"Bringing Hope through Torah" ATIME Shas-a-Thon 5776

Past Articles:
THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: BOTANY



How can plants deep in the ocean grow without sunlight?

The uppermost layer of the world's oceansis bathed in sunlight during the daytime. This layer is called the euphotic zone, also known as the photic zone or the sunlight zone. The euphotic zone is the depth of the water in the ocean that is exposed to enough sunlight for photosynthesis to take place. It extends from the surface of the water down to a depth at which light intensity drops to one percent of what it is at the surface; this is called the euphotic depth.

Ninety percent of ocean life lives in the euphotic zone, including all the ocean plants. Below this zone, there isn’t enough sunlight for photosynthesis, so plants can’t grow.

Do all plants grow from the ground?

There are plants that are sometimes referred to as “air plants” because they do not root in soil. These plants are called epiphytes. The term epiphytic derives from the Ancient Greek word epi, meaning “upon,” and phyton, meaning “plant.” Epiphytes grow upon or attached to a living plant, often high up in rainforest trees where there is more light compared to the lower levels of the rainforest. These plants also grow in cool, damp woodlands. 

Epiphytes use the host plant for support, but produce their own energy from photosynthesis. They obtain moisture and nutrients from the air or from other sources, such as rainfall and cloud moisture.

Are all plants safe to eat?

No! There are thousands of plants worldwide that are poisonous. Some plants are toxic to eat, while some are toxic to touch, and then there are others that create allergic reactions through the air with their pollen.

Oleander, water hemlock, and rosary peas are all beautiful plants, but don’t let their attractive colors fool you.  They are the most dangerous plants in the world. Eating any of them can cause a person to become very sick and can be fatal.

Many berry plants contain cyanide. Never eat berries from plants or trees before checking with an adult who is familiar with the types of berries that may be poisonous.

Excerpts from “Exploring the Wisdom & Wonders of the Universe with Professor Noe Ital, by Efraim Harari, published by Israel Bookshop Publications. Available for purchase online and at all fine Judaica stores.

Question of the Month:

This month’s question was submitted by Linda of Brooklyn, NY.

Q: Dear Professor, How does a cactus survive in the desert with so little water?

A: Cacti (plural for cactus) are plants that grow very well in dry places, as they are good at making their water last a long time. Using their long roots, cacti gather water easily when it’s available. They then store the water in their trunks and branches.