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From Flower Fireworks to Giant Single-Celled Plants

Perusing the plant news of February 2015, I spotted some amusing headlines, such as:

“How to turn flowers into fireworks (without making them explode).”

and

“Distant plant species produce love-child after 60-millon-year breakup.”

and

“40 of the world’s weirdest flowers.”

These stories exemplified the diversity of plant news reported in February 2015. The plant science ranged from the molecular level to ecosystem level, from single plant cells to whole plants.

And since I can’t discern any common themes, I’ll go with the stories that I tweeted during February of last year that were re-tweeted+favorited the most.

  • Sir Isaac Newton’s interest in botany extended well beyond the fabled apple falling from a tree – he also appears to have understood how water moves from roots to leaves over 200 years before botanists did.Sir Isaac Newton’s journal reveals seeds of plant biology.
  • Ecology has always been a bit doughy compared to subject like physics, chemistry, and hell, even biology. But cut ecologists some slack. The places they study, like alpine prairies, peat bogs, or oases, are the diametric opposite of controlled lab settings. So how do you bring hard data to the study of life on our soft planet? A new map.New map shows the world’s ecosystems in unprecedented detail.
  • Research published in February 2015 showed that long-term fertilizer use can disrupt the mutually-beneficial relationship between legumes and nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria called rhizobia. Long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms.
  • Some plant scientists “…are using the world’s largest single-celled organism, an aquatic alga called Caulerpa taxifolia, to study form and function in plants.” Understanding images: A giant single-celled plant.

    Next-Time: Looking back at March 2015….

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