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  • Image: Eva Kröcher/Wikimedia Commons.
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    When physics meets botany…

    This column is always fascinated by the way new insights arise when different disciplines are brought together to tackle an ostensibly botanical problem. So, too, is the UK’s Royal Society, hence its august organ entitled Journal of the Royal Society Interface, a ‘cross-disciplinary publication promoting research at the interface between the physical and life sciences’ […] More

  • Host-plant stimulation of germination in parasitic Phelipanche
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    Host-plant stimulation of germination in parasitic Phelipanche

    The tiny seeds of the obligate root parasitic plants of the Orobanchaceae do not germinate unless they detect chemical signals from a host plant. Joel et al. study seed ultrastructure and find that mucilage swelling in the extended labyrinthine endothelium walls leads to opening of the micropyle. The perisperm cells underneath this opening mediate between the […] More

  • Physical dormancy and the water gap in Geranium
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    Physical dormancy and the water gap in Geranium

    Physical dormancy and the water gap in <i>Geranium</i> A water gap is a small opening that forms on breaking of dormancy in physically dormant seeds or fruits. Gama-Arachchige et al. examine the development of the micropylar region of seeds of Geranium carolinianum and report on the ontogeny of the micropyle–water gap complex. Post-pollination development of […] More

  • Hourglass cell development
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    Hourglass cell development in soybean seed coat

    Hourglass cells (HGC) are prominent cells in the legume seed coat. Miller et al. (pp. 235–242) document HGC development in soybean, Glycine max, and relate structural changes to expression of an HGC-specific soybean peroxidase (SBP). SBP protein and activity are detectable in HGCs before differentiation is complete; furthermore, activity appears vacuolar, as predicted. These results […] More