The world’s largest living plant is bigger than Brooklyn


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When Australian researchers went to find out how much genetic diversity was contained in the seagrass meadows of Shark Bay, a World Heritage Area in Western Australia, they were in for a surprise.


The team from The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Flinders University took seagrass shoots covering the range of conditions present in the bay in order to determine how many plants were present and which ones should be used for restoration.


“The answer blew us away – there was just one!” UWA student researcher and lead author Jane Edgeloe said in a UWA press release. “That’s it, just one plant has expanded over 180km in Shark Bay, making it the largest known plant on earth.”

It turns out that entire meadows in the bay are made up of clones of Poseidon’s ribbon weed (Posidonia australis), the researchers wrote in the study, “Extensive polyploid clonality was a successful strategy for seagrass to expand into a newly submerged environment,” published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B Wednesday.


“The existing 200km2 of ribbon weed meadows appear to have expanded from a single, colonising seedling,” Edgeloe said in the press release.



At more than 112 miles, the plant stretches about the distance between Los Angeles and San Diego, CNN reported. Its area, of around 77 square miles or 49,000 acres, is larger than Brooklyn’s. It’s also larger than the previous largest plant in the world–the cloned Pando quaking Aspen trees in Utah that cover 106 acres.


In addition to its size, the plant is also impressively old. The researchers calculated its age by working backwards from the fact that ribbon weed rhizomes grow as much as 35 centimeters (approximately 14 inches) per year, according to The Guardian. Therefore, the plant would need to be at least 4,500 years old given its size. The meadows now supports marine life like fish, dolphins, crabs, dugongs and turtles.

The plant is well adapted to the varying conditions in the bay, in part because of a unique feature, according to the press release. It is a polyploid plant, meaning that it received all of the chromosomes from both parent plants instead of just half from each.


“Polyploid plants often reside in places with extreme environmental conditions, are often sterile, but can continue to grow if left undisturbed, and this giant seagrass has done just that,” study senior author and UWA evolutionary biologist Dr. Elizabeth Sinclair said in the press release. “Even without successful flowering and seed production, it appears to be really resilient, experiencing a wide range of temperatures and salinities plus extreme high light conditions, which together would typically be highly stressful for most plants.”


The scientists are now conducting experiments in the bay to learn more about how the plant can do so in an extreme environment despite its lack of new genetic input over time.


“Plants that don’t have sex tend to also have reduced genetic diversity, which they normally need when dealing with environmental change,” study author and Finders University ecologist Dr. Martin Breed told The Guardian.

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12 green brands that plant a tree for every purchase


Around 80,000 acres of forests disappear every day, according to One Tree Planted, a nonprofit organization dedicated to global reforestation. But fortunately, we all have the power to make our money a vehicle to influence positive change. That’s why we compiled a list of businesses that plant trees with every purchase — so you can give back to the planet without ever picking up a shovel.


These three banks and fintech companies are fueling a positive change by planting trees based on your spending habits and membership.


Aspiration, an online-only fintech company with a debit card that plants trees when you swipe, is on track to plant over 3 million trees this year. Backed by celebrity environmental activists Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom, Aspiration has raised $200 million in funding to put its customers — and the planet — first.

Its “Plant Your Change” program launched in April 2020, giving users the option to round up their debit purchases to the nearest dollar. In turn, Aspiration commits to planting one carbon-soaking tree for each purchase you roundup. Plus, you’ll earn cash rewards as you hit tree-planting milestones.

Aspiration also offers sustainable investments and no-fee individual retirement accounts.

But what sets this brand apart is its fees — or lack of. You decide how much you want to pay for its basic plan. And for unavoidable third-party fees, Aspiration will only charge you what it costs them and not a penny more.


Flagship Bank plants a tree for every member that signs up for electronic statements. This initiative reduces paper by eliminating mailing statements and partners with Tree Trust, an environmental and social outreach organization that plants trees locally in Minnesota.

You’ll need to sign up for a personal or business bank account and switch to e-statements to participate in its tree-planting program.


TreeCard is a free debit card that helps reforest the planet with every payment you make. It takes 80% of the interchange fee that merchants pay TreeCard to accept card payments and puts it toward tree-planting projects. Every $60 you spend plants a tree.

You can track your spending with the TreeCard app and get a rad wooden debit card made from sustainably-sourced cherry wood and recycled plastic bottles.


See the world, but minimize your carbon footprint with these three travel initiatives.


