All posts by zooplantman

Former Director of Horticulture, Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo. Zoo exhibit & landscape designer perversely fascinated by the doings of plants, animals, ecosystems and other things not requiring batteries
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When Ants Are Not A Plants’ Friend

The relationship between these two species is much like that of other ants and ant-plants, until it comes time for the plant to reproduce. When Nodosa begins to flower, the ants attack the buds, lopping them off before they get a chance to spread seeds. The ant, in effect, sterilizes its gracious host. Ingrates.

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Red Flowers May Not Signal Love

The colour red acts as a warning to large vertebrate herbivores like emus, parrots and kangaroos that the flower contains distasteful or even poisonous cyanogenic compounds. It seems that Western Australian plants have not only developed a remarkable defence against would-be flower predators, but that they also clearly advertise the fact.

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And Now To Explain Red Leaves

Aphids don't show up as frequently on apple trees that turn red in the fall as on those that stay green or yellow… Also, young aphids feeding on those formerly red trees in spring weren't as likely to grow to maturity as aphids on trees that turned green or yellow in the fall.

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Discriminating Bees Sniff First, Drink After

The study suggests that a bee's ability to associate floral scent with the best nectar may be the key to understanding how floral scent has evolved in flowering plants.

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African Sunbirds Acting Like American Hummingbirds

An African bird has learned to hover so that it can collect nectar from flowers, just as hummingbirds do in the Americas. The bird has an unlikely trainer: an invasive South American plant that has made its way to South Africa.

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Why Do Male Flowers Have The Fragrance?

This was a surprise in fundamental plant biology …If you ask people where the perfume of a flower comes from, they'll likely say the female parts or the petals.

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Greener Fungicides Are Safer

Exploiting a little-known punch/counterpunch strategy in the ongoing battle between disease-causing fungi and crop plants, scientists in Canada are reporting development of a new class of “green” fungicides that could provide a safer, more environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional fungicides.

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The Amazon Giveth As Well As Taketh Away

For years the Amazon forest has been helping slow down climate change… But relying on this subsidy from nature is extremely dangerous. If the Earth's carbon sinks slow or go into reverse, as our results show is possible, carbon dioxide levels will rise even faster.

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What Would Darwin Do?

Treasure chests stuffed with tools, seeds, flower presses and plant guides are being distributed to every state primary school in the UK to kindle children's enthusiasm for science and botany.

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The Wild Maize Problem Persists

Genes from genetically engineered corn have been found in traditional crop strains in Mexico, said a new study that is likely to reignite a bitter controversy over biotech maize.