Botany

Botany News -- ScienceDaily Botany news. Read about the latest research on experimental crops, dramatic changes in forest growth, ancient flowering plants and more.

  • Viruses and aphids that help crops? Scientists think it may be possible
    on August 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Scientists are making an effort to help corn stand up to stress brought on by drought and disease by using viruses and aphids to activate desirable traits. It’s speculative research that could yield new insight into how viruses, insects and plants interact. […]

  • Ray of hope for more abundant wheat crops
    on August 17, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Using infrared gas analyzers connected to a miniature controlled environment chamber, botanists have simulated a sudden increase in sunlight following shade, and measured the time it took for the plant to regain its maximum photosynthesis efficiency and take full advantage of the extra energy from light. They found it took about 15 minutes for photosynthesis to reach maximum efficiency. […]

  • Using barcodes to trace cell development
    on August 16, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    There are various concepts about how blood cells develop. However, they are based almost exclusively on experiments that solely reflect snapshots. Scientists now present a novel technique that captures the process in a dynamic way. Using a 'random generator,' the researchers label hematopoietic stem cells with genetic barcodes that enable them to trace which cell types arise from the stem cell. […]

  • Soil microbes persist through National Mall facelift
    on August 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    It's not every day United States history mixes with microbes in the soil. But when the turf on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was replaced, it offered scientists the opportunity to study changes in the soil microbiome underneath. […]

  • New plant discovered in Shetland
    on August 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Scientists have discovered a new type of plant growing in Shetland -- with its evolution only having occurred in the last 200 years. […]

  • Turning pollen into a low-cost fertilizer
    on August 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    As the world population continues to balloon, agricultural experts puzzle over how farms will produce enough food to keep up with demand. One tactic involves boosting crop yields. Toward that end, scientists have developed a method to make a low-cost, biocompatible fertilizer with carbon dots derived from rapeseed pollen. The study found that applying the carbon dots to hydroponically cultivated lettuce promoted its growth by 50 percent. […]

  • The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves
    on August 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Scientists are exploring how to generate plants that are more drought-resistant as the water supplies decline in major agricultural states. […]

  • Seven complete specimens of new flower, all 100 million years old
    on August 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    A Triceratops or Tyrannosaurus rex bulling its way through a pine forest likely dislodged flowers that 100 million years later have been identified in their fossilized form as a new species of tree. […]

  • Compounds in desert creosote bush could treat giardia, 'brain-eating' amoeba infections
    on August 15, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Researchers have found that compounds produced by the creosote bush, a desert plant common to the Southwestern United States, exhibit potent anti-parasitic activity against the protozoa responsible for giardia infections and an amoeba that causes an often-lethal form of encephalitis. […]

  • Adding silicon to soil to strengthen plant defenses
    on August 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Researchers have examined the addition of silicon to the soil in which plants are grown to help strengthen plants against potential predators. […]

  • Rhapsody in red violet
    on August 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    A new study has now opened the way to numerous potential uses of betalains, the highly nutritious red-violet and yellow pigments known for their antioxidant properties and commonly used as food dyes. […]

  • Probiotics help poplar trees clean up contaminated groundwater
    on August 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Researchers have conducted the first large-scale experiment on a Superfund site using poplar trees fortified with a probiotic -- or natural microbe -- to clean up groundwater contaminated with trichloroethylene, or TCE. […]

  • Trees and shrubs offer new food crops to diversify the farm
    on August 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    What if we could design a landscape that would provide a variety of nutritious foods, high-quality habitat, and ecosystem services, while also delivering a healthy profit to the landowner? According to researchers, it is not only possible, it should be adopted more widely, now. […]

  • The only way is up: Trees help reptiles thrive
    on August 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    If graziers leave trees in place on their land, all types of reptiles will benefit, investigators suggest in a new report. […]

  • Plants love microbes, and so do farmers
    on August 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    The Australian Sunshine Coast's plant diversity has helped researchers confirm that nurture has the upper hand -- at least when it comes to plant microbes. A study of microbial communities necessary for plant development could improve crop and plant yields. […]

  • Biologists discover new mechanisms of protein transport in plant cells
    on August 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Biologists have discovered a previously unknown function of the SH3P2 protein, which plays an important role in the protein transport process of plants. […]

