The flowers of calico aster are small compared to most Symphyotrichum species. They have an average of 7–15 short white ray florets, which are rarely tinted pink or purple. The flower centers, composed of disk florets, begin as cream to yellow and often become pink, purple, or brown as they mature. There are roughly 8–16 disk florets, each with five lobes that strongly reflex (bend backwards) when open. The mostly hairless leaves have a characteristic hairy midrib on their back faces, and branching is usually horizontal or in what can appear to be a zigzag pattern. Flower heads grow along one side of the branches and sometimes in clusters at the ends. (Full article...)
Isopogon anemonifolius, commonly known as broad-leaved drumsticks, is a shrub of the family Proteaceae that is native only to eastern New South Wales in Australia. It occurs naturally in woodland, open forest, and heathland on sandstone soils. I. anemonifolius usually ranges between one and two metres in height, and is generally smaller in exposed heathland. Its leaves are divided and narrow, though broader than those of the related Isopogon anethifolius, and have a purplish tinge during the cooler months. The yellow flowers appear during late spring or early summer and are displayed prominently. They are followed by round grey cones, which give the plant its common name drumsticks. The small hairy seeds are found in the old flower parts.
A long-lived plant reaching an age of up to 60 years, I. anemonifolius resprouts from its woody base, known as a lignotuber, after bushfire. Seedlings appear in the year following a fire. Although I. anemonifolius was collected by Daniel Solander in 1770, it was not described until 1796 by Richard Salisbury. Several varieties have been named, though none are now recognised as distinct. It was first cultivated in the United Kingdom in 1791. I. anemonifolius grows readily in the garden if located in a sunny or part-shaded spot with sandy soil and good drainage. (Full article...)
One of the most recently described Banksia species, it was probably seen by Edward John Eyre in 1841, but was not collected until 1973, and was only recognised as a distinct species in 1988. There has been very little research on the species since then, so knowledge of its ecology and cultivation potential is limited. It is placed in Banksia ser. Cyrtostylis, alongside its close relative, the well-known and widely cultivated B. media (southern plains banksia). (Full article...)
The species was first collected by Humboldt and Bonpland on the outskirts of Mina de Morán in the Sierra de Pachuca of the modern-day Mexican state of Hidalgo on their Latin American expedition of 1799–1804. Based on these collections, Humboldt, Bonpland and Carl Sigismund Kunth described this species in Nova Genera et Species Plantarum in 1817. The extremely variable species has been redefined at least twice since, while several new species have been segregated from it based on various geographical or morphological distinctions, although the legitimacy of some of these is still debated. P. moranensis remains the most common and most widely distributed member of the Section Orcheosanthus. It has long been cultivated for its carnivorous nature and attractive flowers, and is one of the most common butterworts in cultivation. (Full article...)
Isopogon anethifolius, commonly known as narrow-leaf drumsticks or narrow-leafed drumsticks, is a shrub in the family Proteaceae. The species is found only in coastal areas near Sydney in New South Wales, and to the immediate west. It occurs naturally in woodland, open forest and heathland on sandstone soils. An upright shrub, it can reach to 3 m (9.8 ft) in height, with terete leaves that are divided and narrow. The yellow flowers appear in the Spring, from September to December, and are prominently displayed. They are followed by round grey cones, which give the plant its common name of drumsticks. The small hairy seeds are found in the old flower parts.
Isopogon anethifolius regenerates after bushfire by resprouting from its woody base, known as a lignotuber, as well as from seed. It was described by Richard Salisbury in 1796, and was first grown in the United Kingdom the same year. One of the easiest members of the genus Isopogon to grow in cultivation, I. anethifolius grows readily in the garden if located in a sunny or part-shaded spot with sandy soil and good drainage. (Full article...)
Epacris impressa, also known as common heath, is a plant of the heath family, Ericaceae, that is native to southeast Australia (the states of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales). French botanist Jacques Labillardière collected the species in 1793 and described it in 1805. Four forms have been identified, but no subspecies are recognised. Growing in heathland, shrubland or open forest, it is generally a small shrub around 0.5 to 1 m (1 ft 8 in to 3 ft 3 in) tall, with small stiff leaves. The red, pink or white tube-like flowers appear from late autumn to early spring. Honeyeater birds, particularly the eastern spinebill, feed upon the nectar of the flowers. It regenerates after bushfire by seed or by resprouting.
