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

  • Sweet bribes for ants are key to crops bearing fruit, study shows
    on June 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Some flowering crops, such as beans and cotton, carefully manage the amount and sweetness of nectar produced on their flowers and leaves, to recruit colonizing ants which deter herbivores. This strategy balances their needs for defense and reproduction. […]

  • Dune ecosystem modelling
    on June 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Acacia longifolia, which is native to Australia, is a species which was cultivated in Portugal primarily to stabilize dunes and as an ornamental plant; now it has spread out uncontrollably in Portugal and into many ecosystems around the world. Using the acacia as an example, researchers show that the location has an effect on interaction with other species. […]

  • Plants sacrifice 'daughters' to survive chilly weather
    on June 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Plants adopt different strategies to survive the changing temperatures of their natural environments. This is most evident in temperate regions where forest trees shed their leaves to conserve energy during the cold season. In a new study, a team of plant biologists found that some plants may selectively kill part of their roots to survive under cold weather conditions. […]

  • Sea sponges stay put with anchors that bend but don't break
    on June 22, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    The anchors that hold Venus' flower basket sea sponges to the ocean floor have an internal architecture that increases their ability to bend, according to a new study. Understanding that natural architecture could inform future human-made materials. […]

  • Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks
    on June 21, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show. […]

  • Algae: The final frontier
    on June 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Algae dominate the oceans that cover nearly three-quarters of our planet, and produce half of the oxygen that we breathe. And yet fewer than 10 percent of the algae have been formally described in the scientific literature, as noted in a new review. […]

  • Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
    on June 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Versatile, light-weight materials that are both strong and resilient are crucial for the development of flexible electronics, such as bendable tablets and wearable sensors. Aerogels are good candidates for such applications, but until now, it's been difficult to make them with both properties. Now, researchers report that mimicking the structure of the 'powdery alligator-flag' plant has enabled them to make a graphene-based aerogel that meets these needs. […]

  • How phytoplankton rule the oceans
    on June 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Photosynthesis is a unique biological process that has permitted the colonization of land and sea by plants and phytoplankton respectively. While the mechanisms of photosynthesis in plants are well understood, scientists are only now beginning to elucidate how the process developed in phytoplankton. […]

  • Mathematical biology tackles destructive plant virus
    on June 20, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Plant diseases pose a serious threat to global food security, especially in developing countries, where millions of people depend on consuming what they harvest. In sub-Saharan Africa, one plant disease in particular -- maize lethal necrosis -- is ravaging one of the region's preferred crops for food, feed and income. But understanding its biology in order to manage the disease is difficult because the disease arises from two viruses interacting -- which is where mathematics comes into play. […]

  • African plant extract offers new hope for Alzheimer's
    on June 20, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    A plant extract used for centuries in traditional medicine in Nigeria could form the basis of a new drug to treat Alzheimer's disease, researchers have found. […]

  • Isolating anti-Alzheimer's compounds in plants
    on June 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Scientists have developed a method to isolate and identify active compounds in plant medicines, which accurately accounts for drug behavior in the body. Using the technique, they have identified several active compounds from Drynaria Rhizome, a traditional plant medicine, which improve memory and reduce disease characteristics in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. […]

  • Is it sometimes OK to cheat?
    on June 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    When both partners benefit from a relationship -- husband and wife or pollinator and flower -- the relationship is known as a mutualism. Sometimes partners do not deliver their side of the bargain while still reaping the rewards. New research shows that unless unfaithful partners are severely punished by the other member of the relationship cheaters may become more common. […]

  • Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Today's soybeans are typically golden yellow, with a tiny blackish mark where they attach to the pod. In a field of millions of beans, nearly all of them will have this look. Occasionally, however, a bean will turn up half-black, with a saddle pattern similar to a black-eyed pea. New research indicates why. […]

  • Grape-based compounds kill colon cancer stem cells in mice
    on June 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Compounds from grapes may kill colon cancer stem cells both in a petri dish and in mice, according to a team of researchers. […]

