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.
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U.S. Forests Being Stripped For European Wood Pellet Stoves. Birds Suffer

It looks like a rabbit pellet, speckled quail-egg brown, a cylinder perhaps an inch long, thick as a No. 2 pencil, with a shiny coat that brings to mind a sausage casing. There are no fillers, no binders, no added chemicals. Wood pellets are all-natural, made of nothing but wood. A single pellet is light […]

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The Complicated Relationship Of Sloths, Moths, Algae And Poop

By descending a tree to defecate, sloths transport moths to their oviposition sites in sloth dung, which facilitates moth colonization of sloth fur. Moths are portals for nutrients, increasing nitrogen levels in sloth fur, which fuels algal growth. Sloths consume these algae-gardens, presumably to augment their limited diet. These linked mutualisms between moths, sloths and algae appear to aid the sloth in overcoming a highly constrained lifestyle.

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Who Needs Thorns When There Are Lions? Plant’s Security Strategy

The presence of carnivores helps plants without thorny defences thrive, a study of life on the savannah reveals.

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Hunting May Be Greatest Threat To Survival Of Forests

Hunting – driven by increasing human population, greater demand for wild meat and expanding wildlife trade networks – is the greatest threat to mammals and birds in tropical forests. Because it tends to target large species like primates and hoofed animals, particularly those that disperse tree seeds, hunting can prevent seed dispersal and the growth of new saplings. As large trees are lost, they are often replaced by plants like lianas (woody vines) whose seeds are dispersed by wind rather than animals. This changes forest composition over time, reducing the forest’s ability to sequester and store large quantities of carbon.

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Hope For The Future: Stressed Plants Produce More Resilient Offspring

Plants exposed to pests or disease can pass on their immunity to their seedlings, giving them an inherited advantage which can still be seen several generations down the line. This ability was particularly intriguing as the DNA sequence of the plants remained the same, yet a genetic ‘memory’ of how to cope with stressful conditions was passed down from one generation to the next.

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Where have all the flowers gone? A new report makes for troubling reading

These losses are troubling for a simple reason: once the common things start disappearing, everything is at risk.

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‘Resistance is futile.’ The Inevitability Of Invasive Species

Invasive plants, they found, were more likely to have evolved in habitats with a great diversity of competing species. Darwin was right: Some plants have evolved to be fighters.

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Ready. Aim? (Ballistic Seed Dispersal) Fire!

Of all the ingenious ways in which plants spread their seeds, ballistic dispersal is the most dramatic.

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Seed Size Bragging Rights? Can’t Go Wrong With Monocots

Both the species with the largest seeds (the double coconut palm, Lodoicea maldivica, family Arecaceae) and the species with the smallest seeds (various epiphytic orchids, Orchidaceae) in the world are monocots

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If We Supercharge Crop Plants, Should We Supercharge Wild Plants, Too?

t now seems certain that supercrops with “turbocharged photosynthesis” will be growing in our fields in a few decades, if not sooner. This seems like great news in a world where demand for food, biofuels and plant materials like cotton continues to increase, and where global warming will have an ever greater impact on crop production. More productive plants means greater yields. But there is a danger too.