A highly regarded garden plant, the common heath was first cultivated in England in 1825; over seventy named cultivars have been developed, most of which have now vanished. A pink-flowered form, often referred to as "pink heath", is the floral emblem of the state of Victoria. Epacris impressa has proven a difficult plant to propagate reliably, which has limited its use in horticulture and revegetation. It grows best in well-drained but moist soil in a semishaded position. (Full article...)
A cabbage generally weighs between 500 to 1,000 grams (1 to 2 lb). Smooth-leafed, firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed purple cabbages and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colours being rarer. Under conditions of long sunny days, such as those found at high northern latitudes in summer, cabbages can grow quite large. , the heaviest cabbage was 62.71 kilograms (138 lb 4 oz). Cabbage heads are generally picked during the first year of the plant's life cycle, but plants intended for seed are allowed to grow a second year and must be kept separate from other cole crops to prevent cross-pollination. Cabbage is prone to several nutrient deficiencies, as well as to multiple pests, and bacterial and fungal diseases. (Full article...)
In nature, B. sceptrum grows in deep yellow or pale red sand in tall shrubland, commonly on dunes, being found as a shrub to 5 metres (16 ft) high, though often smaller in exposed areas. It is killed by fire and regenerates by seed, the woody follicles opening with fire. B. sceptrum is one of the most striking yellow-flowered banksias of all. Its tall bright yellow spikes, known as inflorescences, are terminal and well displayed. Flowering is in summer, mainly December and January, though flowers are occasionally seen at other times. (Full article...)
Aiphanes is a genus of spinypalms which is native to tropical regions of South and Central America and the Caribbean. There are about 26 species in the genus (see below), ranging in size from understorey shrubs with subterranean stems to subcanopy trees as tall as 20 metres (66 ft). Most have pinnately compound leaves (leaves which are divided into leaflets arranged feather-like, in pairs along a central axis); one species has entire leaves. Stems, leaves and sometimes even the fruit are covered with spines. Plants flower repeatedly over the course of their lifespan and have separate male and female flowers, although these are borne together on the same inflorescence. Although records of pollinators are limited, most species appear to be pollinated by insects. The fruit are eaten by several birds and mammals, including at least two species of amazon parrots.
Persoonia linearis, commonly known as the narrow-leaved geebung, is a shrub native to New South Wales and Victoria in eastern Australia. It reaches 3 m (9.8 ft), or occasionally 5 m (16 ft), in height and has thick, dark grey papery bark. The leaves are, as the species name suggests, more or less linear in shape, and are up to 9 cm (3.5 in) long, and 0.1 to 0.7 cm (0.039 to 0.276 in) wide. The small yellow flowers appear in summer, autumn and early winter (December to July), followed by small green fleshy fruit known as drupes. Within the genus Persoonia, it is a member of the Lanceolata group of 58 closely related species. P. linearis interbreeds with several other species where they grow together.
Adiantum viridimontanum growing in a dunite roadcut
Adiantum viridimontanum, commonly known as Green Mountain maidenhair fern, is a rare fern found only in outcrops of serpentine rock in New England and Eastern Canada. The leaf blade is cut into finger-like segments, themselves once-divided, which are borne on the outer side of a curved, dark, glossy rachis (the central stalk of the leaf). These finger-like segments are not individual leaves, but parts of a single compound leaf. The "fingers" may be drooping or erect, depending on whether the individual fern grows in shade or sunlight. Spores are borne under false indusia (rolled flaps of tissue) at the edge of the subdivisions of the leaf, a characteristic unique to the genus Adiantum.
Until 1991, A. viridimontanum was grouped with the western maidenhair fern, A. aleuticum, which grows both in western North America and as a disjunct on serpentine outcrops in eastern North America. At one time, A. aleuticum itself was classified as a variety (A. pedatum var. aleuticum) of the northern maidenhair fern, A. pedatum. However, after several years of study, botanist Cathy Paris recognized that A. aleuticum was a distinct species, and that some of the specimens that had been attributed to that taxon (group of organisms) were a third, hybrid species intermediate between A. pedatum and A. aleuticum. She named the new species A. viridimontanum for the site of its discovery in the Green Mountains in Vermont; it has since been located in Quebec and in one site on serpentine in coastal Maine. (Full article...)
