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.

Human Anesthetics Work On Plants. Good For Research (Not Suggested Just For Pruning)

Plants are sensitive to several anaesthetics that have no structural similarities. As in animals and humans, anaesthetics used at appropriate concentrations block action potentials and immobilize organs via effects on action potentials, endocytic vesicle recycling and ROS homeostasis. Plants emerge as ideal model objects to study general questions related to anaesthesia, as well as to serve as a suitable test system for human anaesthesia. (Click on title for full story.)

When Both Caterpillars And Aphids Attack Plants, The Plant Has To Make Defense Choices

Scientists describe two surprising discoveries: that plants prioritise the protection of flowers over leaves, and that simultaneous attack by aphids, caterpillars and bacteria leaves plants vulnerable to aphids but more protected from caterpillars. (Click on title for full story.)

When Trees Have Ants As Defenders Their Partners May Be Heroes Or Something Much Less

Each colony could be characterized by a behavioral type score along a docile-aggressive axis, with higher scoring colonies being more active, responsive, and aggressive than those with lower scores. Furthermore, colony behavioral types were correlated with their host plants’ health such that trees containing more aggressive colonies also exhibited less leaf damage. (Click on title for full story.)

How The Chocolate Trees Pass Disease Resistance On To Their Own Saplings

Although any litter exposure helped, plants that were treated with cacao litter showed the least damage overall and about 50% less damage than plants treated with mixed leaf litter from other species. Seedlings that were given no litter may host a greater diversity of endophytes because they are more likely to be colonized by weedy, easily-dispersed endophytic fungi that haven’t specialized in living within and protecting cacao as C. tropciale has.One important implication is that cacao farmers can give their seedlings a good start in a simple way: by collecting leaf litter from healthy older trees and spreading it around seedlings. If seedlings are planted in big fields away from older trees, such a practice could improve seedling health without having to individually inoculate each tree with C. tropicale. (Click on title for full story.)

Common Snapdragons Unlock A Genetic Secret Basic To Differentiating Species

“If you’ve ever wondered why animals and plants are different – then this discovery develops our understanding of how nature maintains variation by making species look different from each other.” (Click on title for full story.)

Asthma Rates In Urban Areas Reduced By Adequate And Appropriate Greenspace

We wanted to clarify how urban vegetation may be related to respiratory health. We know that trees remove the air pollutants which can bring on asthma attacks, but in some situations they can also cause localised build-ups of particulates by preventing their dispersion by wind. And vegetation can also produce allergenic pollen which exacerbates asthma.  We found that on balance, urban vegetation appears to do significantly more good than harm. However, effects were not equal everywhere. (Click on title for full story.)

Decomposed Plant Parts Sequester Carbon In The Soil. How Long The Carbon Is Retained Depends On The Details

This research helps bridge the gap between studies of how leaves and other plant litter decompose and soil organic matter, which contains decomposed litter and other bio-based materials. The study builds this bridge by tracing how litter becomes soil organic matter over a decade. The results back a paradigm shift in our understanding of soil carbon research. The study does so by demonstrating that the long-term retention of litter-derived carbon and nitrogen in soil depends on where the litter lands. (Click on title for full story.)

Researchers Apply Microbes To Save Endangered Plant

Transplanting wild microbes from healthy related plants can make a native Hawaiian plant healthier and likelier to survive in wild according to new research. (Click on title for full story.)

Mysterious Pollination Story Of Otherwise Common Houseplant Discovered

The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that A. elatior has the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms. (Click on title for full story.)

Invasive Knotweed Actually Displaces Forests While Poison Ivy Preserves Them

“What we see in the data is that poison-ivy often trades understory dominance with knotweed. That is, when knotweed isn’t the big boss, poison-ivy usually is. The difference is that whereas knotweed knocks everyone else out of the system, poison-ivy is more of a team player. Many other native plants can co-occur with it and it even seems to create microhabitats that help tree seedlings get established.” (Clcikon title for full story.)