Gardeners and Nature lovers already appreciate the botanical wonders around us, but plants are more than floral beauties. We owe the air we breathe to them, all of our food, and most of our medicine, chemicals and housing. Animals from elephants to ants depend on plant-life. And the world's flora has an equally intimate relationship with the birds, insects, mammals and humans around them. Explore these relationships and find the latest botany discoveries through the links below. Check out the categories in the menu or try the search using the magnifying glass above.
0213001849

Plants Repel Ants Except When Ants Are Advantageous

The study validates the pollinator protection hypothesis and the nectar protection hypothesis. Depending on the ecological context, ant repellents can function as direct or indirect exploitation barriers. As direct barriers, ant repellents can prevent ants from removing nectar without effecting pollination. As indirect barriers, ants chase small ineffective pollinators away when flowers are pollinated by large bees, the absence of repellents or even with the presence or ant attractants. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

If You Live On Mars, Get Used To GMO Plants

Unlike the Earth situation, controversy does not surround the question of whether the highly concentrated perchlorate in the Mars dirt would be a health issue for humans. It certain would be, and that’s one reason why biotechnology will be key to Martian colonies. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

One Chili To Bind Them: All Chillies Share A Common Ancestor

They have myriad shapes, flavors, colors and levels of spiciness, but all American chilies, chili peppers and bell peppers emerged from a single species that later led to three lineages. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Loss Of Forests Imperils A Nation

For years, wood charcoal burners had been destroying this forest, the catchment basin for the Lilongwe River, the source of the capital’s water. Fewer trees mean the ground is less able to absorb water in the rainy season and gradually surrender it the rest of the year. With the supply reaching the capital dwindling and increasingly turbid, and with the El Niño drought spreading across Malawi and the rest of southern Africa, the capital was under imminent threat. (Click on title for full story.)

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Increasing Urbanization In Tropics Affects Butterflies And Forests In Complex Ways

Most tropical butterflies feed on a variety of flower types, but those that are ‘picky’ about their flower diets tend to prefer native plants and are more dependent on forests. These ‘picky’ butterflies also have wings that are more conspicuous and shorter proboscis. The reduction in native plants due to urbanisation affects the diet of such butterflies, and researchers suggest that intervention may be needed to manage their preferred flower resources. (Click on title for full story.)

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A Moss Made All This Possible

Scientists have identified the creature that gave the Earth its first breath of fresh, clean air and made life possible for everything ranging from ardvaarks to Olympic athletes and zebra finches. It was a moss. (Click on title for full story.)

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Could This Frightening Nettle Take Your Pain Away?

What particularly got Buenz’s scientific senses tingling in the bush was not the sting from the poisonous spines of the ongaonga but the numbing aftermath. It’s not common to get such an effect on the nervous system from a substance that is only applied to the skin. (Click on title for full story.)

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The Saffron In Your Dinner Could Be Redeeming Afghan Opium Farmers

Bomb-blasted roads, frequent blackouts, shortages of basic equipment and an untested consumer market are hardly conditions that make for natural entrepreneurial opportunities. But three Army veterans and one civilian who all served in Afghanistan have taken on those challenges in their new venture. Their company, Rumi Spice, buys saffron from Afghan farmers and sells it to international customers. (Click on title for full story.)

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Tomato Virus Reprograms Plants To Bring In The Pollinators

The extra pollination that comes with virus infection could increase the fitness of susceptible plants and help explain why these virus-susceptibility genes persist in tomato populations, the researchers proposed. (Click on title for full story.)

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It Takes A Community. Some Plant Species Do Not Adapt To New Neighbors

If plants evolved to elevated carbon dioxide in one neighbourhood, then experienced elevated carbon dioxide in a different neighbourhood, the benefits disappeared. This result was very surprising to us. (Click on title for full story.)