Rhinoceros and Anthoceros are two very different things

If you had asked me two weeks ago how to pronounce Anthoceros, I would have confidently (or, as confident as I ever am with these naming things) replied: AnthoCERos. Hard push on the ‘cer’.

But if Anthoceros means ‘flower horn’, and has the same etymological roots as the ‘nose horned’ Rhinoceros, well then, shouldn’t I be pronouncing it AnTHOceros?

While the recently published Anthoceros genome didn’t manage to answer this question for me, it did touch on some other cool facts about this long-neglected group of plant.… Read more

Faced with fire- how some plants beat the burn

We’ve been thinking a lot about the Australian bushfires recently.

In case you’ve missed it, the 2019-2020 fire season in Australia has been absolutely catastrophic, with nearly 18 million hectares burned. Hand-in-hand with this horror, is the loss of houses and infrastructure, native animals and plant biodiversity, and even human lives.

But recently, good-news articles have started to appear, celebrating the return of signs of life in Australia’s char-burned bushlands. So today, we wanted to take a break from discussing the fires themselves- which are still ongoing-, and instead look at some of the amazing mechanisms that Australian plants use to beat the burn.… Read more

The salty structural changes of mRNA

When you think of RNA, you might tend to think of a text-book perfect straight lines of As, Us, Cs and Gs. But the reality is, that within a living cell, RNA dances as a complex structure, full of twirls and loops. And when plants (and presumably other organisms – but this blog is about plants) are challenged with changing conditions, those structures begin to twist and change…… Read more

Global Biodiversity Hotspots- Defined by Plants

Sometimes, when I think about conservation, the world seems all kinds of bleak.

Ecosystems are being damaged, plants and animals are dying, and the indirect human impact of the climate crisis only serves to accelerate the effects of direct environmental destruction. There isn’t an easy solution to it all – or at least not one that we’ve yet decided as a global society to take. … Read more

Our plant science picks for 2019

Well here we are, at the end of the… tennies?

Here’s our list of Big Stuff that happened in the world of plant science in 2019. We’ve probably missed a few, so let us know in the comments what you think was big this year.… Read more

Advent Day 18-Brits and Brussel Sprouts

It began with a Christmas Card, which only caught my eye because of the Penguins.* But the penguins were holding a small placard – the protesting kind, and the placard read ‘down with sprouts’.

*Penguins are the greatest. It goes Plants, Cats, Penguins. Although some penguins are probably even better than some cats.

I didn’t understand, but I was hooked… and soon I started seeing sprouts everywhere in London. Not just small ‘sprout trees’ sold at the farmers’ market, but also sprouts on Christmas wrapping paper, and even a shiny sprout Christmas ornament, not unlike the infamous ‘German’ Pickle.Read more

Advent Day 17- The Yule Cat

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading up on the various Christmas traditions of different cultures in search for some inspo for this Advent Calendar. And I think I’ve found my favourite.… Read more