Plants

  • 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
  • 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
  • Herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’ on the rise

    US researchers warn at least one species is unaffected by multiple applications. Nick Carne reports.

    Superbugs get the headlines but the threat of superweeds should also sound alarm bells, researchers suggest.Just as s...

    Plants June 13, 2019
  • Orchids shun the sun, sacrificing genes

    Not all plants rely on photosynthesis for nutrition.

    The green of a plant’s leaves reminds us that the energy that fuels life on Earth ultimately comes from the sun throu...

    Plants May 15, 2019
  • The roots of all goodness

    Plants fuel their own microbial populations, research shows.

    The roots of Thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) produce at least 50 previously undescribed molecules, all belonging t...

    Plants May 9, 2019
  • Urban trees grow fast and die young

    US study raises questions over the long-term benefits of current city greening schemes. Mark Brue...

    Trees in urban streets grow more quickly but die faster than those in rural forests, resulting in a net loss of carbo...

    Plants May 8, 2019
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