My bees bring all the sugar to the flower
The sound of insects flying next to my ear has never excited me in a good way. The sound usually triggers an intense reaction defined by hand waving, jumping and squealing like a grown man. This is one of the many ways you can tell that I’m not a flower, because if I were, I’d get sweeter by the minute as soon as that buzz appears.… Read more
This superhero protein will fight anaemia
I like plants a lot – especially when I can eat them. A purely plant based diet, however, might not include enough iron to stay healthy (although not necessarily). New research could change that. … Read more
Simple Things* #9
Green living things can’t move to one another like animals do to make more of themselves. So, they use smaller animals to help them. Green living things have cups at the end of their stick-like bodies, and these cups have colors and smells that make small animals want to come to them. A green living thing puts some special stuff that sticks to things at the end of long tiny sticks in the middle of the cups. This special stuff is important to make more of the green living thing.… Read more
A mysterious molecular sunscreen protects photosynthesis
Change is a good thing but it can lead to problems. Like when you change your greenhouse to a nicer one – what if your plants don’t like it? Or worse, what if they like it so much that they don’t behave like you’re used to? Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, made that experience and used it to uncover a mysterious molecular sunscreen. … Read more
The hard truth about soft fruit
During these cold winter months I long for the sensation of biting into a ripe peach or a deliciously soft strawberry. It is possible to get my hands on some fruit now, however, they are certainly not as mouth-watering as in summer. They are hard, and sour and make me miserable. … Read more
This sea slug steals chloroplasts and keeps them fresh
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
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
Arabidopsis battles insects before they’re even born
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.
Yep, we’re a little grossed out too.… Read more
It could be witchweed, some evil witchweed
We’ve now entered the season where you might just expect the occasional witch at your front door. Instead of leading to panic, the meeting leads to the exchange of sucrose laden gifts for spooky performances – all at a safe distance, of course. For the crop sorghum, however, a witch at the front door leads to a much more drastic fate: death. … Read more
There might have been a wasp in your fig – but don’t throw it away!
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