Plant “Puberty” – Acquiring A “License To Flower”

Is There a Single Flower-Inducing Pathway? It’s well known that “florigen” is the signal that triggers the transition from vegetative to reproductive development in plants that flower in response to photoperiod. But some plants, for example the “Night-Neutral” (a.k.a., “Day-Neutral”) plants, apparently initiate flowering because of factors other than night…

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Falling of Autumn Leaves – A Biological Separation Process Triggered by a Gaseous Plant Hormone

Much can be found online about why leaves change colors in the fall… …but relatively little about the final part of the story, namely leaf drop. Components of this terminal process, called leaf abscission, are actually put into place at the beginning of the leaf’s life. At the end, a…

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Plants That “Remember” (Part 2) – “Secret Life of Plants” Redux

A Brief Stroll Down Memory Lane Previously, we delved into the subject of “long-term” (weeks to months) plant “memory” by exploring what’s new on the subject of vernalization, that is, how some plants “remember” that they have experienced winter. In this case, a “cold” treatment of some plant species over…

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The Wood-Wide-Web: Are Plants Inter-Connected by a Subterranean Fungal Network?

Mushrooms are the visible manifestations (sexual organs, actually) of microscopic, soil-dwelling fungi that form mutually-beneficial partnerships with plants. Since these filamentous fungi interact with the roots of plants, such symbiotic relationships are called mycorrhizae, literally “fungus root”. Fossil evidence supports the idea that these plant-fungal partnerships are as old as…

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“Talking” Plants: Airborne Chemical Signals (Part 2)

Smells Like Trouble If you’re crunching on a Wintergreen Lifesaver®, while drinking a cup of jasmine tea, you may be totally “freaking out” your nearby house plants. Why? Because you’re disseminating two volatile organic compounds known to have significant effects on plants, you may be inadvertently turning on hundreds of…

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