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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...