Vocablet of the Day: Fleeting

When you see a tree in bloom, what do you think about?  Springtime?  Warm weather?  Or the brief and ephemeral nature of life?

Study ‘fleeting‘ NOW in VocabNetwork’s Timing is Everything studylist.

Youth, beauty, springtime, even life itself — all of them lasting for a very short time in the grand scheme of the world.

Cherry blossoms are celebrated around the world for their incredible beauty during the brief period in spring when they bloom into gorgeous pink flowers.  In Japan, the fact that the blossoms appear for such a fleeting amount of time adds to their beauty and meaning, reminding us that nothing in life is permanent.

Have you ever seen a group of cherry trees in bloom?  What does the fleeting nature of beauty mean to you?

Study ‘fleeting‘!
Add the fleeting-Cherry Trees Vocablet to a studylist of your own, or get started right now with VocabNetwork’s Timing is Everything studylist.

Vocablet of the Day: Miniaturized

Do you like houseplants?  What about house-trees?  This miniaturized version provides a bit of beauty, as well as encouraging contemplation.

Study ‘miniaturized‘ in VocabNetwork’s FREE studylist, Tiny Things.

If you’ve ever had a dollhouse, built model airplanes, or played with toy cars as a kid, then you know that things made on a smaller or tiny scale can be hours of delicate work and entertainment.

The Japanese art of Bonsai trees involves taking careful care of these delicate, miniaturized trees, cutting them back so they grow into specific shapes.  They require a lot of attention, but the benefits are a calmer mind and a piece of beautiful, living artwork.

Have you ever tried to care for a Bonsai tree?  Are you interested in any other types of miniaturized things, like model trains or ceramic figurines?

Study ‘miniaturized‘!
Add the miniaturized-Bonsai Vocablet to a studylist of your own, or start learning right away with this and other stories in VN’s Tiny Things studylist.

Vocablet of the Day: Herald

The Earth is always moving, always changing, and people look to the cycle of the seasons to know what’s coming next.

Get to studying ‘herald‘ NOW in VN’s Weird Weather studylist.

The leaves change color and fall off the trees to herald the coming of colder days.

Not every place in the world has distinct seasons.  But for those that do, people look out for the characteristic changes, like shorter days or colder temperatures, that signal the coming of the next season.

It’s autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the changing colors of the leaves on the trees are a sign that winter is coming.  Next year, many will eagerly await the flowers and new growth that herald the beginning of spring.

Even without seasons, there are signals that herald the next stage of the year, like holidays or changing patterns of stars in the sky.  What kinds of signs herald changes where you live?

Study ‘herald‘!
Add the herald-Fall Colors Vocablet to a studylist of your own, or study it right away in VocabNetwork’s Weird Weather studylist.

Vocablet of the Day: Teem

Life on Earth can thrive in the most surprising places, including on glaciers.

Study ‘teem‘ now in VocabNetwork’s Active Life studylist.

These huge ice sheets look barren, but they're overflowing with life.

The smooth, white appearance of glaciers can make them seem completely lifeless, but look closer and you’ll find they become filled to overflowing with life.

Even in the harshest conditions on the planet, you can find places that teem with life.  Glaciers, huge sheets of ice near the north and south poles, have tiny ecosystems made of balls of moss that reveal these frozen landscapes to be teeming with life.

The teem-Glacier Mice Vocablet highlights one of the extreme environments on Earth that still manages to support life.

What other places on Earth look lifeless, but actually teem with microbes or other tiny organisms?

Study ‘teem‘!
Add the teem-Glacier Mice Vocablet to a studylist, or study now in VocabNetwork’s Active Life studylist.

Awesome Plants

Plants are amazing!

Great Banyan Tree, Calcutta Botanical Gardens

This is one tree. It is over 210 years old and has a circumference of over 1/2km.  From a distance, it has the semblance of a forest, but what appear to be individual trees are actually aerial (growing above ground) roots — around 2,800 of them!


Many plants are more than meets the eye. The Awesome Plants studylist on  vocabnetwork.com includes flora with special tricks up their sleeves — er, stems.

