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.

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.)

New Seed Dispersal Strategy In non-photosynthetic Plants Discovered: Crickets Ingesting Seeds

Insects have not been considered as internal seed carriers before because due to the small size of their bodies and mandibles, it was thought that they chewed up the seeds. However, the seeds of non-photosynthesizing plants are extremely small, so they can pass through the digestive system unharmed (Click on title for full story.)

Did Wine Making Begin In Neolithic Georgia?

The oldest of these jars came from 8,000 years ago. It’s the earliest artifact ever found showing humans consuming juice from the Eurasian grapes that are the foundation of today’s wine industry. (Click on title for full story.)

The Little 19th Century Terrarium That Changed Our Lives

If you’ve ever eaten a banana, changed a car tire, or accidentally killed an orchid, then you have the Wardian case to thank. Unfortunately, you can probably also blame this small, sealed container for the rapid spread of both European colonialism and invasive plant species in the 19th century. A predecessor of the modern terrarium, it held plants, and was made of glass and closed such that it would self-regulate its internal climate. (Click on title for full story.)

Fossil Arctic Forests May Reveal Climate Change Future

“The geologic record shows us the beginning, middle and end of climate change events,With further study, we can better understand how greenhouse gases and climate change affect life on Earth. (Click on title for full story.)

Aboriginal People Moved Valued Plant Species Around Australia As They Traveled

Newly published DNA research from a team of scientists and indigenous collaborators upturns botanical history, pointing to a vast and unacknowledged human influence in the distribution of Australia’s native plants. (Click on title for full story.)

Troubled Vets Find Their Way Home Through Botanical Garden Program

In his 20 years in the Navy, Joseph deployed five times and saw dozens of friends die. “I relive those incidents in my head every day. So the garden kinda puts that in peace when I walk, when I walk thought the front gate it really puts my mind at ease. It takes away the darkness and brings some lightness. I used to have migraines all the time and I’m down to one or two a month. And I think that’s due in part to constantly working the garden,” Joseph said. (Click on title for full story.)