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Deliberately making mistakes

Scientists, ultimately, want to understand things. And while true understanding, often comes through patience and skill – months or years of careful observation and measured experimentation – a lot of the time, the fastest way to understand something, is to F*** that something up.… Read more

Atomic Kitten – Spanish Moss, Thekla Resvoll, Mentorship and Gender

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After a week off, we’re back with some cool facts from the world of plants and gulls. Did you know that gulls know your every move? There are probably some on the roof as we speak. They see you when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake. You better not pout, you better not cry. Sea gulls are coming to town. … Read more

The plant that hides from human eyes

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Intense commercial harvesting of the alpine plant Fritillaria delavayi, which is used in traditional chinese medicine, may be driving the selection of duller, more camouflaged plants.… Read more

A decorative image of a sea slug and a fridge filled with chloroplasts

This sea slug steals chloroplasts and keeps them fresh

Reading Time: 7 minutes

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

Some plants are too old for this sh*t

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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

Let it grow – Sorghum spikelets, great paper titles, honest signalling

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It’s good news week! Not only was Trump kicked out of office, we also have major news regarding the Covid and AIDS pandemic. Of course we won’t forget our passion for plants over all that joy, so tag along for a deep dive into the biology of sorghum – plus some cool facts from last week’s science. … Read more

Why do the leaves turn red?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Autumn leaf colours have amazed the public for all of human history… and puzzled scientists for just as long. While the orange, yellow and brown hues of autumn can be easily understood, the stunning reds that some species display remain in question.… Read more

Arabidopsis battles insects before they’re even born

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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