Change is a good thing but it can lead to problems. Like when you change your greenhouse to a nicer one – what if your plants don’t like it? Or worse, what if they like it so much that they don’t behave like you’re used to? Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, made that experience and used it to uncover a mysterious molecular sunscreen. … Read more
During these cold winter months I long for the sensation of biting into a ripe peach or a deliciously soft strawberry. It is possible to get my hands on some fruit now, however, they are certainly not as mouth-watering as in summer. They are hard, and sour and make me miserable. … Read more
In biology class back in high school, I learned that plants do photosynthesis and animals don’t. But for some years now, researchers have been amazed by an exception to this rule: sea slugs that contain chloroplasts, the sub-cellular plant compartments where photosynthesis takes place. Are animals on the path to become photosynthetic?… Read more
I will use this post on plant biology to complain about getting old and becoming more easily irritated. Age affects us all. But if your knees are aching and your back is sore, well!, at least you can rest assured that plants suffer from age, too. … Read more
Plants are great at recognising what’s going on around them. They have built in temperature sensors and timers, they know what is up (and what is down), and they’ve worked out how to reach for and follow the sun’s light. Plants recognise when it’s winter, can tell if insects nibble on them, and wince in slow motion when researchers touch them.
Now, researchers have discovered yet another thing that plants can feel: when they’re covered in insect eggs.… Read more
We’ve now entered the season where you might just expect the occasional witch at your front door. Instead of leading to panic, the meeting leads to the exchange of sucrose laden gifts for spooky performances – all at a safe distance, of course. For the crop sorghum, however, a witch at the front door leads to a much more drastic fate: death. … Read more
Although we like to focus our attention on plants, we can’t really discuss their life without also discussing the way plants interact with their pollinators. There are plenty of weird relationships out there, including those involving flowers that fake it, and stories of nectar thieves. But one of the weirdest has got to be the case of figs and self-sacrificing wasps.… Read more