How Plants Work – “Greatest Hits” of 2017 – June

From Strangling Trees to Stressing Plants.

The plant news items presented in June 2017 were quite varied, as exemplified in the list below of the most popular posts from my HPW Twitter feed.

  • “Meet the strangler fig: a parasitic nightmare that lives on other tropical trees, stealing their soil nutrients, water, and even sunlight through a canopy of dense leaves and tendril-like roots that twist around the host plant.”
    Being strangled may save this tree’s life.
  • “Plants are stationary. This means that the way they grow must be highly internally regulated to use the surrounding resources in the most-advantageous way possible.
    Just imagine if you were stuck in one spot and had to strategize to keep getting water and nutrients from the ground beneath your feet and sunlight on your skin. That’s how plants live!
    Luckily for them, plants have a complex system of hormones that guide their growth and maximize their ability to take advantage of the environment. One mastermind hormone is called brassinosteroid.”

    Revealed: New step in plant mastermind hormone’s pathway.
  • “A new study by scientists at the University of Birmingham has revealed a group of cells that function as a ‘brain’ for plant embryos capable of assessing environmental conditions and dictating when seeds will germinate.”
    Scientists discover plant ‘brain’ controlling seed development.
  • “Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report in the journal PLOS ONE.”
    Scientists find world’s oldest fossil mushroom.
  • “When excess light energy is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis, harmful reactive oxygen species are produced. These reactive oxygen species break down important structures such as proteins and membranes, preventing them from functioning properly. Researchers have discovered the system used by plants to prevent oxidative stress and to safely carry out photosynthesis.”
    How plants prevent oxidative stress.

    What was the most popular plant news story of July 2017? – Hint: What do plants have in common with subway systems?

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