  • 150-year records gap on Sulawesi ends with five new species in the world's largest tree genus
    on June 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Coming 150 years after the last description from Sulawesi, five new species from the world's largest genus of trees, Syzygium, highlight the extent of unexplored botanical diversity on the Indonesian island. […]

  • New approach to unlock the genetic potential of plant cell wall
    on June 16, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Researchers have unlocked the genetic secrets of plant cell walls, which could help improve the quality of plant-based foods, outlines a new report. […]

  • First few millimeters of the leaf margin identify palm species in a new key to Syagrus
    on June 15, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    An incredible amount of information is contained in the very first few millimeters of the leaflet margin of species in the Neotropical palm genus Syagrus. A new key to the genus proves that by using a simple technique to identify species. […]

  • Plant compound more powerful than AZT against HIV
    on June 15, 2017 at 1:09 am

    A plant found throughout Southeast Asia traditionally used to treat arthritis and rheumatism contains a potent anti-HIV compound more powerful than the drug AZT, according to a new paper. […]

  • Is Palmer amaranth developing traits that make it harder to control?
    on June 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    'Life history' traits may be contributing to crop losses by making Palmer amaranth more aggressive and difficult to control, suggest researchers. […]

  • Charred flowers and the fossil record
    on June 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    One of the main types of fossil used to understand the first flowering plants (angiosperms) are charred flowers. These charcoals were produced in ancient wildfires, and they provide some evidence for the types of plants that grew millions of years ago. However, when fires burn they not only produce charcoal, but they also destroy it. […]

  • Fighting fire blight and detecting Salmonella
    on June 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Researchers have created an effective weapon against the plant disease fire blight and a new method for detection of Salmonella. Both are based on particular viruses that attack only one species of bacteria. […]

  • Lianas stifle tree fruit and seed production in tropical forests
    on June 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Vines compete intensely with trees. Their numbers are on the rise in many tropical forests around the world. A new study shows that lianas prevent canopy trees from producing fruit, with potentially far-reaching consequences for rainforest animals. […]

  • Parasitic nematodes that cause greatest agricultural damage abandoned sex
    on June 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    The nematode worms that cause the world's most devastating crop losses have given up on sexual reproduction and instead rely on their large, duplicated genomes to thrive in new environments, report scientists. […]

  • Fractal planting patterns yield optimal harvests, without central control
    on June 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Bali's famous rice terraces, when seen from above, look like colorful mosaics because some farmers plant synchronously, while others plant at different times. The resulting fractal patterns are rare for human-made systems and lead to optimal harvests without global planning. […]

  • How plants prevent oxidative stress
    on June 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

    When excess light energy is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis, harmful reactive oxygen species are produced. These reactive oxygen species break down important structures such as proteins and membranes, preventing them from functioning properly. Researchers have discovered the system used by plants to prevent oxidative stress and to safely carry out photosynthesis. […]

  • From the somatic cell to the germ cell
    on June 8, 2017 at 11:32 am

    A regulatory pathway that changes the way cells divide in plants has been discovered by a team of researchers. […]

  • Bee buzzes could help determine how to save their decreasing population
    on June 7, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Widespread and effective monitoring of bees could lead to better management of populations; however, tracking bees is tricky and costly. Now, a research team has developed an inexpensive acoustic listening system using data from small microphones in the field to monitor bees in flight. The study shows how farmers could use the technology to monitor pollination and increase food production. […]

  • World's oldest fossil mushroom found
    on June 7, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report. […]

  • Protein target to halt citrus tree disease
    on June 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Researchers may have come a step closer to finding a treatment for a disease called Huanglongbing, or citrus greening, that has been decimating citrus trees in the state. […]

  • Waste not, want not: Byproduct of ethanol industry makes suitable cattle feed supplement
    on June 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Nutritious feed for cattle is complex. As the summer season progresses, grass can become harder to digest. However, researchers found by supplementing with dried distillers' grains, this effect can be minimized. Dried distillers' grains are left over after ethanol production. They are what remains of the ground corn used for fermentation. […]