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

If Plants Became Pharmaceutical Factories Your Garden Could Be Your Medicine Chest

But if we could be, for example, putting an anti-HIV medicine into a plant that they could be growing in their backyard, making a tea from the plant, in theory it could be something that could revolutionize the treatment of HIV. (Click on title or image for full story)

0213001849

Climate Change Is Unraveling Ecosystems

The big takeaway is that species are on the move, and they’re moving at different rates, Which raises the concern that the ecosystems of California could be unraveling. (Click on title or image for full story.)

0213001849

How Not To Be Eaten: Plants’ Defenses Against Herbivores

Because herbivores rely on plants for food, natural selection favors herbivores that overcome plant resistance, thus prompting plants to evolve new forms of resistance. This evolutionary race between plants and herbivores (i.e., ‘coevolution’) has resulted in a wide array of resistance traits in terrestrial plants including reduced apparency to herbivores and structural, chemical, and indirect defenses. These resistance traits are described in greater detail below. (Click on title or image for full story.)

0213001849

Can Reforestation Really Slow Climate Change? That Depends.

Our results indicate that in large parts of Europe, a tree planting programme would offset the emissions but it would not cool the planet, especially not if the afforestation is done with conifers. (Click on title or image for full story.)

0213001849

Fatal Beauty: Over Collecting ‘Everlasting’ Flowers Threatens Plants And People

Today, the mesmerizing flowers have become a potent symbol for a challenge facing Brazilian anthropologists: How can their knowledge of the lives of traditional people—including the migrant flower collectors—be used to help preserve the natural resources these people depend upon? And can a balance be struck between conservation and the economic needs of the people? (Click on title or image for full story)

0213001849

Terrifying Tumbleweed Attack

If you were a plant designer commissioned to mess with farmers, you would probably come up with something like a tumbleweed. When germinating, tumbleweed seedlings outcompete native plants, and suck up enough water to parch neighboring crops. After they drop from their stems, the vagabond husks often rove in packs, clogging irrigation systems, carrying bugs and diseases, and taking up space where cows could be. (Click on title or image for full story. Be sure to watch the video.)

0213001849

How A Simple Test Of Seed Dormancy Became The World’s Longest Running Experiment

When he buried those bottles 137 years ago, Dr. Beal didn’t aim to start the As the World Turns of garden experiments. As a botanist at an agricultural school, he was just trying to find a rigorous answer to a question that has dogged farmers for millennia: how many times do you have to pull up weeds before they stop growing back? (Click on title or image for full story.)

0213001849

Is A Popular Landscape Plant Poisoning Winter Birds?

The primary concern about Nandina, wherever it grows, is that heavy, late winter foraging by domestic birds could lead to death because of the accumulation of toxic cyanide compounds. There is no dispute that the berries contain these toxic compounds, but the risk posed by these berries to birds would of course be related to how heavily they are consumed in our area. (Click on title or image for full story.)

0213001849

Mysterious Marcescence: Why Do Some Deciduous Trees Retain Their Leaves In Winter?

We do not know whether marcescence provides a competitive benefit to beech and oak, but we do know that these two species are closely related; they are in the same family (beech). In fact, the beech family includes many, get this, evergreen species (live oaks and tanoaks, for example, which do not grow in our region). Marcescence may indeed be helpful to trees living in dry, cold, deer-infested environments. But it may also be simply a sign that beech and oak are evolutionarily delayed, still on their way to becoming fully deciduous from their more evergreen past. (Click on title or image for full story.)

0213001849

Seagrass, Vital To Slow Climate Change, Destroyed By Human Development

In Australia more than 80 per cent of the population lives along the coast and that’s placed enormous stress on our coastal marine ecosystems, particularly from extensive land clearing, agriculture and coastal development. (Click on title or image for full story.)