All posts

Trick or treat: plants that beat up bees

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The orchid family, Orchidaceae, contains over 750 genera, yet it is the Catasetum genus that has earned a description from non other than Darwin himself as ‘the most remarkable of all Orchids’. Probably because, while other pollinated plants like to offer their pollinators a treat, Catasetum orchids also bring the trick.… Read more

There might have been a wasp in your fig – but don’t throw it away!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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

Bonnie Tyler AI – Wormwood, Single names, Smart Birds

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Joram is tired, Tegan has been singing – a perfect storm for some (plant) science! We discuss the story of Artemisia absinthium, talk about the woes of single-named scientists and bring you the hottest science facts from the last seven days. … Read more

Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me, Plant Edition

Reading Time: 5 minutes

They’ve been described to “…capture the imagination as such behaviors are unexpected in otherwise often quiescent creatures” and to “…turn plants into aggressors against animals, trapping and devouring them”.

Today, we’re talking about the touch response of plants.… Read more

A coat for land plants

Reading Time: 4 minutes

To survive on land, plants need to be able to control water loss. For most plants, this involves the simple act of coating their leaves in wax coat. Now, researchers shed light on when plants evolved this trait. … Read more

Muriel Howorth and the Atomic Garden

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In a move that seems almost prescient in understanding the role of mutagenesis in crop improvement and basic biology, a group of ‘Atomic Gardeners’ triumphed the potential for atomic energy to be a force for good, just a few years after the devastation of WWII….… Read more

Enzymes are stupid – C4 trees, forest sounds, women saving bird research

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Hey! Ho! Hey! Ho! It’s a new episode of your favourite podcast about plants and pipettes. This week, we’re talking about C3 and C4 trees, the sounds of forests and how women disrupted bird research. Let’s go!

Paper of the week

Sophie N R Young, Lawren Sack, Margaret J Sporck-Koehler, Marjorie R Lundgren, Why is C4 photosynthesis so rare in trees?, Journal of Experimental Botany

Please note: we’re using ‘malate’ for ease of communication. We get that it doesn’t always have to be malate, there are other 4 carbon compounds that can do the job as well.… Read more

How the Cucumber got its Curve

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One of the stupidest arguments of the past years (and oh, there have been some strong contenders!), was the debate about the EU trying to regulate how bendy bananas were. Today we discuss a much more rational question: how the cucumber got its curve.

Trust us guys, there’s barely any politics in there!… Read more