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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Walks In Nature Shown To Be Essential To Mental Health

Through a controlled experiment, we investigated whether nature experience would influence rumination (repetitive thought focused on negative aspects of the self), a known risk factor for mental illness. Participants who went on a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared with those who walked through an urban environment. These results suggest that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

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Study Declares Agriculture In Deforested Amazon Will Fail

As a final word, large-scale agriculture expansion in Amazonia may introduce climate feedbacks that would reduce precipitation, leading agriculture expansion in Amazonia to become self-defeating: the results of this study suggest that the more agriculture expands, the less productive it becomes. This would be a no-win situation, in which we all lose. Therefore, agriculture expansion in Brazil should prioritize land already converted and must be accompanied with comprehensive forest conservation to counteract externalities of this process.

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Thank Caterpillars For Pushing Plants To Be Spicey

The next time you slather mustard on your hotdog or horseradish on your bun, thank caterpillars and brassica for that extra flavor. While these condiments might be tasty to you, the mustard oils that create their flavors are the result of millions of years of plants playing defense against pests. But at the same time, clever insects like cabbage butterflies worked to counter these defenses, which then started an arms race between the plants and insects.

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Winter-Flowering Tree Adapted to Switch To Bird Pollinators When Temperature Drops

Our study demonstrated that passerine birds served as effective pollinators in Eriobotrya japonica, a winter-flowering fruit tree in Central China. In the studied population, bees were the major visitors in early winter when the temperature was relatively high, and birds were major visitors in late winter when the temperature was relatively low

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Restoration Ecology: Are Natives The Only Answer Or Just The Answer We wish For?

Many ecosystems have been degraded or modified, and these are the sorts of systems you target for restoration. But when a system has been altered so much the original species might not be the best choice to bring it back to health.

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Can Leukaemia Be Defeated By Avacados?

Canadian researchers have shown that molecules derived from avocados can help to treat a form of leukaemia by targeting the root cause of the disease – its stem cells.

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Climate Change Makes Poison Ivy More Dangerous.

A rise in carbon dioxide both fueled the growth of the weed and increased the potency of urushiol, the oil at the root of the rash. Poison oak and poison sumac also contain urushiol, and all three can cause the blistering rash. Airborne sap-coated soot can also get into the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system, according to the National Park Service.

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Bees Need Not Apply. Native Azalea Depends On Butterflies For Best Pollination.

A researcher has found that in the case of the flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), all pollinators are not created equal. In fact, due to the flower’s unique reproductive structure, butterflies – and specifically, their wings – are the key to pollination.

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Your Daily Cuppa May Save Your Life. The Health Benefits Of Earl Grey Tea

Drinking Earl Grey tea could help guard against heart disease, it has emerged, after a study found that bergamot extract – a key ingredient in the hot drink – is just as effective as statins at controlling cholesterol.

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Bees Read Flowers’ Electric Fields. Really.

Bumblebees can sense the electric field that surrounds a flower. They can even learn to distinguish between fields produced by different floral shapes, or use them to work out whether a flower has been recently visited by other bees. Flowers aren’t just visual spectacles and smelly beacons. They’re also electric billboards.