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Category Archive for 'Plant Signaling'

When No Really Means No (In Plants) When it comes to sexual reproduction, nearly half of all flowering plant species are self-incompatible. That is, the pollen (male parts of flowers) produced by an individual plant is somehow recognized by the plant and rendered ineffectual in self-fertilizing the ovules (female parts of flowers). This prevention of […]

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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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“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 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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From Cancer-Fighting Plants To Cadmium-Sniffing Moss Sadly, those who teach classes about plant physiology often feel the need to justify why plants are important. That’s how I usually began the first lecture in my Botany and Plant Physiology courses back in the day when I was boring undergraduate students. Most of these students could appreciate […]

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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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Why Do Flowers Smell? A couple of the most common questions that people have about flowers are: (1) Why do flowers have scents? and (2) Why do many flowers smell good to us? The first question is fairly easy to answer, but the second one is a bit trickier to try to answer. The short […]

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