"An article last Thursday about a couple’s 704-square-foot home referred incorrectly to the organisms found on the roof. They are plants, which makes them flora, not fauna."
"Scientists say they have stirred plants from a 400-year-long sleep in the Canadian high Arctic."
"It was once the lingua franca of science, used to name animals and plants with precision. But now botanists will no longer be required to provide Latin descriptions of new species. The move is part of a major effort to speed up the process of naming new plants – because in many cases it is feared they might die out before they are officially recognised."
"A plant has killed and 'eaten' a blue tit at a garden nursery in Somerset. Nurseryman Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, from West Pennard, was inspecting his tropical garden when he discovered one of his pitcher plants had trapped the bird. He said he was 'absolutely staggered' to find it had caught the creature. It is believed to be only the second time such a carnivorous plant has been documented eating a bird anywhere in the world."
Earlier today, to absolutely no one's surprise, a Russian court decided to let a state-backed residential development fund proceed with its plan to build houses on a field in Pavlovsk, outside St. Petersburg. The reason this mundane matter even reached a court is that the field is presently inhabited by thousands of rare fruits and berries, better known as the historic gene bank of the Pavlovsk Experimental Station.
What does this mean for those of us who will want jam on our toast even after the apocalypse comes? And what does it mean for Russia, which is having its own apocalypse problem right now?
The second I walked through the entrance of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, I knew I had made the right decision to skip the historic site of ____ (est. 1287), which several of my colleagues opted to visit on a recent Sunday afternoon before a series of 'business meetings' that would occupy us through the duration of our stay.
I can't figure out where I left my goddamn keys, but plants can both learn and remember, so which one of us is the idiot? Me, clearly.
"New research suggests plants not only respond to sound but communicate with each other with ‘clicking’ noises. It is yet more evidence that while they appear to be passively swaying in the breeze, plants are in fact actively communicating with each other in a constant chatter…. Plants are known to grow towards light, and research earlier this year from Exeter University found cabbage plants emitted a volatile gas to warn others of danger such as caterpillars or garden shears. But the researchers say this is the first solid evidence they have their own language of noises, inaudible to human ears."
In the life of any gardener, there comes a day when you're forced to admit that no matter how much you worship a certain plant, it's just not going to work for you. There are any number of reasons this might happen: insufficient light, space, or some other factor that makes your garden not to the plant's liking. In these cases, it's likely you've spent many a precious dollar on such plants, even after all the evidence points conclusively to failure: They looked so healthy and vibrant at the nursery! You want to redeem yourself for the last batch you killed! You forget how demoralizing it was to watch [...]
Scientists in Poland have discovered that plants encode information they get from various types of light and use it to immunize themselves against seasonal blight. Professor Stanislaw Karpinski led a team of biologists at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in shining colored lights on plants and then testing the plants' resistance to disease. Plants have "a specific memory for the light which builds its immunity against pathogens, and it can adjust to varying light conditions," he said to the BBC's Victoria Gill. "So the plants perform a sort of biological light computation, using information contained in the light to immunise themselves against diseases that are prevalent during that [...]
I became obsessed with Corsican mint a few years ago, after seeing a photograph of a courtyard garden, which-if memory serves-featured little more than ten or twelve large white stepping stones magically hovering above a translucent carpet of the Mentha requienii. While I had no desire to impose this kind of 'modern' aesthetic onto my own garden-which was already packed full of similar obsessions-I began to research. The plant, I quickly learned, has a preference for a 'climate zone' of 6 through 9-fairly warm– and though Washington Heights is technically a zone 6A, I find that plants do best if I treat the neighborhood as a zone 5. What [...]
Your wireless router could be murdering your houseplants, but I guess that is better than developing houseplants that have evolved to not only survive but thrive on the radiation from your wireless router until they gain some kind of sentient physicality and strangle you to death in your sleep because they are sick of watching everything you use your wireless router to see. I mean, that is going to happen eventually anyway, but it would be nice if we had a few more years before it did. [Via]
As we head into the late days of November, at least here in the region around New York City, most of the ferns have turned sallow and dry, so that it’s difficult to believe that only a few months ago, they formed a lush, dense carpet of shadowy green on forest floors everywhere. While it’s tempting to be taken in by these superficial signs of frailty and expiration, do not be deceived: those of us who spend time with ferns understand that they are plotting, and one day soon will again rule the world.
Okay, Science: you got us into this mess. (Well, not really. You just made the discoveries. But what was Industrialism gonna do? Not exploit them to the detriment of the planet?) It's up to you to get us out of it. Make us some of those carbon-eating plants.
Brussels Sprouts Definitely Trying To Figure Out Way To Send Wasps To Lay Eggs Inside Humans That Will Eat Us From Within
"Plants are not static or silly. They respond to tactile cues, they recognize different wavelengths of light, they listen to chemical signals, they can even talk." That's Monika Hilker, of the Institute of Biology at the Free University of Berlin, to Natalie Angier in today's Science Times. Like Stevie Wonder, and Michael Pollan, Angier shows how plants demonstrate a sort of will to live that she thinks might give ethical vegetarians pause. (Which is really just kind of mean. Those people are already so hung-up. And the poor Jains.) But the interesting stuff is in the evidence.