5 minutes

The world’s fastest-growing tree
The foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa) can grow as much as 30 cm in three weeks. Depending on the type, the tree can reach a height of up to 15 m. Native to Central and West China, this large species also produces 3-4 times more oxygen during photosynthesis than any other. Also called “Kiri” in Japan, it is a symbol of happiness and fertility. When a child is born, a Kiri tree is planted and a cradle is made from its wood a cradle is for when the child has grown and becomes a parent herself.

24 Hours to grow
Garden Cress sprouts in as little as 24 hours, and you can start snipping it with scissors in 10 days, when it’s an inch and a half tall. The vegetable can be grown easily both in pots and in the open ground. It’s cold-resistant, grows in practically any kind of soil, doesn’t require any particular treatment, and gives a touch of flavour to a wide variety of dishes.

Stripped Cork Trees at Portugal

Two hundred years old
Unanimously established as Portugal’s National Tree in 2011, the cork oak tree can reach up to 10 to 15 meters in height when adult and live for more than 200 years. In this country, one particular tree – known as the ‘Whistler Tree’, because of the many singing birds attracted to it – is said to be 212 years old. This is the only species capable of producing cork in a sustainable manner and with the highest quality. Portugal produces more than 50% of all the cork in the world.

the tali pot palm trees with green leaves and dried leaf stocks,blue sky background

Beauty takes time
The Corypha umbraculifera or “talipot palm” is a species of palm native to eastern and southern India and Sri Lanka. It grows up to 80 feet high and is monocarpic, flowering only once, when it is 30 to 80 years old. The bloom turns out to be bittersweet, since it means the palm’s life is coming to an end. The tree slowly dies after it flowers, because its immense florescence, followed by stupendous fruiting, drains it in its starch supply and life.

This ancient Chinese saying embodies something that Man finds hard to work on, particularly when it comes to work life: to respect the pace of time. People experience a cycle of life, and so do industries. Life cycle models are not just a phenomenon of life sciences. However, nature never ceases to find a way to amaze us all with the unexpected. An insect whose name is given after its lifespan. An ocean quahog whose shell sees a ring growing on it for each year of life. A palm tree which takes at least 30 years to flower. It is such a great spectacle of beauty and rarity.

Turritopsis dohrnii is also known as 'immortal jellyfish', the only known animal capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature stage after having reached sexual maturity, which renders the jellyfish biologically immortal.

The elixir of life
Only one animal is known to have the remarkable ability of defying death: Turritopsis dohrnii, a species of jellyfish, first discovered in the 1880’s in the Mediterranean Sea. Whenever it is injured or otherwise threatened, the so-called “immortal jellyfish” hit the reset button and revert to an earlier developmental stage. The process is referred to as “transdifferentiation”. The only known way they can die is if they get eaten by another fish or if a disease strikes the jelly.

Globe Trotting through oceans and rivers
Salmon have a lifespan of three to eight years. This “super fish” can live in both fresh water and salt water. They might travel thousands of miles over a lifetime, making an incredible upstream journey to spawn in the same places in which they were hatched. Only Kokanee salmon do not make this journey, as they live their whole lives in a freshwater stream or lake. After spawning, males and females die, and their decomposing carcasses providing nutrients that will nourish the ecosystem for the next generation.

Labord's chameleon of Madagascar

Most of its existence inside an egg
Labord’s chameleons (Furcifer labordi) are the shortest-lived land vertebrate in the world. These reptiles from the arid southwest of Madagascar spend the majority of their life (8–9 months) as a developing embryo and have a reported lifespan of 4–5 months during the annual rainy season in November. They reach sexual maturity at less than two months of age, and after mating, senescent decline becomes apparent. By the end of the rainy season in March, a population wide die-off of both sexes occurs.

Marathon pregnancy
Elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals. Their average gestation period is about 640 to 660 days and they usually carry one baby at a time. One reason for the length of gestation is the proper development of the elephant’s brain. Elephants are highly intelligent animals, and this intelligence allows them to feed themselves using their long trunks and to survive from the moment they are born. Female elephants live for 60 to 70 years but only have about four offspring throughout their lifetime.

As old as the Americas
Arctica Islandica is a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Arcticidae native to the North Atlantic Ocean. This species live in water between 25 and 1,300 feet deep and are known to live exceptionally long lives. For each year of the ocean quahog’s life, a new growth ring emerges on its shell. In 2006, a group of researchers went on an expedition to Iceland and discovered a 507-year-old clam. After its death, the mollusc was given the name Ming, after the Chinese Ming dynasty, which was in power when the animal was born.

Live fast, die young
The shortest adult reproductive life belongs to the female of the mayfly Dolania Americana. After spending a year or more stream in its aquatic nymph form, it emerges as a flying adult, and lives for less than five minutes. That is why scientists have named this group of insects the Ephemeroptera (Latin for “short-lived flyer.”) The mayfly finds a mate, copulate, and lay its eggs back into the water. Despite being short-lived as adults, they play a crucial role in the health of streams and lakes, serving as food for fish.