Its aromatic, "labrusca" flavor is similar to that of Concord, but mellowed by the mild, sweet taste from Thompson Seedless. Thomcord grows well in hot, dry climates, ripens between late July and mid-August, and tolerates powdery mildew. It is a productive variety, yielding an average of 15.1 kg (33 lb) of grapes per vine, but has produced as much as 30 to 32 kg (66 to 71 lb) per vine in grower trials. The berries weigh between 2.72 and 3.38 g (0.096 and 0.119 oz) and have a medium-thick, blue-black skin that adheres to the fruit, unlike Concord, which has a thick skin that can slip off the pulp easily. The aborted seeds in the fruit body are relatively small, but larger than those in Thompson Seedless. (Full article...)
Banksia sessilis, commonly known as parrot bush, is a species of shrub or tree in the plantgenusBanksia of the family Proteaceae. It had been known as Dryandra sessilis until 2007, when the genus Dryandra was sunk into Banksia. The Noongar peoples know the plant as budjan or butyak. Widespread throughout southwestWestern Australia, it is found on sandy soils over laterite or limestone, often as an understorey plant in open forest, woodland or shrubland. Encountered as a shrub or small tree up to 6 m (20 ft) in height, it has prickly dark green leaves and dome-shaped cream-yellow flowerheads. Flowering from winter through to late spring, it provides a key source of food—both the nectar and the insects it attracts—for honeyeaters in the cooler months, and species diversity is reduced in areas where there is little or no parrot bush occurring. Several species of honeyeater, some species of native bee, and the European honey bee seek out and consume the nectar, while the long-billed black cockatoo and Australian ringneck eat the seed. The life cycle of Banksia sessilis is adapted to regular bushfires. Killed by fire and regenerating by seed afterwards, each shrub generally produces many flowerheads and a massive amount of seed. It can recolonise disturbed areas, and may grow in thickets.
Banksia sessilis has a somewhat complicated taxonomic history. It was collected from King George Sound in 1801 and described by Robert Brown in 1810 as Dryandra floribunda, a name by which it was known for many years. However, Joseph Knight had published the name Josephia sessilis in 1809, which had precedence due to its earlier date, and the specific name was formalised in 1924. Four varieties are recognised. It is a prickly plant with little apparent horticultural potential; none of the varieties are commonly seen in cultivation. A profuse producer of nectar, B. sessilis is valuable to the beekeeping industry. (Full article...)
A rare plant, Banksia aculeata is found in gravelly soils in elevated areas. Native to a habitat burnt by periodic bushfires, it is killed by fire and regenerates from seed afterwards. In contrast to other Western Australian banksias, it appears to have some resistance to the soil-borne water mouldPhytophthora cinnamomi. (Full article...)
Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods. Plant genomes can be engineered by physical methods or by use of Agrobacterium for the delivery of sequences hosted in T-DNA binary vectors. In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop. Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation.
Farmers have widely adopted GM technology. Acreage increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 185.1 million hectares in 2016, some 12% of global cropland. As of 2016, major crop (soybean, maize, canola and cotton) traits consist of herbicide tolerance (95.9 million hectares) insect resistance (25.2 million hectares), or both (58.5 million hectares). In 2015, 53.6 million ha of GM maize were under cultivation (almost 1/3 of the maize crop). GM maize outperformed its predecessors: yield was 5.6 to 24.5% higher with less mycotoxins (−28.8%), fumonisin (−30.6%) and thricotecens (−36.5%). Non-target organisms were unaffected, except for Braconidae, represented by a parasitoid of European corn borer, the target of Lepidoptera active Bt maize. Biogeochemical parameters such as lignin content did not vary, while biomass decomposition was higher. (Full article...)
When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap prepares to close, snapping shut only if another contact occurs within approximately twenty seconds of the first strike. Triggers may occur with a tenth of a second of contact. The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against wasting energy by trapping objects with no nutritional value, and the plant will only begin digestion after five more stimuli to ensure it has caught a live bug worthy of consumption. (Full article...)
Coconuts falling from their trees and striking individuals can cause serious injury to the back, neck, shoulders and head, and are occasionally fatal.
