As we start this special exploration of botany, the study of plants, we have to begin with a fundamental question: what is a plant? Is it just a stationary, motionless thing that survives by photosynthesis? Or something else?
Sometimes it seems easy enough to distinguish plants from other kingdoms of life, but looks can be deceiving and labels can constrict.
- Not all life that’s “rooted to the spot” is a plant. Most fungi and coral reefs can look plant-like, but fungi aren’t plants, and corals are colonies of tiny animals. (Another fun fact: it’s likely that fungi and animals are more closely related to each other than to plants!)
- Not all plants are completely motionless. Ever seen a Venus flytrap? Its “mouths” will close on flies and other bugs that crawl into them.
- In fact, not even all plants photosynthesize! While most plants do contain chlorophyll, that vital ingredient for extracting energy from sunlight, there are achlorophyllous plants that live parasitically on other plants and fungi. They generally don’t have leaves or look very green, but they might sometimes have flowers, such as Rafflesia arnoldii: a giant “corpse flower” that smells nasty when it blooms and meanwhile pulls nutrients from certain rainforest vines.
Nowadays, botanists and taxonomists tend to give us the following guidelines: plants are multicellular, their cells have rigid cellulose walls, and usually they photosynthesize. This should be a good working definition, but let’s also remember that not all scientists can agree on whether to count some or all types of algae. Ironically, accurate classification can never be completely accurate.
But with approximated accuracy in mind, this is a great chance to test your accuracy on Eyewire, with Accuracy Happy Hours! All times are EDT:
Session 1 – 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on 5/21
Session 2 – 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on 5/22
Session 3 – 10:00 PM to midnight on 5/22
HQ will bestow typical Happy Hour bonuses for your work during each of those time frames, but there’s more than that to earn! Check your in-game notifications to see the full accuracy bonus breakdown.
Swag (generously sponsored by @susi): Most accurate player completing at least 20 cubes wins their choice of a mug or notebook, plus their choice of a sticker or magnet! Second and third place may each also choose between sticker or magnet.
Mentors: You are still allowed to mentor people during these time windows. Please just use your best judgment as to whether someone is asking you for basic newbie help vs. trying to have you boost their accuracy on cube after cube.
Scythes: Please avoid scything during these time windows. Even though accuracy for this will be retroactively calculated, we would prefer to go with accuracy based on players’ raw tracing. By the time this challenge is scored, don’t worry, admins will have corrected consensus as needed.
Flower image by Zachi Evenor