Trees, is there anything they can’t do? Doubtful. Let’s see: producing half the world’s oxygen, providing habitat for millions of species, creating the soil and timber resources we depend on. Not bad. But all that’s just scratching the surface. As new research shows, there’s a lot more going on beneath the forest…
Unlike humans, plants only react to infections when they sustain specific kinds of damage. Now we know that the solution is to get them to produce special “decoy” proteins that can be damaged, in order to get the plant to spring into action.
The Venus flytrap is perhaps the best known of carnivorous plants — those that get essential nutrients from trapping and consuming insects, particularly when they can’t get enough from the soil. Now a team of German scientists has discovered that the flytrap can actually count, and this ability is the key to knowing…
Marigolds are popular plants among city planners and commercial landscapers. They’re bright and cheery, they’re easy to grow, and when the bugs come calling, they have a really nasty surprise hidden in their roots.
You need bacteria to help you digest your food and go about your day. It turns out that plants have their own version of this. And one weed is driving out the competition by attacking the gut bacteria of other species.
We now know that climate change is a lot more complicated than the world just getting hotter or colder. It will have all kinds of effects, and scientists studying the African savanna think they’ve found one of them.
It sounds like a bizarre video game mashup, but farmers have reported “zombie” plants since the early 1600s: plants that took on a sickly yellow look and grew strange leaf-like structures or bushy growths instead of flowering and reproducing.
Flower stalls have been embellished, for the last two years, with a special kind of orchid known as the “Big Pink.” Researchers thought it was a hybrid. Turns out it’s totally new to science.
These are horsetails. They are hundred-and-fifty-million-year-old plants and the last of their kind. Instead of seeds, they give off spores. And instead of flying or swimming, these spores use humidity to walk, or even hop, on four little legs.
The Sumatran titan arum’s species name – Amorphophallus titanum – means “giant misshapen penis”. Guess what its flower looks like? At full growth, the flower stands 3 meters high, pulses with heat, and smells like rotting meat. The heat and stench attracts flies and beetles, which pollinate the plant. The whole show…
The Gympie Gympie is an Australian plant with spindly stems and heart-shaped light green leaves. Brushing your hand against it can make you throw up from the pain. Using it as toilet paper has made people shoot themselves. This plant will ruin you.
In 2010, trees removed more than 17 million metric tons of pollution from the air. In doing so, they saved more than $6.8 billion dollars in health care costs associated with pollution-related diseases, like bronchitis and asthma.
Fruits can get their colors from a lot of places. New research suggests that the color preferences of the animals that eat fruit are among the strongest influences on fruit color. It's an assumption scientists have always made, but now they have some evidence to support it.
George Washington Carver is perhaps best known for his work on peanut cultivation, but his botanical research was far more wide-ranging than the one legume for which he'd eventually become famous.
Wood scientists just announced an exciting breakthrough in tree research. They've come up with a way to make more environmentally friendly paper—by genetically modifying trees. And it's not just the paper industry that will benefit.
By day, Rachel Meyer is a plant evolutionary biologist researching crop genomics at NYU. But, by evening and weekend, she is on a mission to get more botany into your cocktail—and she's shared an exclusive new drink recipe with Gizmodo to show how.
Plants that eat metal sound like a biological impossibility. But these hungry little guys exist, sucking tiny bits of toxic metal from the soil. They don't just clean the Earth, either—they can actually mine bits of gold and nickel for use by humans.