Following a 1984 study on "Injuries Due to Falling Coconuts", exaggerated claims spread concerning the number of deaths by falling coconuts. Falling coconuts, according to urban legend, kill a few people a year. This legend gained momentum after the 2002 work of a noted expert on shark attacks was characterized as saying that falling coconuts kill 150 people each year worldwide. This statistic has often been contrasted with the number of shark-caused deaths per year, which is around five. (Full article...)
Escaped plants are cultivated plants, usually garden plants, that are not originally native to an area, and due to their dispersal strategies, have escaped from cultivation and have settled in the wild and bred there, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Escaped plants are purposefully introduced plants that have naturalized in the wild and can develop into invasive plants, the settlement of which is to be assessed as problematic. Other commonly used terms include escaped garden plant, garden escapee, escaped ornamental or garden refugee.
Some plants are valued as ornamental plants since they are very adaptable and easy to grow, and therefore would escape cultivation and become weedy in various ecosystems with far-reaching ecological and economic consequences. They can also develop into invasive intruders, especially in fragile or unstable ecosystems. Occasionally, their spread can even be traced back to botanical gardens. Therefore, escaped plants are the subject of research in invasion biology. Some plants escaped from cultivation so long ago that they are currently considered roadside plants or wildflowers. (Full article...)
The gymnosperms (pronunciation lit. revealed seeds) are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, Ginkgo, and gnetophytes, forming the clade Gymnospermae, the living members of which are also known as Acrogymnospermae. The term gymnosperm comes from the composite word in Greek: γυμνόσπερμος (γυμνός, gymnos, 'naked' and σπέρμα, sperma, 'seed'), literally meaning 'naked seeds'. The name is based on the unenclosed condition of their seeds (called ovules in their unfertilized state). The non-encased condition of their seeds contrasts with the seeds and ovules of flowering plants (angiosperms), which are enclosed within an ovary. Gymnosperm seeds develop either on the surface of scales or leaves, which are often modified to form cones, or solitary as in yew, Torreya, Ginkgo. Gymnosperm lifecycles involve alternation of generations. They have a dominant diploidsporophyte phase and a reduced haploidgametophyte phase which is dependent on the sporophytic phase. The term "gymnosperm" is often used to refer to various groups of extinct seed plants with an uncertain relationship with modern gymnosperms and angiosperms. In that case, to specify the modern monophyletic group of gymnosperms, the term Acrogymnospermae is sometimes used.
A late Siluriansporangium, artificially colored. Green: A spore tetrad. Blue: A spore bearing a trilete mark – the Y-shaped scar. The spores are about 30–35 μm across.
The evolution of plants has resulted in a wide range of complexity, from the earliest algal mats, through multicellular marine and freshwater green algae, terrestrial bryophytes, lycopods and ferns, to the complex gymnosperms and angiosperms (flowering plants) of today. While many of the earliest groups continue to thrive, as exemplified by red and green algae in marine environments, more recently derived groups have displaced previously ecologically dominant ones; for example, the ascendance of flowering plants over gymnosperms in terrestrial environments.
There is evidence that cyanobacteria and multicellular photosynthetic eukaryotes lived in freshwater communities on land as early as 1 billion years ago, and that communities of complex, multicellular photosynthesizing organisms existed on land in the late Precambrian, around 850 million years ago. (Full article...)
An ethylene signal transduction pathway. Ethylene permeates the cell membrane and binds to a receptor on the endoplasmic reticulum. The receptor releases the repressed EIN2. This then activates a signal transduction pathway which activates regulatory genes that eventually trigger an ethylene response. The activated DNA is transcribed into mRNA which is then translated into a functional enzyme that is used for ethylene biosynthesis.
Ethylene (CH 2=CH 2) is an unsaturatedhydrocarbon gas (alkene) acting naturally as a plant hormone. It is the simplest alkene gas and is the first gas known to act as hormone. It acts at trace levels throughout the life of the plant by stimulating or regulating the ripening of fruit, the opening of flowers, the abscission (or shedding) of leaves and, in aquatic and semi-aquatic species, promoting the 'escape' from submergence by means of rapid elongation of stems or leaves. This escape response is particularly important in rice farming. Commercial fruit-ripening rooms use "catalytic generators" to make ethylene gas from a liquid supply of ethanol. Typically, a gassing level of 500 to 2,000 ppm is used, for 24 to 48 hours. Care must be taken to control carbon dioxide levels in ripening rooms when gassing, as high temperature ripening (20 °C; 68 °F) has been seen to produce CO2 levels of 10% in 24 hours. (Full article...)
Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowering plants. The Orchidaceae have about 28,000 currently accepted species, distributed in about 763 genera. The determination of which family is larger is still under debate, because verified data on the members of such enormous families are continually in flux. Regardless, the number of orchid species is nearly equal to the number of bony fishes, more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species. (Full article...)
Millets (/ˈmɪlɪts/) are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cerealcrops or grains for fodder and human food. Most species generally referred to as millets belong to the tribe Paniceae, but some millets also belong to various other taxa.
Plant ecology is a subdiscipline of ecology which studies the distribution and abundance of plants, the effects of environmental factors upon the abundance of plants, and the interactions among and between plants and other organisms. Examples of these are the distribution of temperate deciduous forests in North America, the effects of drought or flooding upon plant survival, and competition among desert plants for water, or effects of herds of grazing animals upon the composition of grasslands.
A global overview of the Earth's major vegetation types is provided by O.W. Archibold. He recognizes 11 major vegetation types: tropical forests, tropical savannas, arid regions (deserts), Mediterranean ecosystems, temperate forest ecosystems, temperate grasslands, coniferous forests, tundra (both polar and high mountain), terrestrial wetlands, freshwater ecosystems and coastal/marine systems. This breadth of topics shows the complexity of plant ecology, since it includes plants from floating single-celled algae up to large canopy forming trees. (Full article...)
As a cereal grain, domesticated rice is the most widely consumed staple food for over half of the world's human population, especially in Asia and Africa. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, after sugarcane and maize. Since sizable portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important food crop with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally. (Full article...)
Hypericum calycinum is a prostrate or low-growing shrub species of the genus Hypericum (Hypericaceae), indigenous to southeast Europe and southwest Asia. It is a low, creeping, woody shrub to about 1 m tall and 1–2 m wide. The solitary flowers are 3–5 cm in diameter, a rich yellow, with five petals and numerous yellow stamens.
Dracophyllum arboreum, commonly known as Chatham Island grass tree and tarahinau (Moriori), is a species of tree in the heath family Ericaceae. Endemic to the Chatham Islands of New Zealand, it reaches a height of 18 m (60 ft) and has leaves that differ between the juvenile and adult forms.
D. arboreum has wide light green leaves in its juvenile form, which become thin needles as it gains maturity. Flowering occurs from November through to February, yielding small white flowers which later become tiny brown fruit. It inhabits many different types of vegetation communities from near sea level to 270 m (886 ft), including swamps, cliffs, bogs, and shrublands. It has a range restricted to three Islands some 800 km (497 mi) east of New Zealand: the Chatham, Pitt, and Rangatira Islands. (Full article...)
Richard Buxton (15 January 1786 – 2 January 1865) was a British shoemaker and amateur botanist. Born in Prestwich, Lancashire, to a family who lived in humble circumstances, he taught himself to read, and learned the basic principles of botany. Although living as a pauper for most of his life, in 1849 he published A Botanical Guide to the Flowering Plants, Ferns, Mosses and Algæ, Found Indigenous Within Sixteen Miles of Manchester, which became one of the standard texts on the flora then commonly found in the Manchester area. According to his obituary in the Journal of Botany, British and Foreign, Buxton was one of "nature's gentlemen" and "his true and correct pronunciation of scientific terms have caused many who heard him to believe he was an accomplished classical scholar". He was acknowledged by the geologist Edward William Binney as "the most profound thinker of his class". (Full article...)
The frontispiece to an illustrated 1644 edition, Amsterdam
Historia Plantarum was written some time between c. 350 BC and c. 287 BC in ten volumes, of which nine survive. In the book, Theophrastus described plants by their uses, and attempted a biological classification based on how plants reproduced, a first in the history of botany. He continually revised the manuscript, and it remained in an unfinished state on his death. The condensed style of the text, with its many lists of examples, indicate that Theophrastus used the manuscript as the working notes for lectures to his students, rather than intending it to be read as a book. (Full article...)
