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Category Archive for 'Plant Defense'

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War Who Are You? How do plants distinguish “unfriendly” (a.k.a., pathogenic) microbes from “friendly” microbes (with which to form mutually beneficial partnerships, e.g.)? How do flowering plants choose their mating partners […]

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Looking Out For Number One In a previous post, way back last December, regarding the notion of plant “pain”, I acknowledged the subject of “damaged-self recognition” in plants, but I didn’t want to elaborate on it at that time. Well, it looks like now’s the time…. “Damaged-self recognition” in plants has to do with how […]

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From Blocking Pollen To Blocking Disease If there was a recurring theme in the March 2016 plant news it may have been plant defense. Defense against foreign genes, defense against herbivores, and defense against disease all made an appearance. “Contamination of organic corn by genetically modified pollen is a major concern for growers, who stand […]

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From Glowing Plants to “Talking” Plants As usual, the plant news of February 2016, 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. […]

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Happy New Year! Since 2012, here at the “How Plants Work” blog, I’ve ended the year by taking a look back at the plant-research news from my HPW Twitter feed over the past twelve months, and then sharing a few of the “tastier” tidbits, month-by-month. So, welcome to the fifth-annual review of plant research news […]

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numb (adjective): “devoid of sensation; insensible” Pain in the Ash? In the previous post, I posed the question whether or not plants experienced something analogous to pain when physically wounded. I concluded that they did….depending on how one defines “pain”. At the present time, when even academic biologists are expanding the meanings of “know”, “feel”, […]

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Feelin’ No Pain? An amazing short story, entitled “The Sound Machine”, by the British writer Roald Dahl was first published in the September 17, 1949 issue of the New Yorker. In this story, “A man named Klausner invents a machine that can hear sound the human ear cannot hear. It reproduces the sounds on a […]

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You Talkin’ To Me? Dodder (genus Cuscuta) is an example of a parasitic plant. That is, it derives some or all of its nutritional requirements from another living plant. In a previous post, we saw how dodder seedlings may “sniff out” their victims. But dodder seedlings may do much more than use volatile chemicals to […]

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Amazing, Amusing, & Surprizing A couple of weeks ago I was perusing the online edition of Wired magazine and spotted the following headline: “The Internet of Vegetables: How Cyborg Plants Can Monitor Our World”. With a title like this, how could I not click on the headline and read the article? (Please see link #1 […]

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Why decaf coffee? Have you ever had a cup of really good decaf coffee? Me neither. (Probably because the decaf coffee results from chemical processing of normal coffee beans.) But why would anyone want coffee without caffeine? As illustrated by the old Gary Larson cartoon on the left, sometimes you can get too much caffeine. […]

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