 

These glowing mushrooms are like a black light poster come to life.  As darkness falls, a soft green glow emanates from the bioluminescent (naturally producing light) fungi.

 

 

Popularly known as a pitcher plant or monkey cup, this one is carnivorous (able to trap and digest small animals). Ants, other insects, spiders, scorpions, and centipedes are at the top of its menu.

 

 

The Rafflesia is a parasite with a bloom over 3 feet (1 meter) across! For all its beauty, it reeks (smells bad) like rotting meat to attract insects such as flies for pollination.

 


Plants are all around, forming the base of the food chain and filling our atmosphere with the oxygen we breathe.  Do we notice them?  Here are a couple that would be hard to miss.

A tribe in India figured out a unique method of building bridges — they grew them!  Part of the incredibly strong root system of the Indian Rubber plant is trained to go across and down. This takes 10-15 years. The bridges flourish (are strong and healthy) and actually get stronger as time goes on.  Some are 500 years old!

 These bizarre trees can only be found on the island of Socotra, located just east of the Horn of Africa.  Being so isolated, fully one-third of its plants are endemic (native and confined to the region).  With such unusual flora decorating the landscape, it’s no wonder Socotra has been called the most alien place on Earth.

 


Ready to study the above vocabulary in the Awesome Plants studylist?

Want to check out vocab words in more snippets about weird and wonderful plants?
The images below are in our Awesome Plants2 studylist.

 

 

 

 

 

Come visit vocabnetwork.com.  Log In, sign up (the whole site is free during our beta), or click the orange “Try out the site now” button.  To see a lot more vocab words as they appear in plants-related articles/media, go to the red Vocab tab on the page header and select Nature then Plants.

What are the plants like where you live?  Post a comment and we’ll make a Vocablet out of the “story” you submit.

Studylist of the Week: Natural Remedies

Chicken soup, vitamin C, gargling with salt water, herbal teas, heating pads…

Most of us know at least a few non-pharmaceutical ways to feel better when we’re sick or hurting.  VocabNetwork’s Natural Remedies studylist showcases some of the more unusual ways that nature can treat what ails us.

 

Human beings have known for millennia about the psychedelic properties of magic mushrooms, using them for ritual and recreation.

Now, research has found that these “shrooms” can alleviate (make more bearable) pain in cancer patients.  Some even say they lose their fear of death after the experience!

 

Medicine from shark tissue?  Believe it!  Scientists have discovered a compound in sharks called squalamine that works as a potent antiviral.

The efficacy (ability to produce the intended result) of the compound of fighting chronic infections is remarkable, and could prove useful in many hospitals.

 

Cockroaches are usually thought to spread disease not fend  it off (defend somebody or something from harm).

However, newly-discovered chemicals in the brains of cockroaches have been found to kill E. Coli and even MRSA (a strain of staph infection resistant to antibiotics).

 

 

One potential remedy known for its surprising antibacterial properties is Manuka honey from New Zealand.

Ancient cultures saw it as a kind of panacea (hypothetical remedy for all ills and diseases) due to its ability to treat a variety of ailments, from colds and flus to wounds and rashes.

 

Would you be open to an unusual type of treatment, like magic mushrooms, if you had terminal cancer?  What kinds of natural remedies do you use?

Vocablet of the Day: Belie

Today’s Vocablet features a tricky type of flower with a secret that will reveal itself if you get close enough.

The belie (Starfish Flower) Vocablet is about a huge type of flower from Africa whose appearance disguises its true nature — it is amazingly beautiful but smells like rotting flesh.  Why in the world would they have such an awful stench?  Well, these flowers, also called “carrion flowers”, are pollinated by flies who love to feed on decaying matter — that’s why they’re always buzzing around the dumpster — so they’re attracted to the flower’s smell.

Check out the sensation these flowers are making at the University of Washington in Seattle, where scientists are using the giant, smelly plant that belies what people think they know about flowers as an educational tool.  Now that’s one biology lesson that’s sure to put you off your lunch!

Related Words: negate, refute

Is this belie (Starfish Flower) Vocablet in your collection?
Check it out in VocabNetwork’s Nature’s Beauty studylist.

Do you have a story or anecdote about ‘belie’?  Share it in the comments!