parks with paved trails so access to nature is possible for everyone, not just traditional hikers.

Don’t wait for a block of time to open in your already over packed schedule. Just view a nature walk as a necessary productivity enhancer and add time in the outdoors to your busy calendar. Spending a little time to recharge in nature is never time wasted.

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