Stones and plants

Look at the photograph on this page: what is it - petrified plants, stones, or moss grown on a stone plate?

Look at the photograph on this page: what is it - petrified plants, stones, or moss grown on a stone plate

One photograph shows a branched snow-white mass of delicate plexuses of thin stems that twist and intertwine into a fragile building.

This formation grew on dark iron ore in the Ore Mountains of the Czech Republic, and it is called: "iron flowers". Such flowers sometimes reach a volume of several cubic meters.

No matter how fabulously beautiful these buildings are, they have nothing to do with plants, and it grows from aqueous solutions in iron mines.

Due to their resemblance to a plant, these formations are called dendrites - "trees", and they can often be found when cracking layered rocks. Pricking - and suddenly, between the two layers, a very delicate pattern of tender twigs - yellow, red or black. Often they come in several tones at the same time, obviously as if growing from one root or from any one vein.

This very special growth of minerals occurs either in very thin cracks between the two layers of the rock, or in a not yet completely petrified medium of a jelly-like substance, into which glandular solutions suddenly fall. Some scientists managed to grow such a "plant" in the laboratory with remarkable skill by placing drops of foreign solutions in gelatin or glue. You and I can observe something similar, dripping milk on the surface of half-frozen jelly.

In the famous "moss agates" of India, such branches of green, brown and red substances form entire complex and intricate forests, thickets of grass, bushes, trees, similar to bizarre thickets of the seabed. Now we know that they were formed because the agate substance once, when the molten lavas of India solidified, represented a jelly-like mass in which these dendrites grew.

How often these formations were recognized for once existing plants! How many erroneous conclusions were made even by large scientists, and only recently, when exact experiments repeated these formations in the laboratory, their correct explanation triumphed.

Of course, this does not mean that there are no real petrified plants - trees, leaves, roots or fruits. In a whole series of cases, we are dealing really with once-existing plant organisms. Their substance was gradually and slowly replaced by mineral solutions. This process went very slowly and sometimes so carefully and so subtly that under the microscope you can even see the structural details of those tiny cells from which the living plant was built.

We know whole petrified forests of trees, completely transformed into agate, chalcedony or flint. Very often there are whole petrified trees from which you can make beautiful and valuable gizmos - cutting knives, ashtrays, boxes, vases.

Stone and plant are much more closely intertwined in our lives than we think, and many more mysteries lurk in the world of stone – where the boundaries between living and inanimate nature are erased, where everything lives its own special life.