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

Pollinating Bees And Flowers Fit Like Key In A Lock

“The closer the bee fits to the flower, allowing it to touch both the male and female sexual organs, the more efficiently the insect can transfer pollen between plants.” Bees that are too small, relative to the size of the flower, transfer fewer pollen grains to other flowers and act ‘pollen thieves’, extracting the pollen they need without pollinating the flower. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Spinach Leaves Used To Mend Damaged Human Hearts?

In a series of experiments, the team cultured beating human heart cells on spinach leaves that were stripped of plant cells. They flowed fluids and microbeads similar in size to human blood cells through the spinach vasculature, and they seeded the spinach veins with human cells that line blood vessels. These proof-of-concept studies open the door to using multiple spinach leaves to grow layers of healthy heart muscle to treat heart attack patients. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Extinct Plant Comes Back From Oblivion To Stop A Development Project

“As far as we understand, the hibbertia was found on the project site in October last year and was the first time it had been seen since 1823. The planning assessment commission then approved the development in December – but wasn’t provided with any information about this newly rediscovered threatened species,” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Scientists Reveal Grasses’ Breathing Secret And May Revolutionize Agriculture

The adaptability and productivity of grass makes understanding this plant family critical for human survival, the scientists said. Someday, whether through genetic modification or selective breeding, scientists might be able to use these findings to produce other plants with four-celled stomata. This could also be one of many changes – to chloroplasts or enzymes, for example – that help plants photosynthesize more efficiently to feed a growing population. (Click on title for full story.)

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Guam Provides A Glimpse Of A Future Without Seed Dispersing Animals

“You couldn’t conduct an experiment to demonstrate how birds affect dispersal and tree regeneration because you can’t experimentally keep birds out of large areas. But the situation on Guam provides a unique accidental experiment. It’s the only place in the world that has lost all frugivores. The difference between Guam and nearby islands is stark, which makes it an extreme example, but these sorts of changes are likely happening to some degree all over the world. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

When Will Volcano Erupt? Check With The Trees.

Scientists made a surprising discovery on their mission to find better indicators for impending volcanic eruptions: it looks like tree rings may be able to predict eruptions. (Click on title for full story.)

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Leaf-Cutter Ants Teach Their Nestmates Which Leaves To Avoid

Learning to avoid plants that are unsuitable for the symbiotic fungus does not necessarily need a direct assessment of the effects of that plant on fungus growth. Foragers that had experienced the negative effects of an unsuitable plant neither in the garden nor in the dump might be influenced in their choices by interactions with experienced nestmates. In this regard, we showed that non-confined foragers slightly but significantly decreased their acceptance for the specific plant that only their nestmates initially experienced during the confinement in the waste chamber. (CLick on title for full story.)

0213001849

Will Re-Creating Ice Age Landscapes Slow Climate Change? Welcome To Pleistocene Park.

If this intercontinental ice block warms too quickly, its thawing will send as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere each year as do all of America’s SUVs, airliners, container ships, factories, and coal-burning plants combined. It could throw the planet’s climate into a calamitous feedback loop, in which faster heating begets faster melting. “Pleistocene Park is meant to slow the thawing of the permafrost,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Dinosaurs As Seed Dispersers: Fossilized Dino Gut Reveals All

Researchers identified these seeds as belonging to an ancient type of cycad, as well as from other plants. This is interesting, as it shows that some dinosaurs, much like modern mammals, might have been important in helping to disperse the seeds of plants along landscapes through plants’ ingenuity of exploiting the fact that dinosaurs like to poop from time to time. (Click on title for full story.)

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Even Amazonia Was Shaped By Ancient Human Agriculturists

The Amazon has long been held up as an example of untamed wilderness. But people have lived in the world’s largest rainforest for thousands of years, hunting, gathering and farming1. For years, researchers have debated how much of an influence human activities have had on the Amazon. And now, a study describes the extent to which ancient peoples changed the distribution of trees in the forest around them. (Click on title for full story.)