Category Archives: Amazing Plants

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Meet The Earliest Orchid Ever Found. A Mere 45 Million Years Old

How the orchid pollen in this study ended up attached to the fungus gnat and eventually entombed in amber from near the Baltic Sea in northern Europe is a matter of speculation. (Click on title for full story.)

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The Earliest Land Plants Survived By Teaming With Fungi

Paleobotanists think plants formed these relationships with fungi early on. Molecular, genomic and physiological evidence all suggest that early land plants were mycorrhizal to some degree. (Click on title for full story.)

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The Fierce Competitive Genius of…. Bluebells

Bluebells also form carpets without a wooded canopy and point to the locations of ancient forests, long after the trees themselves have vanished. This is because, unlike trees, bluebells have most of their biomass and reproductive organs (the bulb) below ground where they are better protected. They are beautiful flowers, but have you ever wondered how bluebells pull off an even more impressive feat: being in their flowering prime when other plants have only just started to grow? Here are seven of their cleverest tricks.(Click on title for full story.)

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Plant Roots Grow Towards The Sound Of Running Water

“It indicates that the invasion of sewer pipes by tree roots may be based on the plants ‘hearing’ water and shows that their perception of their surroundings is much greater and far more complex than we previously thought.” (Click on title for full story.)

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When Tomatoes Cry: Plants Know They Are Being Eaten.

“What is surprising and cool is that these plants only create defense responses to feeding vibrations and not to wind or other vibrations in the same frequency as the chewing caterpillar,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Are Tree Trunks Contributing To Global Climate Change? (WHAT?)

Methane is about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide, with some estimates as high as 33 times stronger due to its effects when it is in the atmosphere. Because of methane’s global warming potential, identifying the sources and “sinks” or storehouses of this greenhouse gas is critical for measuring and understanding its implications across ecosystems. Upland forest soils usually take up and store methane, but this effect can be counteracted by methane emissions from tree trunks, (Click on title for full story.)

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Scientists Reveal Grasses’ Breathing Secret And May Revolutionize Agriculture

The adaptability and productivity of grass makes understanding this plant family critical for human survival, the scientists said. Someday, whether through genetic modification or selective breeding, scientists might be able to use these findings to produce other plants with four-celled stomata. This could also be one of many changes – to chloroplasts or enzymes, for example – that help plants photosynthesize more efficiently to feed a growing population. (Click on title for full story.)

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When Will Volcano Erupt? Check With The Trees.

Scientists made a surprising discovery on their mission to find better indicators for impending volcanic eruptions: it looks like tree rings may be able to predict eruptions. (Click on title for full story.)

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Are The Mysterious Ghost Redwoods Really Symbiotic Saviors?

Moore’s theory – which he presented at a redwood conference last month and hopes to publish next year – is that albino redwoods are in a symbiotic relationship with their healthy brethren. They may act as a reservoir for poison in exchange for the sugar they need to survive. (Click on title for full story.)

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Redwoods Tell Surprising Climactic History That Suggests A Difficult Future

“This long record is really now painting a new picture that drought is probably more common than we thought in the tree ring records,” Dawson says. “So the redwoods are telling us a new drought story.” Embedded in the tree ring data is evidence of not one but three distinct cycles ranging from the yearly to the centennial. The most familiar, the El Niño-La Niña cycle, takes place over a few years and involves dramatic changes to the pattern of winds and water temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a decades-long cycle in the Northern Pacific in which the waters off the West Coast fluctuate between warmer and cooler surface temperatures. The longest cycle the team found spans over a century and potentially involves wind patterns that connect the North Pacific with the North Atlantic. Dawson says the redwood cores hold the first record of all three cycles. The tree ring records show that California is caught in the middle of climatic cycles that are so long, we’ve been ignorant of them until recently. What it also means is that the worst drought we’ve seen may actually be the norm when taking the long perspective. (Click on title for full story.)