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    Trichomes related to an unusual method of water retention and protection of the stem apex in an arid zone perennial species

    The adaptation strategies of plants to harsh environments are among the most interesting subjects in plant biology. Several studies have investigated the role played by trichomes in protecting plant organs in these conditions. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Lusa et al. report an unusual way of protecting the stem apex of Lychnophora […] More

  • Population persistence of a displaced shrub
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    Population persistence of a displaced shrub

    Olearia flocktoniae (Asteraceae) is an endangered shrub that was passively translocated from its natural ecosystem where it has since gone extinct. Gross and Mackay use two decades of demographic monitoring and a seed bank study in a sensitivity analysis in order to reveal vulnerabilities in the life cycle. They find that seed production is high […] More

  • Mating system and adaptive potential for leaf morphology
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    Mating system and adaptive potential for leaf morphology

    Self-pollination is often regarded as an evolutionary dead end, yet many selfers seem capable of retaining high adaptive potential. Andersson and Ofori perform experimental crosses within an initially self-sterile population of Crepis tectorum to produce an outbred and inbred progeny population, and find that a shift to selfing promotes adaptive potential for leaf morphology by […] More

  • Competition/colonization syndrome mediated by germination timing
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    Competition/colonization syndrome mediated by germination timing

    The competition–colonization trade-off in plants is considered to result from variation in resource partitioning. Using different populations of the heterocarpic species Crepis sancta (Asteraceae), Dubois and Cheptou determine that non-dispersing achenes germinate earlier than dispersing achenes, and that this early germination provides a strong fitness advantage in the context of intraspecific competition. They find that, in […] More

  • Molecular phylogenetics of Eurasian Aster
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    Molecular phylogenetics of Eurasian Aster

    The classification and phylogeny of Eurasian (EA) Aster remain poorly resolved. Li et al. use nrDNA ITS, and ETS and cpDNA trnL-F sequences to delimit EA Aster sensu stricto and to elucidate phylogenetic relationships of the species and its segregate genera. The results show that EA Aster s.s. is both paraphyletic and polyphyletic, with ten genera […] More

  • Pollen–pistil interactions in the Asteraceae (Review)
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    Pollen–pistil interactions in the Asteraceae (Review)

    Pollen–pistil interactions are an essential prelude to fertilization in angiosperms, and self-incompatibility (SI) is the best understood of these at a molecular level. Allen et al. review studies in the Asteraceae, and consider that recent cellular and molecular work in Senecio squalidus (Oxford ragwort) have challenged the belief that sporophytic SI and pollen–pistil interactions in […] More

  • Image: Steve Nova/Wikimedia Commons.
    in

    Hay fever: another straw to clutch at?

    As the northern hemisphere’s hay fever season gets into full swing, there is encouraging news from Mother Nature’s own medicine cabinet. Hay fever – ‘seasonal allergic rhinitis’ – is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways, and the most common atopic disease in the industrialised world (10–25 % of that population are martyrs to the malady). […] More

  • Seed persistence and germination traits
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    Seed persistence and germination traits

    Seed persistence in the soil under field conditions is issue for the maintenance of local plant populations and the restoration of plant communities. Saatkamp et al. compare seed survival in a burial experiment with data on various germination traits for a range of Mediterranean annual plants. Germination rate, light requirement for germination and germination in response […] More

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