Jack and The Beanstalk – What is the species of that beanstalk?


“Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman”

Fairyology Episode 7


Hello and welcome to the first of four fairy fridays! Today we’re taking on the fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Lets first take a little run through this little tale! Once upon a time there was a woman and her son Jack. They lived on a small farm but were struggling with money. So the woman told her son to go and sell the cow they had. Instead he returns with three magic beans. Jacks mother was not best pleased about the sale. Jack planted a bean and went to sleep. The next day there was a giant beanstalk. Jack then climbed up the beanstalk to find a giants castle filled with gold, but it also had a white hen (that laid golden eggs) and a harp. Jack took the white hen and harp home as well as all the gold he could carry. His mother was ecstatic but then the giant came calling. Jack quickly chopped down the beanstalk and the giant fell and died! Then Jack his mother, the hen and the harp lived happily ever after (1).

So the beanstalk appeared overnight and it grew right into the heavens. Although I know of no plant to grow overnight there are some very speedy plants. So what could the beanstalk be? Well I have a couple of theories!

Theory 1: Bamboo

I’ve written before about the wonders of bamboo which you can check out here. One of its features is that bamboo is incredibly fast growing! It can grown up to 5 foot a year. Its also an incredibly strong plant  that would allow the perfect climbing frame for Jack to climb up (2).

Theory 2: Mile a minute Vine

As the name suggests this plant grows really fast. Otherwise known as Polygonum baldshuanicum can grow up to 13 feet in a year! The only issue is that it can be a little flimsy but this does make it believable for Jack to be able to cut it down quickly!

Theory 3: Royal Empress Tree

I had to include one tree and this one grows incredibly fast. It can grow up to 80 ft tall and has massive leaves which would be perfect stepping stones for Jack.(4)

Let me know what you think the beanstalk was on my twitter and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!





(1) = http://www.dltk-teach.com/rhymes/beanstalk/story.htm

(2) =http://www.bamboogarden.com/FAQ%20general.htm

(3) = http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/313.shtml

(4) = https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=1388

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