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    One of the many record-breaking facts discussed at a recent campus event is that four of the smallest plants in the world, called wolffia, can fit into the eye of one sewing needle.

    The Botanical Record Breakers lecture was held on Feb. 1 in room NS-139, and about 20 people attended. Friends of the Arboretum is a community group dedicated to making sure Palomar College’s Arboretum is beautiful and thriving.

    Botanical Consultant for Friends of the Arboretum Wayne Armstrong spoke about the largest, smallest, oldest and rarest plants in the world. Armstrong is the editor of the Friends of the Arboretum newsletter.

    Interim Grounds Services Supervisor Antonio Rangel said via email, “The purpose of this lecture is to enrich the lives of the attendees by educating them on the strange, wonderful, beautiful diversity of plants.”

    Armstrong started the lecture by passing out pamphlets and introducing his website,, which he said contains extensive research on a variety of plants and insects.

    The lecture opened up to a discussion with audience members speaking frequently and sharing their experiences with some of the rare or old plants.

    Armstrong taught botany at Palomar College for almost 40 years and noted how many botany related courses Palomar College used to offer, from vegetable growing to plant chemistry. He also mentioned how great the Internet is for organizing research material.

    “There aren’t that many community colleges in the entire state that have anything like this,” he said. “We offer these lectures so people can still get excited and interested in these topics.”

    Rangel attended the lecture and spoke briefly on the new development project for the arboretum. Proposition M was passed in 2006, and instated a new budget of $694 million for the maintenance of Palomar’s campus.

    He said $5 million from this proposition will go toward new paved trails with wheelchair access and maintenance for the plants.

    20-year-old journalism student Roberto Reyes said, “It’s interesting to learn how controversial everything is. New studies come out all the time with new information and nothing is set in stone.”

    Friends of the Arboretum is currently accepting applications for new members. Individual membership for one year is $25, and a lifetime membership is $500. For additional information about Arboretum events and membership details for Friends of the Arboretum, visit


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    Large or small, Palomar hosts them all