A. platyneuron fronds; the smaller frond on the left is sterile, the longer frond on the right is fertile.
Asplenium platyneuron (syn. Asplenium ebeneum), commonly known as ebony spleenwort or brownstem spleenwort, is a fern native to North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It takes its common name from its dark, reddish-brown, glossy stipe and rachis (leaf stalk and midrib), which support a once-divided, pinnate leaf. The fertile fronds, which die off in the winter, are darker green and stand upright, while the sterile fronds are evergreen and lie flat on the ground. An auricle at the base of each pinna points towards the tip of the frond. The dimorphic fronds and alternate, rather than opposite, pinnae distinguish it from the similar black-stemmed spleenwort.
The species was first described in 1753 by Linnaeus as Acrostichum platyneuros, although Linnaeus' type drew on material from several other species as well. It was more commonly called Asplenium ebeneum, a name published by William Aiton in 1789, until the rediscovery and revival of the Linnaean epithet in the late nineteenth century. Several forms and varieties of the species have been described, but few are recognized today; in particular, larger and more fertile specimens, those with more or less toothed leaves, and those with proliferating buds are considered to fall within the natural range of variation of the species, and do not require taxonomic distinction. A. platyneuron f. hortonae, a sterile form with the pinnae cut to toothed pinnules, and f. furcatum, with forking fronds, are still recognized. (Full article...)
Some of the traditional tools of cultivated plant taxonomy including: microscope, camera, flowers and book to assist identification.
Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity. Cultivated plant taxonomists do, however, work with all kinds of plants in cultivation.
Cultivated plant taxonomy is one part of the study of horticultural botany which is mostly carried out in botanical gardens, large nurseries, universities, or government departments. Areas of special interest for the cultivated plant taxonomist include: searching for and recording new plants suitable for cultivation (plant hunting); communicating with and advising the general public on matters concerning the classification and nomenclature of cultivated plants and carrying out original research on these topics; describing the cultivated plants of particular regions (horticultural floras); maintaining databases, herbaria and other information about cultivated plants. (Full article...)
Taputini, a pre-European cultivar of sweet potato (kūmara) from New Zealand
Sweet potato cultivation in Polynesia as a crop began around 1000 AD in central Polynesia. The plant became a common food across the region, especially in Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand, where it became a staple food. By the 1600s in central Polynesia, traditional cultivars were being replaced with hardier and larger varieties from the Americas (a process which began later in New Zealand, in the early 1800s). Many traditional cultivars are still grown across Polynesia, but they are rare and are not widely commercially grown.
It is unknown how sweet potato began to be cultivated in the Pacific, but the current scholarly consensus is that the presence of sweet potato in Polynesia is evidence of Polynesian contact with South America. However, some genetic studies of traditional cultivars suggest that sweet potato was first dispersed to Polynesia before human settlement. (Full article...)
Dracophyllum traversii, commonly known as mountain neinei, grass tree, and pineapple tree is a species of flowering plant in the heath family Ericaceae. It is a deciduous tree (or, in some cases, a shrub) endemic to New Zealand. It reaches a height of 0.2–13 m (0.66–42.65 ft) and has leaves which form tufts at the end of its branches. It has a lifespan between 500 and 600 years.
Similar to some other Dracophyllum species, it has a candelabra-shaped canopy; long, thin, green leaves; and a prominent pyramid-shaped inflorescence. It has tiny red flowers, between 500 and 3000 on each panicle, and equally tiny reddish-brown dry fruit. D. traversii inhabits a variety of forest and shrubland types, from lowland to subalpine, in gorges, on cliffs, and on mountainsides. It has a range that stretches from Waima forest at the top of New Zealand's North Island, down to Otago and Fiordland in the South Island. (Full article...)
Tigridia conchiflora var. 'Watkinsoni', a lily first hybridised by John Horsefield
John Horsefield (18 July 1792 – 6 March 1854) was an English handloom weaver and amateur botanist after whom the daffodilNarcissus 'Horsfieldii' is named. Horsefield had little formal schooling, and acquired most of his botanical knowledge through self-study and involvement in local botanical groups, which provided a venue for working class people to share knowledge, in part by pooling money to purchase books.
