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

New Plant-derived Polio Vaccine Booster May Eliminate The Disease

Collaborating with researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Penn team developed an oral vaccine booster by manipulating plants to express a protein found in the polio virus. Tests with sera from immunized mice show that the booster confers immunity against all three serotypes of polio. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Looking For Ocean Plastic Pollution? Check The Mangrove Forests

This part of the island is uninhabited, yet the area is full of rubbish, and most of it is fairly new. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

The Limits Of Leaves: Why Are There So Few Arboreal Herbivores

“This study explains why eating leaves in the canopies of trees leads to life in the slow lane, why fast-moving animals like birds tend not to eat leaves, and why animals like deer that eat a lot of leaves tend to be big and live on the ground,” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Attacking The Problem: Control Tropical Vines To Preserve Carbon Sink

Scientists advocate the temporary removal of lianas in selected areas to help tropical forests grow back. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Are These The Final Days For Our Forests?

Our study shows that human disturbance negatively affects the early steps of the plant regeneration cycle, while the effects on the later regeneration processes vary greatly, Our findings suggest that conservation efforts should prioritize the protection of animal pollinators and seed dispersers to maintain the regeneration potential of forest ecosystems in the future. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Did Plants Invent Alcohol To Attract Our Ancestors?

It could even be that fermentation evolved, like fragrance, to attract consumers to slightly boozy edibles. Dominy explained that if consuming more nectar or fruit benefits the plant, such as via better pollination and seed dispersal, then fermentation could bring mutual benefits to the plant and consumer. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Flowers Arrange Themselves To Make Pollinators Linger

Scientists already knew that variation in shape, size and colour of individual flowers can influence how their pollen is spread by visiting insects or birds. They were interested to learn how the arrangement of flowers – such as circled around the stem or in a line – affects pollination. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Can A Simple Subsidy To Landowners Slow Deforestation And Protect Biodiversity?

In a convincing new study conducted in Uganda and based on a program sponsored in part by its government, a team of researchers have found an effective and affordable way to combat deforestation in a country showing some of the fastest tree loss rates in the world. How? The program simply paid owners of forest land not to cut down their own trees for either agricultural purposes or to sell them for timber. The research provides a positive model for protecting a forest region that is a hub for biodiversity, including serving as a key habitat for endangered chimpanzees. At the same time, it also validates the effectiveness of a “Payments for Ecosystems Services” program of the sort that could bolster the battle against global deforestation and its impact as a leading driver of climate change. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Did Gorillas Evolve Resistance To Lure Of Junk Food Fruit?

Monkeys and bonobos have taste receptors primed to find the protein sweet, says Bradley. “But gorillas – who are not known to eat the plant – have species-specific mutations that likely prevent the false signal.” That suggests that they have evolved to stay one step ahead of the plant. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Do Endangered Plants Need A Geneticist’s Help?

To intensify conservation while enhancing agroforestry, smarter plant breeding practices are required. Traditional breeding has allowed for the identification, selection and propagation of plants with a superior genetic makeup, or genotype, from a given plant population. But traditional methods often fail to isolate the required superior characteristics of a species. They can also take more than five or six breeding cycles before a valuable trait is established and maintained in a plant population. The process can take decades for perennial plants, like trees. Plant biotechnology is increasingly being used to complement traditional screening and breeding practices. Plants can be grown in test tubes under controlled laboratory conditions. (Click on title for full story.)