App in the Air is your personal travel assistant that helps you plan, book and manage your trips in one centralized app. You’ll get real-time notifications, automatic check-in and even a cool built-in augmented-reality baggage scanner to check your luggage size.

And it’ll plant a tree for every flight you book through the app to help offset your flight’s carbon emissions.


Treebanks is an organization dedicated to fighting pollution and CO2 emissions. For every booking you make through its affiliate partner links with, and Agoda, Treebanks will plant a tree for free.

It’ll also plant a tree for each newsletter subscription or Treebanks T-shirt you purchase.


AndrewKPepper / WikiMedia Commons


Hopper is a travel-booking app that helps you get the best prices for flights and hotels. It predicts if prices will go up or down and boasts a 95% accuracy. You can book your trip right away or watch and wait to jump on a better price.

You can save money and help offset carbon dioxide emissions when you shop through the Hopper app. It’s Hopper Trees program will donate funds to plant four trees for each flight and two trees for each hotel room sold.




Here are three places where you can shop and help the planet.



metamorworks / istockphoto


Woodchuck USA sells a variety of wood products that you can also customize with text and graphics. You’ll find wood stationery, smartphone cases and even wood pocket squares on its website.

This socially conscious brand is also dedicated to global reforestation. So it’ll plant one tree for every product that it sells. So far, it has planted millions of trees on six different continents.


WeWood creates eco-friendly wooden analog watches and sunglasses. Born in Italy, this brand continues to produce fashionable and unique watches from reclaimed and recycled wood materials. And it’ll plant a tree for every wood watch you purchase.





Baronfig celebrates the tactile experience of writing with good ol’ pen and paper. This brand is the defender of ideas by giving you the tools to jot, scribble and doodle whatever is on your mind.

Its notebooks are called Confidants because they house your innermost creative thoughts. For every Confidant notebook you buy, Baronfig donates the cost to its partners to plant a tree.




These three insurance companies will plant trees for every new client who joins their firm or for those who switch to paperless statements.


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Powers Insurance offers many lines of insurance coverage, from personal insurance, including life and auto, to green energy coverage. It’s one of the largest family-owned agencies in St. Louis and promises to plant a tree for every new client that joins its company.



SolisImages / istockphoto


Prosper Insurance wants you to feel good about your insurance. You tell them what kind of policy you want, and its highly trained team will pitch your profile to its network of insurance companies, including Safeco Insurance and Progressive. Its network of providers bid on the policy, which gives you a competitive rate.

If you find the right fit and take out a policy, Prosper Insurance will plant a tree on your behalf.




Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) is a national insurance carrier that caters to commercial insurance products, including commercial auto and professional liability. PHLY partners with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees for every independent agent, broker and policyholder that switches to paperless statements.

PHLY takes the cost savings from going paperless and funds the planting of 80,000 trees each year. For some context of the impact you can have, PHLY will plant 15 trees for each new customer who enrolls in electronic billing.


Having more trees helps people and the Earth as a whole. Here are a few key benefits of reforestation you’ll be contributing to:

  • Fights climate change: Trees absorb harmful carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the air.
  • Cleans the air and water: Trees also absorb pollutants to help you breathe easier and forested watersheds create clean drinking water to more than 180 million Americans, according to a 2013 report from the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Supports wildlife: Trees provide shelter, food and nesting sites for birds and other little critters.
  • Prevents soil erosion: Trees help manage rainwater runoff by absorbing rain and holding soil in place.
  • Improves your mental and physical health: Seeing trees in cities has been proven to boost your mood, reduce stress and even speed up healing in hospital patients. In fact trees save an average of eight lives per year in New York City, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
  • Reduces crime: There’s been a report of less vandalism and littering in areas with more trees, according to a report by the University of Washington.
  • Increases property values: In Oregon and Georgia, properties with trees sold at higher prices than those without, according to a 2008 study by the U.S. Forest Service.


Михаил Руденко/ istockphoto


<div class=”rich-text”><p class=”wordpressEditorContent”></p><p>You can support positive environmental change and plant trees worldwide just by being selective about where you spend your money. And you don’t need to compromise on service or quality when you shop. <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Compare more environmentally-friendly banks</a> and branch out today.</p><p class=”block-paragraph”></p><p class=”rich-text”></p><p><i>This article originally appeared on <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a> and was syndicated by <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>.</i></p><p><i><br/></i></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p class=”wufoo-feedback”></p><p class=”msg-box-icon” id=”wufoo-feedback-box”></p><p class=”wufoo-feedback-start”></p><p></p><p></p></div>
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Featured Image Credit: Rachel Austin.