Category Archives: Amazing Plants

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The World’s Highest Plants Reveal Secrets Of Plant Colonization

No mycorrhizae were found on the roots, implying they are of little importance to the establishment and early growth of the plants. However, all roots were associated with a complex bacterial community, with richness and diversity estimates similar or even higher than the surrounding bare soil. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Why Do Sunflowers Face The Sun? A Selection Of Possible Reasons

There’s been advances in knowing how sunflowers track the sun, but botanists are still arguing over why. And, to make things confusing, they could all be right. (Click on title for full story.)

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Pollinators… Under The Sea

Birds do it, bees do it, but until recently, no marine critters were thought to do it. Pollination, that is. Tides and currents do a great job of sweeping pollen from marine plant to plant, so scientists thought underwater pollinators were unnecessary. But now, researchers have discovered a species of Caribbean seagrass, Thalassia testudinum, that can be pollinated by zooplankton and bottom-dwelling invertebrates. (Click on title for full story.)

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Newly Discovered Parasitic Orchid Is A Rarity Among Rarities. And None Are Protected

A number of mycoheterotrophic species have recently been discovered in Yakushima, from Oxygyne yamashitae in 2008, Gastrodia uraiensis in 2015, and this year Sciaphila yakushimensis and Lecanorchis tabugawaensis. These discoveries are evidence of the abundant ecosystems supported by Yakushima’s primeval forests. However, when most people think of Yakushima, their attention is first drawn by the Jomon cedars 500 meters above sea level, and the value of the lowland laurel forests is not widely known. The Tabugawa area where this new endangered species was discovered is not a national park or a world heritage site – it is an unprotected area where logging is permitted. Cedar logging is taking place nearby, and there are concerns that this could dry out the area, changing the mycoflora and creating an inhospitable environment. (Click on title for full story.)

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Plants Channel Sunlight Directly To Their Roots! But Why?

To check whether light was directly transmitted through the plant rather than it activating signalling chemicals that travelled to the roots, the researchers attached a light source to the stem of plants via an optical fibre. An underground detector at the end of the roots confirmed that light was transmitted through. (Click on title for full story.)

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How Blue Is My Begonia? Iridescent Leaves And Survival In The Dark Explained

Iridescent blue begonias show that plants can adapt to light levels with structural changes as well as chemical ones. This layering of iridoplasts causes the light that hits them to bend over and over again, creating a very dramatic sheen. More important, it enables the structure to absorb the types of light available in the dark landscape beneath the forest canopy — long wavelengths like red and green. Only blue light gets reflected back, and that’s what human admirers see.(Click on title for full story.)

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Plants Can Direct Seeds To Suitable Sites Without Animal Assistance

Plants cannot move to find new places to live in, but they can actively direct their seeds to new suitable places for plant development. This ‘directed dispersal’ had previously been shown only for plants with seeds that are transported by animals. Researchers have now shown that plants can also actively send their seeds towards suitable sites by way of wind or water.(Click on title for full story.)

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How Do We Explain Sub-Arctic Giant Mega-Herbs? (Yes, It’s A Thing)

High latitude and altitude floras are characterized by low-statured, small, wind-pollinated plants, which mainly reproduce by self-pollination or asexual reproduction. However, at odds with this are some sub-Antarctic islands that have plant species with giant growth forms and large, brightly coloured flowers which require insect visitation for pollination. The size, colour and shape of the inflorescences and leaves of these megaherbs suggest thermal benefits similar to giant tropical alpine plants of equatorial Africa, South America and Hawaii. We found that leaf and inflorescence temperatures of all megaherbs were higher than simultaneously measured ambient temperatures. Heating was highly correlated with brief, unpredictable periods of solar radiation, and occurred most rapidly in species with hairy, corrugated leaves and darkly pigmented, densely packed inflorescences. This is the first evidence that floral and leaf heating occurs in sub-Antarctic megaherbs, and suggests that leaf hairiness, flower colour and shape could provide thermal benefits like those seen in tropical alpine megaherbs. (Click on title for full story.)

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Native Parasitic Plants Help Control Introduced Invasive Species

A native parasitic plant found commonly throughout south-eastern Australia, is showing great promise as a potential biological control agent against introduced weeds that cost millions of dollars every year to control. (Click on title for full story.)

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Obituary For The Oldest Tree Of The Eastern US Forest (600 Years!)

If the 600-year-old age estimates are correct, its youth coincided with Britain’s defeat of the French in the Battle of Agincourt and Gutenberg’s invention of movable type. And, of course, all of the voyages by explorers such as Christopher Columbus. (Click on title for full story.)