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  • Monks collecting alms
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    Altruistic plants?

    There’s been a thoughtfulness* of books recently that reflect on aspects of plant intelligence – e.g. Daniel Chamovitz’s What a Plant Knows, Anthony Trewavas’ Plant Behaviour & Intelligence, Richard Karban’s Plant Sensing and Communication , and Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola’s Brilliant Green. Whilst the concept or meaning of plant intelligence is debated, let’s muddy […] More

  • Image: Hu et al., 2014. Annals of Botany 113: 181–189. [http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/113/1.cover-expansion]
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    Your botanical ‘one-stop shop’

    There are plant biology journals that seem to concentrate on a single taxon (you know the ones I mean!) – e.g. The Plant Journal and The Plant Cell. There are others devoted to the molecular biology of plants, such as the aptly named Plant Molecular Biology, and to plant physiology, e.g. Plant Physiology. And all do good […] More

  • Image: Wikimedia Commons.
    in

    Everything benefits from a little lift

    Roots generally absorb water from the soil and transport it above ground to the stem, branches, etc. Where the soil is too dry for water to be absorbed by the roots, the roots might actually lose water to the soil and risk being damaged if that situation persists. However, in some arid conditions where upper […] More

  • Image: Wikimedia Commons.
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    Fire

    Picking up on my elemental theme, fire has long been considered a major influence on evolution of the angiosperms, whether natural or anthropogenic conflagrations. This incendiary interaction has not been helped by plants themselves, which not only generate highly calorific and combustible dry matter but also provide the oxygen needed to permit their combustion. The […] More

  • Image: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen. Gera-Untermhaus, 1897.
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    Phytonumeracy

    Echoing a plea from Ron Milo and Robert Last that computational methods [which is sort of ‘math(s)’…] should be used to gain deeper understanding of the fundamental principles that govern regulation of metabolic pathways in plants, here’s advance notice of The Sixth Mathematics in the Plant Sciences Study Group meeting. Taking place from 25–28th March […] More

  • Image: Wikimedia Commons.
    in

    Funds flood into plant water use research

    For too long, CAM [crassulacean acid metabolism, in which CO2 is fixed into an organic acid at night when stomata are open(!) in such plants and re-fixed via the Calvin–Benson–Bassham et al. Cycle – C3 photosynthesis during daylight, when stomata are shut(!!)…] has been on the plant physiological sidelines as a quirky bit of biochemistry […] More

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