  • Climate change: Silver fir beats Norway spruce and European beech
    on August 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Climate change is making Swiss forests warmer and drier. The trees would have to adapt genetically to the rapidly changing climate to continue flourishing at their current growth location. Yet, they are unlikely to do so in such a short period of time – a single tree generation already takes 100 years or longer. Therefore, the question on how well adapted the trees already are today to the future climate will be crucial for the forests' future. […]

  • First winged mammals from the Jurassic period discovered
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Two 160-million-year-old mammal fossils discovered in China show that the forerunners of mammals in the Jurassic Period evolved to glide and live in trees. With long limbs, long hand and foot fingers, and wing-like membranes for tree-to-tree gliding, Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomylos are the oldest known gliders in the long history of early mammals. […]

  • Incomplete drought recovery may be the new normal
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    The amount of time it takes for an ecosystem to recover from a drought is an important measure of a drought's severity. During the 20th century, the total area of land affected by drought increased, and longer recovery times became more common, according to new research published by Nature by a group of scientists including Carnegie's Anna Michalak and Yuanyuan Fang. […]

  • Multi-nutrient rice against malnutrition
    on August 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Researchers have developed a new rice variety that not only has increased levels of the micronutrients iron and zinc in the grains, but also produces beta-carotene as a precursor of vitamin A. This could help to reduce micronutrient malnutrition, or 'hidden hunger,' which is widespread in developing countries. […]

  • Climate change may confuse plant dormancy cycles
    on August 8, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Perennial plants in the Midwest are well attuned to their surroundings. They hunker down all winter in a dormant state, just waiting for a sign that it’s safe to unfurl their first tender leaves or flower buds. For many plants, the cue is a sustained warming trend, but day length also factors into the dormancy equation. […]

  • Drought-affected trees die from hydraulic failure and carbon starvation
    on August 7, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Drought-caused tree deaths are produced by a combination of hydraulic failure and carbon starvation, shows new research. The finding, based on a meta-analysis by 62 scientists from across the world, will improve predictive models of how trees die in response to heat, drought, and other climate stresses. […]

  • Afforestation with non-native trees alters island soils
    on August 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    A healthy global debate has occurred concerning the benefits of using non-native trees for restoring some aspects of ecosystem function in degraded habitats. In many cases, the stresses associated with establishing seedlings disallow most native tree species from becoming successfully established in harsh planting sites. The tolerant non-native trees enable successes that would otherwise be unachievable. […]

  • Mangroves vital for environmental decontamination
    on August 3, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Mangrove trees, particularly their leaf litter, filter copper out of soil and water in Indonesia. […]

  • DNA provides new insights on the control of invasive Russian knapweed
    on August 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    A recent study sheds new light on the control of Russian knapweed, an invasive plant found in the Western US. […]

  • Cockroach gardeners: Spreading plant seeds across the forest floor
    on August 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Researchers have discovered that cockroaches can disperse seeds like birds and mammals. A variety of seed dispersing animals had been identified, including birds, monkeys, ants, and even slugs, but no cockroaches. This unexpected discovery was made during a study of the seed dispersal mechanism of Monotropastrum humile, a small herb that thrives in the same temperate forests of Japan that the Blattella nipponica cockroach inhabits. […]

  • Light pollution as a new threat to pollination
    on August 2, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Artificial light disrupts nocturnal pollination and leads to a reduced number of fruits produced by the plant. This loss of night time pollination cannot be compensated by diurnal pollinators. The negative impact of artificial light at night on nocturnal pollinators might even propagate further to the diurnal community, as ecologists were able to show. […]

  • Tree-of-heaven's prolific seed production adds to its invasive potential
    on August 2, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Tree-of-heaven -- or Ailanthus -- is an invasive triple threat, according to a team of plant pathologists. The species produces seeds early in its lifespan, tends to make millions of viable seeds during its life, and continues to produce seeds for decades and, in some cases, for more than a century. […]

  • Microscopic body snatchers infest our oceans
    on August 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Predatory microbes which enslave prey to acquire photosynthetic capability are abundant in our oceans, according to new research. […]

  • What flowers looked like 100 million years ago
    on August 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Flowering plants with at least 300,000 species are by far the most diverse group of plants on Earth. They include almost all the species used by people for food, medicine, and many other purposes. However, flowering plants arose only about 140 million years ago, quite late in the evolution of plants, toward the end of the age of the dinosaurs, but since then have diversified spectacularly. No one knows exactly how this happened, and the origin and early evolution of flowering plants and especially their flowers still remains one of the biggest enigmas in biology, almost 140 years after Charles Darwin called their rapid rise in the Cretaceous "an abominable mystery". […]