I got this crazy idea in biology class the other day. See, if we could only find a way to alter the path of photosynthesis in certain plants, we could cause them to stop producing glucose and only get to the stage where the electrons are excited and energy is produced. From this, there would probably be an easy way to convert this energy to light and make a handy dandy plant lamp. Of course, the plant would die from lack of glucose and it would be incredibly unethical, but it's more fun than watching it grow!

Anyone else have any crazy ideas?

Thanks to the miracles of genetic engineering, one day vegetables may very well give off light of their own. At this very moment, post-doctoral students at the University of Hertfordshire are attempting to cross the pine tree with genes from fireflies or fluorescent jellyfish to get a self-illuminating Christmas tree (just like the one Jesus had!). It would be a small step (I would imagine) to use the same technique on cucumbers or eggplant.

Of course, whether or not this is a good thing is entirely a matter of opinion.

This was already done with tobacco plants and firefly genes a few years ago. Apparently, the light was too faint to read by. I tried to find out where I could obtain seeds for this plant once, but didn't have any luck. Of course, if you want to have glowing vegetables right now, in your own home, just run an electric current through a pickle and it will glow nicely.

Who would want a plant to glow when it could burn?
By twiddling around with genetic structures, cellular metabolism could be altered to synthesize ethanol from basic sugars. By careful distillation of the finished product (possibly by ethanol vaporization in leaves) the plant could surround itself with a 200 proof alcoholic haze. Animals then wander in, get DT's and die, fertilizing the plant. Almost as good as my design for the exploding turnip or the Russian Vodka Potato.
Although there are no plants that have been documented combusting on their own, there are indeed plants which use fire as a weapon to weed out competitors. These plants are quite flammable, and when conditions are right, a fire will rage through the ecosystem, burning everything to the ground, or at least roasting the plants back to the main stems. Although all plants are scorched, the flammable plants are adapted to fire and spring back into action, sometimes within days. They outcompete neighboring plants, and even 'feed' on their nutrients after the fire. Nature is brutal.

Examples of this phenomenom are found in Chaparral environments of California, closed-cone pines such as Knobcone Pine which release seed immediately after fires, and Euchalyptus forests in Australia which can resprout from the trunk after a fire.

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