Category Archives: Amazing Plants

Botany 2.0 – New Technologies Revive Interest In Traditional Botanical Pursuits

Plant biologists hope that, by combining new approaches to botany with data from genomics and imaging labs, they can provide better answers to questions that biologists have asked for more than 100 years: how genes and the environment shape the rich diversity of plants’ physical forms. “People are starting to look beyond their own system into plants as a whole,. Plant morphology was once a science of form for its own sake, she says, but now, it is being pressed into service to understand how plant traits connect to gene activity across disparate species. “It’s coming back — just under different guises.” (Click on title for full story.)

The Plant That Abandoned Photosynthesis And Cross-Pollination

As well as abandoning photosynthesis, the L. nigricans also self-pollinates – its flowers remain buds until they fall. Non-photosynthesizing plants such as L. nigricans often grow on the dark forest floor, an environment that bees and butterflies rarely visit. Because of this, L. nigricans and L. nigricans var. patipetala are both self-pollinating species. L. nigricans may have stopped opening its flowers because this used up too many resources. Similar evolutionary patterns are occurring in other mycoheterotrophic plants. (Click on title for full story.)

Photosynthesis On Earth Began 1.25 Billion Years Ago

To pinpoint the fossils’ age, the researchers pitched camp in a rugged area of remote Baffin Island, where Bangiomorpha pubescens fossils have been found There,despite the occasional August blizzard and tent-collapsing winds, they collected samples of black shale from rock layers that sandwiched the rock unit containing fossils of the alga. Using the Rhenium-Osmium (or Re-Os) dating technique, applied increasingly to sedimentary rocks in recent years, they determined that the rocks are 1.047 billion years old. (Click on title for full story.)

Weighty Discovery: Newly Discovered Brazilian Tree Species May Be World’s Heaviest Organism

Dinizia jueirana-facao grows in a narrowly restricted area of Atlantic forest in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo. It is Critically Endangered – we know of only 25 of these trees in the whole world – a fact which helps to explain why such a majestic species has gone undiscovered and scientifically unnamed for so long. If such gigantic species are being described as new to science in the 21st century, just imagine how many smaller organisms are still waiting to be discovered? (Click on title for full story.)

Plants, Choosing Adaptations That Will Lessen Reproduction, Benefit Their Community

“We looked at how chemical defense cues from plants, meant to deter herbivores, can also deter pollinators, The surprising model result is that while this can lead to fitness losses for individuals, the population effects can be positive for pollinators and plants under some circumstances.” (Click on title for full story.)

How The Chocolate Trees Pass Disease Resistance On To Their Own Saplings

Although any litter exposure helped, plants that were treated with cacao litter showed the least damage overall and about 50% less damage than plants treated with mixed leaf litter from other species. Seedlings that were given no litter may host a greater diversity of endophytes because they are more likely to be colonized by weedy, easily-dispersed endophytic fungi that haven’t specialized in living within and protecting cacao as C. tropciale has.One important implication is that cacao farmers can give their seedlings a good start in a simple way: by collecting leaf litter from healthy older trees and spreading it around seedlings. If seedlings are planted in big fields away from older trees, such a practice could improve seedling health without having to individually inoculate each tree with C. tropicale. (Click on title for full story.)

Common Snapdragons Unlock A Genetic Secret Basic To Differentiating Species

“If you’ve ever wondered why animals and plants are different – then this discovery develops our understanding of how nature maintains variation by making species look different from each other.” (Click on title for full story.)

What Makes Beets Red May Change Medicine

Scientists do not know exactly why this ability helped beets thrive. While some research suggests betalains may help plants weather stress, perhaps their primary usefulness is that humans — and presumably other creatures, like pollinators — love the way they look. Beyond questions of color, the research has implications for medicine.

The Very First Trees Were Unlike Anything Alive Today

This growth strategy has not been seen in any other tree in Earth’s history. It’s crazy that the oldest trees also had the most complex growth strategy, (Click on title for full story.)

The Secret Colors Flowers Create: But How? And Why?

Only a few flowers, like cornflowers and Himalayan blue poppies, have achieved true blue, and all by using special chemical tricks like adding metals to their pigments, or making their petals more alkaline. “All of this is chemically quite difficult and not many species have evolved the enzymes to do it,” says Beverley Glover from the University of Cambridge. “Even with genetic modification, people have managed to make purple, bluish roses, but true blue isn’t happening.” So imagine her surprise when she found that many flowers have secret blue halos in their flowers. (Click on title for full story.)