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Category Archive for 'Plant Hormones'

A recent story about how some of our Washington state lawmakers hate the sight of dandelions reminded me that it’s time for an encore of this post. Hope you enjoy it….again? Dandelions – Much Maligned. Some people become upset when they see dandelions (please see here, for example). Few plants generate such annoyance among suburban […]

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From Flowers That Smell Like Stressed Bees To Corn That Smells Like “Help Me!” October 2016 seemed to feature an unusual number of quirky plant news stories. For example, we previously saw an orchid that smelled like body odor, presumably to attract mosquitos. Now here’s another weird flower smell… “A new discovery takes plants’ deception […]

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Slurping Sugars The main reason for pruning plants is to stimulate the growth of axillary buds, a.k.a., lateral buds. (Please see previous post.) But why is the growth of axillary buds stimulated by cutting off the terminal (or apical) bud? The most common explanation of this is the long-known, and somewhat confounding, phenomenon called “apical […]

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The disclaimer: This is not meant to be an exhaustive review of the recent literature regarding abscission in plants. Instead, think of this as a selection of “recent highlights” (my opinion) in the study of abscission. Let’s focus on three steps of abscission: (1) the development of the abscission zone (AZ), (2) the signals that […]

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“..And all the leaves on the trees are falling To the sound of the breezes that blow…”– Van Morrison How Can I Miss You, If You Won’t Go Away? Ah, November in the Pacific Northwest, when the autumn leaves are being scoured from the trees by blustery winds and driving rain,… and a plant physiologist’s […]

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Seeking The Light Being light-powered lifeforms, most green plants seek out the sunlight and avoid the shade. But being sessile organisms, plants can not uproot themselves and mosey from the shade into the sun. Because they are stuck in the same spot all of their lives, plants have apparently evolved ways to maximize their light […]

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Forever Young? In a previous post, we saw how some Spanish scientists genetically modified (GM) plants in the genus Pelargonium (more commonly known as geraniums) so that they don’t produce pollen. (You can view the abstract of this paper here or read a provisional copy of the complete paper via Ref 1 below.) Briefly, they […]

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“Back To The Future.” A while back on this blog, I spent a bit of time exploring how some herbicides kill plants. The focus was primarily on auxin-based herbicides such as 2,4-D (one of the herbicides in the notorious Agent Orange) and glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup®. The former kills primarily broadleaf plants, and the […]

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To make complex organisms takes specialized cells. Animals and flowering plants require specialized cells with distinct abilities in order to accomplish higher order functions – such as vision or flowering. It’s somewhat like a symphony orchestra. The orchestra integrates different musicians playing different instruments. The characteristic sounds of the instruments can be blended together to […]

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A New Master Plant Hormone?

What if the roots of flowering plants produced chemical signals that regulated the branching and thickening of their shoots, i.e., secondary growth? Chemical signals used by plants to regulate their development and physiology are called plant hormones. Very small amounts of these compounds, acting alone or in tandem, often elicit dramatic effects on plant development. […]

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