Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Fun with spores
Lycopodium is actually a type of club moss - which, as you may remember, is not a moss at all but a group of the seedless tracheophytes. Their very fine spores have been used for many purposes including early flash photography and as a fuel source in the first internal; combustion engine! When mixed with air, the spores are highly flammable because of their high fat content and their large surface area per unit of volume — a single spore's diameter is about 33 micrometers requiring about 30 laid side by side to span a millimeter and so 30x30x30=27,000 could be packed into a single cubic millimeter!