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    Plant records: Can a plant be too trusting?

    Name: Orchids Scientific name: Family: Orchidaceae Known for: Beauty, epiphytism, providing vanilla flavouring, tiny seeds, mycorrhizae, deceptive pollination, mycoheterotrophy, medicinal usage, vegetating Krakatoa… Record broken: The world’s most trusting plant… The orchid family, the Orchidaceae, is one of the biggest flowering plant families with an estimated number of species ranging from 26,460 [Maarten Christenhusz et […] More

  • Reproductive differentiation into sexual and apomictic cytotypes
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    Reproductive differentiation into sexual and apomictic cytotypes

    Mechanisms enabling the maintenance of sexual and apomictic modes of seed formation in sympatry are poorly understood. Dobeš et al. study populations of Potentilla puberula representing various combinations of five polyploid cytotypes (tetraploid–octoploid) and use a flow cytometric seed screen to calculate the male genomic contribution to the embryo and endosperm. They find a rare […] More

  • Maize (Corn) ears in China. Photo: Eloise Phipps, CIMMYT
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    Maize seed ‘Feed me’ gene identified

    Unlike ‘Audrey 2’ – the plant which ate members of the cast from ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ (botanically suspect but with some good songs) – the maize seed grows on the cob by extracting goodies from the mother plant. YouTube has a great video of a production of Little Shop of Horrors: Feed me Seymour […] More

  • Apomixis is not prevalent in a high-alpine ecosystem
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    Apomixis is not prevalent in a high-alpine ecosystem

    `Apomixis is not prevalent in a high-alpine ecosystem Apomixis (agamospermy) is expected to provide selective advantages in high alpine environments, where conditions tend to be unfavourable for sexual reproduction of flowering plants. Hörandl et al. use flow cytometric seed screening to look for apomixis in 14 species typical for the glacier regions of the European Alps, […] More