Plants

  • The really big book of plants

    International effort traces 1100 species and a billion years of evolution.

    After nine years of work, an international consortium of scientists has released gene sequences for more than 1100 pl...

    Plants October 23, 2019
  • Detecting early signs of banana diseases

    Trials of new app on three continents show positive results.

    New technology could help protect the world’s most important fruit crop, the banana. A smartphone app developed by s...

    Plants September 3, 2019
  • Can switchgrass make better biofuels?

    It ticks a lot of boxes, but we need to know more.

    Scientists in the US are turning microscopes on grasses in order to take a whack at global warming.  The goal is to ...

    Plants August 12, 2019
  • Young Hass has a mixed background

    New study sheds light on the avocado's family history.

    The Hass avocado, the world’s most popular, is a 61:39 mix of Mexican and Guatemalan varieties, researchers say. The...

    Plants August 7, 2019
  • A tree stump that refuses to die

    Its neighbours are chipping in to keep it alive.

    This stump of a kauri tree (Agathis australis) should be dead, and the fact that it isn’t is more than just a novelty...

    Plants July 26, 2019
  • Stealing genes to become better parasites

    Researchers reveal ‘dramatic’ functional horizontal gene transfer. Nick Carne reports.

    Dodder is a known parasite of wild, agricultural and horticultural plants, and can feed on multiple plants at one tim...

    Plants July 22, 2019
  • Gene determines how far down roots go

    New finding could help plants adapt to a changing climate, researchers say. Nick Carne reports.

    Biologists have discovered a gene they believe determines how deep roots go in the soil, and this, they hope, will he...

    Plants July 11, 2019
  • Tall (and diverse) timber

    Study finds thousands of genetic differences in a single tree.

    Researchers from Canada’s University of British Columbia spent last northern summer scaling these giant Sitka spruce ...

    Plants July 9, 2019
  • These scientists don’t think plants think

    Stephen Fleischfresser assesses the latest views on an enduringly controversial idea.

    A surprisingly old idea, the notion that plants have consciousness, is facing renewed scepticism and scrutiny. In the...

    Plants July 3, 2019
  • Lichens thrived while those around them fell

    Mass extinction allowed new combinations to rise up.

    It seems not everything got fried when an asteroid smacked into the Earth 66 million years ago. New research suggest...

    Plants June 30, 2019
  • Conversation

    In the wake of Chernobyl, plants thrive

    Why is plant life so resilient to radiation and nuclear disaster?

    Chernobyl has become a byword for catastrophe. The 1986 nuclear disaster, recently brought back into the public eye b...

    Plants June 25, 2019
  • Bush tomato defies binary gender norms

    Gender is a spectrum, especially in the case of an Australian eggplant cousin. Andrew Masterson r...

    A gender-fluid Australian plant, a distant relative of the aubergine, has been formally identified, ending a 50-year ...

    Plants June 18, 2019
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