Category Archives: Amazing Plants

0213001849

Apparently You CAN Teach An Old Slime Mold New Tricks

Slime mold, a unicellular organism at the bottom of the food chain, can learn, a finding that has important implications for understanding the evolution of learning, as well as how many creatures can be “smart” and successful without a brain. Learning likely even predates the emergence of nervous systems, much less brains, according to a new study, (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Flowers Use Physics As Well As Color And Shape To Lure Pollinators

Research has traditionally explored the role of chemical pigments and volatile organic compounds as cues for pollinators, but recent reports have demonstrated the importance of physical and structural means of pollinator attraction. Here we explore the role of petal microstructure in influencing floral light capture and optics, analysing colour, gloss and polarization effects. We discuss the interaction between flower, pollinator and gravity, and how petal surface structure can influence that interaction. Finally, we consider the role of electrostatic forces in pollen transfer and pollinator attraction. We conclude that this new interdisciplinary field is evolving rapidly. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Puny Mammals: Tallest Trees Bigger Than 5 Sperm Whales

Tallest tree aside, this work really highlights the value of protecting primary forests, These ancient trees are really only found in primary forests, many of which are not properly protected. A detailed map like this will be useful for establishing conservation priorities.” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

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.)

0213001849

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.)

0213001849

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.)

0213001849

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.)

0213001849

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.)

0213001849

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.)