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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Planting For Monarchs: Helpful Or Really A Threat To The Species?

Planting milkweed in your garden is a really feel-good thing, but it’s not really the conservation solution, (Click on title for full story.)

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Reconsidering The Value Of Alien Plants When Native Ecosystems Are Too Degraded

“Conservation practitioners are investing millions of dollars to eradicate invasive species, but what if some of those invasive species are actually benefiting native species and ecosystem services? Our experimental study shows for the first time that this can be the case.” (Click on title for full story.)

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Researching The Untapped Health Benefits Of Edible Flowers

The growing need for nutraceutical new foods has generated interest in edible flowers.This flower trait inspired us to conduct experiments aimed at evaluating both the antioxidant activity and anthocyanin content in twelve species commonly used as ornamental plants. The antioxidant power of the edible flowers was very high compared to common vegetables and/or fruits. (Click on title for full story.)

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Long Buried “Ghost Ponds” May Hide Extinct Plant Species

“Given the range of different seed types that we found capable of germination after 150-plus years, it could be reasonable to expect that ghost ponds could provide suitable reservoirs of rare or even extinct species,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Crops Control Pests By Turning Them Into Cannibals

It is not unusual for insect pests to feast on each other as well as on their staple veg, but it’s now been shown that tomato plants can team up to directly push caterpillars into cannibalism. “This is a new ecological mechanism of induced resistance that effectively changes the behaviour of the insects,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Is Every Endangered Plant Species Worth An All Out Conservation Effort?

One in five of the world’s plant species is threatened with extinction, according to the annual State of the World’s Plants report from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. That’s a lot of plants that need tender love and care – and money – to keep them from going extinct. (Click on title for full story.)

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Following Chimpanzees To Uncover Their Pharmaceutical Plant Secrets

These West African plants are part of a ‘jungle pharmacy’ sought out by wild chimpanzees to treat ailments ranging from worm infestations to bacterial infections. And because humans share 98% of their DNA with chimps, and are susceptible to some of the same diseases, they might work on people too. At least that is the theory behind a research project in Côte d’Ivoire that is screening such plants for possible human treatments. So far it has identified compounds that able to kill bacterial and yeast infections in a petri dish, and even some that seem to inhibit cancer development. Eventually, such discoveries could lead to new antibiotics, antifungals or cancer treatments.(Click on title for full story.)

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All Of Our Potatoes Started Here 11,000 Years Ago

“Our study has found the earliest evidence of potato use in North America, It’s about the rediscovery of wild potatoes native to North America and [the plant] being a very important food resource for the past 10,000 years up until today.” (Click on title for full story.)

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Plant Resins Reveal Story of 800-year Old Asian Trading Ship

“What was it doing here? What were the ports it went to? Was its end use to be for caulking in a shipyard, or burned as incense at a religious site?” Lambert says. “Getting answers to these questions is how archaeologists spend their time, and what scientists are able to provide a bit of help on.” (Click on title for full story.)

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Putting Defense First: Plants Reserve Richest Nectar For Defending Ants, Not For Pollinators

So-called ant-plants carefully manage the amount and sweetness of nectar produced on their flowers and leaves, a study shows.This enables them to attract ants – which aggressively deter herbivores – while also luring insects that will spread pollen. Click on title for full story.)