Horsefield founded one such society, the Prestwich Botanical Society, and was later president of a larger botanical society covering a wide area around north Manchester. He made several botanical discoveries and cultivated two new plants. A number of his writings about the working class and also some poetry were published, but nothing concerning botany other than in connection with the subject of the working class. He lived most of his life near Whitefield in Lancashire, in dire poverty. At the time of his death he had been married for 42 years and had fathered eleven children. (Full article...)
The Webster Sycamore (alternatively known as the Webster Springs Sycamore and the Big Sycamore Tree) was an American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Long recognized for its size, the Webster Sycamore was the largest living American sycamore tree in West Virginia until its felling in 2010. The tree stood approximately 4.5 miles (7.2 km) east of Webster Springs in Webster County, in a moist flood plain along the banks of the Back Fork Elk River, a tributary stream of the Elk River.
The Webster Sycamore reached a tree height measurement of 112 feet (34 m), a tree crown measurement of 90 feet (27 m), and a circumference of 25.75 feet (7.85 m) at breast height. In 1955, the American Forests Association declared the tree the largest of its species in the United States. It only held the title for three weeks, before the association identified a larger American sycamore in Maryland. Despite losing its national title, the sycamore remained the largest American sycamore in West Virginia. Following a 1963 survey of large trees in West Virginia, the Webster Sycamore was named the second-largest tree after a white oak (Quercus alba) in Randolph County. (Full article...)
Simarouba amara has been studied extensively by scientists in an attempt to understand the tree and also to gain a better understanding of the ecology of the rainforest in general. Many of these studies were conducted on Barro Colorado Island in Panama or at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Of particular interest is how it competes with other species and with individuals of the same species at different stages in its life cycle. The seedlings are normally limited by the amount of light and nutrients found where they are growing and the saplings are considered relatively light demanding compared to other species. Young individuals are more likely to survive when they grow further away from their parents and when there are few other individuals growing near to them, which may be due to them being able to escape diseases. Plant physiologists have investigated how the leaves of the tree differ depending on their location in the forest canopy finding they are thicker in the canopy and thinner in the understory. They have also measured how the water potential of their leaves changes and when their stomata open and close during the day; the findings suggest that rather than closing their stomata to control water loss, it is controlled by the leaf area instead. Population geneticists have examined the way in which its genes vary, at both the local scale and across its range using microsatellites. It is genetically diverse, indicating gene flow occurs between populations and seeds can be dispersed up to 1 km. The leaves of S. amara are eaten by several species of caterpillar, particularly those in the genus Atteva. Several species of termite and ants live on or around the tree and lianas and epiphytes grow on the tree. (Full article...)
Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation—the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects—and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity has helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions. Its widespread popularity has also contributed to criticism of the grape as a "colonizer" that takes over wine regions at the expense of indigenous grape varieties. (Full article...)
Image 7The Devonian marks the beginning of extensive land colonization by plants, which – through their effects on erosion and sedimentation – brought about significant climatic change. (from Evolutionary history of plants)
Image 8Transverse section of a fossil stem of the Devonian vascular plant Rhynia gwynne-vaughani (from Botany)
Image 9Five of the key areas of study within plant physiology (from Botany)
Image 27Echeveria glauca in a Connecticut greenhouse. Botany uses Latin names for identification, here, the specific name glauca means blue. (from Botany)
Image 28The evolution of syncarps. a: sporangia borne at tips of leaf b: Leaf curls up to protect sporangia c: leaf curls to form enclosed roll d: grouping of three rolls into a syncarp (from Evolutionary history of plants)
Image 35A banded tube from the Late Silurian/Early Devonian. The bands are difficult to see on this specimen, as an opaque carbonaceous coating conceals much of the tube. Bands are just visible in places on the left half of the image. Scale bar: 20 μm (from Evolutionary history of plants)
Image 36The food we eat comes directly or indirectly from plants such as rice. (from Botany)
Image 38The Linnaean Garden of Linnaeus' residence in Uppsala, Sweden, was planted according to his Systema sexuale. (from Botany)
Image 391 An oat coleoptile with the sun overhead. Auxin (pink) is evenly distributed in its tip. 2 With the sun at an angle and only shining on one side of the shoot, auxin moves to the opposite side and stimulates cell elongation there. 3 and 4 Extra growth on that side causes the shoot to bend towards the sun. (from Botany)