Sunflowers may look like the sun if you squint your eyes a bit, but they also do this weird thing where they turn to face the sun, hence the name. But how and why these plants move over the course of a day has stumped scientists for over a century.
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…
No, it's not hipster Cthulhu. Known as "honey fungus," this huge underground organism is the world's biggest living thing. And its life cycle is incredible.
With its small bright green leaves and dangling, pearl-white flowers, Raven's Manzanita is instantly recognizable—except that nobody sees it anymore. Botanists won't disclose the location of the last known wild specimen in California. They've concluded that secrecy is the best way to protect rare species.
Here's a terrifying experiment that will haunt your dreams, especially as winter comes on. You know those picturesque holiday cards that show pine trees in the snow? Those trees conceal literal death traps.
Within 30 years, it's likely that farmers will be battling deadly crop pests that they've never seen before. Pests are evolving and entering new regions in greater numbers than ever — and our worst adversary is likely to be fungus, which could destroy whole harvests and wreak havoc with our food supplies.
Beneath our feet, plants are locked in a slow-motion struggle for the elements necessary for survival: water, sunlight, and nutrition. But some plants have learned to game the system, stealing water and nutrients from their neighbors. Some of these parasites even steal genetic material.
Most people don't have very strong feelings about flowers, unless they are incredibly beautiful or smell really good. But it turns out that flowers represent a major technological advance for plants, and evolution has generated some pretty unimaginably weird specimens.
Generally speaking, plants get filed under the "boring" category. Occasionally, they smell nice, look pretty, or provide some tasty food, but that's about it. Until you realize that these immobile life forms are engaged in a terrifying daily battle that involves theft, slavery, eavesdropping — and explosives.
Carbon fiber is one of the strongest and most resilient materials on the market, used in everything from car frames to body armor. It's also incredibly expensive to make. But one plant biologist says that in fifty years, we'll be growing it on trees.
A patch of moss that lay buried beneath the antarctic ice for over 1,500 years has been successfully revived by scientists, who say that it is now the oldest living plant ever recorded.
Researchers from the John Innes Centre have shown that plants are capable of doing basic division — a calculation that helps them consume their starch reserves at a steady pace during nighttime.
In the small, freshwater streams of South Dakota, a horrible menace is creeping along the rockbeds. Known as rock snot, it's a form of algae that clings to rocks and spreads rapidly until it takes over the entire ecosystem of the stream, often killing off local plants and microbes. The stuff has spread from North…
The KinnowLS mandarin orange, pictured at right, is incredibly sweet, has almost no seeds, a skin so thin it's easily peeled, and can grow in the desert. And it's a mutant created almost the same way Hulk was.
The lovely scent of cut grass is the reek of plant anguish: When attacked, plants release airborne chemical compounds. Now scientists say plants can use these compounds almost like language, notifying nearby creatures who can "rescue" them from insect attacks.
When every crop has to be licensed from patent owners like Monsanto, only those practiced in the art of pirate agriculture will have reasonably-priced food. This gorgeous series of photographs from Mendocino's pot harvest might be a glimpse of that future.
Flowering plants go through a complicated double-fertilization process that involves a lot of sperm. But until today, researchers hadn't fully understood the genetic mechanism behind plant sperm production (pictured) and how flowers have sex.
You might already know about the glowing mushrooms of Japan. Every spring, the rains cause bioluminescent fungi to peep out from tree trunks and forest floors. For years scientists believed that these rare mushrooms grew nowhere else in the world. But now the glowers turn out to thrive in the forests of Brazil, too.…