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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Why Are Canadian Municipalities Spraying Beet Juice On Icy Roads?

What do you get when you mix beet juice and salt? A nicely de-iced highway! This unusual combination of ingredients is becoming more common as cities and municipalities realize how effective it is at keeping roads clear and reducing the amount of salt needed. (Click on title for full story.)

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How Forest Trees Eat Tiny Animals

But are the pine trees in this experiment “predatory plants”? In my judgment, distinctly un-sexy Eastern white pine — a common tree in the vast northern forests of this planet — might just belong on that sexy list of deadly plants too, at least with an asterisk. (Clcik on title for full story.)

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Flower Color Attracts Bees By Creating Warmer Microenvironment

A professor and research scientist , using thermocouples, and a hypodermic tissue probe, learned that these dark petals are up to 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the surrounding atmosphere when they stand in a pool of Spring sunlight. Bees, especially fuzzy females of Carlin’s bee (Andrena carlinii), prefer to forage upside down on these flowers so their hind legs and bee butts are warmed by the dark petals as they drink nectar and collect pollen (Click on title for full story.)

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Why Did Prehistoric “Trees” Grow Tall?

paleoecological interpretations have been rooted in understanding of modern angiosperm-dominated ecosystems. One key example is tree evolution: although often thought to reflect competition for light, light limitation is unlikely for plants with such low photosynthetic potential. Instead, during this early evolution, the capacities of trees for enhanced propagule dispersal, greater leaf area, and deep-rooting access to nutrients and the water table are all deemed more fundamental potential drivers than light. (Click on title for full story.)

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A Successful Strategy To Control Asian Longhorned Beetle Infestation

The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is one of the 10 most dangerous quarantine pests in the world. More than 30 ALB infestations have been reported in eight European countries to date; six of these infestations have now been eradicated. In most cases, it took more than 10 years to wipe out the beetle population in large outdoor infestations. The pest has killed millions of poplar trees in China. Winterthur (Switzerland) has recently shown that it is possible, however, to eradicate even large outdoor infestations within the statutory minimum period of four years. This requires decisive action right at the start of an outbreak, because only the best and most experienced people on the ground can isolate the infested area in the first year. (Click on title for full story.)

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The Lonely Archeobotanist

Now the once bustling lab is now practically empty, with Elshafaey singlehandedly attempting to keep archaeobotany alive at Helwan University. He works essentially alone in the lab researching ancient plants from archaeological sites across Egypt for his PhD. (Click on title for full story.)

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The Medical Hype About Turmeric And Curcumin May Be A Trick

Inside the golden-yellow spice turmeric lurks a chemical deceiver: curcumin, a molecule that is widely touted as having medicinal activity, but which also gives false signals in drug screening tests. For years, chemists have urged caution about curcumin and other compounds that can mislead naive drug hunters. (Click on title for full story.)

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Using Sound To “See” Inside Tree Trunks

Living trees can rot from the inside out, leaving only a hollowed trunk. Wood rot in living trees can cause overestimates of global carbon pools, timber loss in forestry, and poor tree health. Understanding wood decay in forests is of special concern in the tropics because tropical forests are estimated to harbor 96% of the world’s tree diversity and about 25% of terrestrial carbon, compared to the roughly 10% of carbon held in temperate forests. But how do foresters and researchers see into a living tree to measure wood decay? They use sound. (Click on title for full story.)

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An Orchid Emerges From Dormancy, Saying A Lot About The Health Of Its Ecosystem

If you are a plant, when life aboveground turns harsh, you have few options. Some orchids respond by going dormant, spending years to decades underground before reemerging aboveground. But an army of the right fungi may help jolt them out of dormancy, ecologists discovered in a new study (Click on title for full story.)

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Are Plants Watching Us? The Case For Plants Having Vision

These cyanobacteria use the entire cell body as a lens to focus an image of the light source at the cell membrane, as in the retina of an animal eye, Although researchers are not sure what the purpose of this mechanism is, its existence suggests that a similar one could have evolved in higher plants. “If something like this is already present at the lower level of evolution, it is most likely kept,” (Click on title for full story.)