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.

Algae-based Batteries Are On The Way

Currently, the photosynthetic power cell exists on a small scale, and consists of an anode, cathode and proton exchange membrane. The cyanobacteria or blue green algae are placed in the anode chamber. As they undergo photosynthesis, the cyanobacteria release electrons to the electrode surface. An external load is connected to the device to extract the electrons and harness power. (Click on image ot title for full story)


Bees And The Floral Internet: Charge Is Everything

When a bumble bee visited a flower and drank the nectar they found, they not only picked up pollen but they charged the flower. Other bees approaching the flower were proved to sense that positive charge, avoid the bloom, and give preference to negative-or-neutral-charged flowers, possessing nectar to share. Thus, while the movement of bees from bloom to bloom may appear to be random, it’s not. The bee-flower symbiosis makes feeding and transferring pollen more efficient for the bees. They do not have to waste time and energy checking empty flowers. (Click on image or title for full story.)


What Is Lost? Newly Discovered Tropical Tree May Disappear Before It Is Studied

There is a real danger that this and other species will be lost to the world before they have even been properly investigated. Exploring the rainforest is not just fascinating, it is really, really urgent. *Click image of title for full story.)


How Pumpkins Replaced Mastadon Seed Dispersal With Humans’

When mastodons and mammoths went extinct in the Americas, wild squash too, saw drastic decline, archaeological evidence shows. “The plants lost their primary means of seed dispersal,” At that time, squash switched partners in its evolutionary dance. (Click image or title for full story.)


How Farming Changed Human DNA Millennia Ago

The agricultural revolution was one of the most profound events in human history, leading to the rise of modern civilization. Now, in the first study of its kind, an international team of scientists has found that after agriculture arrived in Europe 8,500 years ago, people’s DNA underwent widespread changes, altering their height, digestion, immune system and skin color. (Click image or title for full story.)

A “Safe” and “Natural” Insect Control That Also Kills Bees

The results we present here show that the native British bumble bee B. terrestris is remarkably susceptible to two commercially available entomopathogenic nematode pest control products. Both products caused very high levels of bee mortality after only 72 h of exposure, with the first deaths evident after 48 h. This result was unexpected: the susceptibility of bees to entomopathogenic nematodes such as Heterorhabdidtis spp. and Steinernema spp. has never previously been reported. (Click on image or title for full story)


Fossils Reveal Rise Of First Forests Changed The Earth Forever

A team of scientists has unearthed the fossil remnants of a tropical forest on the arctic island of Svalbard, and it could help explain one of the most dramatic climate shifts in Earth’s history. (Click on image or title for full story.)


Ash Dieback Threatens More Than Trees

The light dappled shade beneath its canopy is ideal for many of the lichens that grow on tree bark and wood. Like elm, the bark of ash has a relatively high pH, a requirement for many lichens. Several of the more ‘demanding’ species that were severely affected by loss of habitat following Dutch Elm Disease found refuge on ash. Now they are further threatened. (Click on image or title for full story)


Bite me! Plants That Were Browsed Produce More Viable Seeds

In most populations, plants damaged by herbivores had a greater proportion of viable seeds per plant or a greater probability of seed germination. (Click on image or title for full story)


Good News About Chocolate, Ten Million Years In The Making

After 10 million years of evolution, we should not be surprised to see a large amount of variation within the species, some of which might exhibit novel flavors or forms that are resistant to diseases. These varieties may contribute towards improving a developing chocolate industry, (Click on image or title for full story)