Eau de Zombie? – The Malodorous “Voodoo Lilies” and “Corpse Flowers” – Why Do They Smell So Bad?

Signature Scents of Death & Decay In a previous post, we explored the discovery that plants emit a wide array of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and that, because of this, sometimes plants stink. But I think few would argue that the prize for the “stinkiest” plants would have to go…

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A Plant Sexual Thermostat? – New Information About Temperature Controlled Flowering

Hothouse Flowers Unlike animals, plants are not born with their “naughty bits”. That is, the sexual organs of plants, a.k.a., flowers, are typically formed after a period of so-called vegetative growth. In other words, plants first go through a vegetative stage of development (think shoots and leaves, over and over…

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On Dandelions

Much Maligned. Highly Underrated? The common dandelion that you often see in the spring in North America is, most likely, Taraxacum officinale. How dandelions reproduce by cloning themselves and how herbicides kill dandelions, but not your lawn are two subjects I’ve previously explored here. But if you’d like some more…

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The “Fertilization Dance” in Flowering Plants is Similar to Animals….Except for Who Leads

The Sperm & Egg Tango In a paper published in the 23 November 2012 issue of Science magazine (Ref 1 below), Dr. Stephanie Sprunck and Prof. Dr. Thomas Dresselhaus and colleagues report a major finding regarding the cellular nature of sexual reproduction in plants. Specifically, they have been studying gamete…

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Nothing To Sneeze At: Making Pollen-Free Plants Using Genetic Engineering

Sneeze The pollen from some plants can cause allergic rhinitis, a.k.a., “hay fever” in many people. This is because, when the pollen is inhaled into the nasal passages, antigens on the surface of the pollen elicit an immune response in people with a sensitized immune system. (In grass pollen, the…

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