Topic: botany

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Why are there so many types of apples?

Gala, Braeburn, Fuji, SweeTango, SnapDragon, Golden Delicious, Cosmic Crisp... there are over 7,500 known cultivars—varieties produced by selectively breeding desirable characteristics—of the apple. How are there that...

The Loneliest Tree in the World

In 1895, John Medley Wood discovered a cluster of peculiar Encephalartos Woodii on the fringe of the oNgoye Forest in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A basal offset of the male dioecious tree was sent to Kew Gardens in L...

Venus flytraps count to avoid being tricked

If you're a venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), how do you know you've got a fly in your midst and not a raindrop? You count. Via ScienceMag: In order to mimic insect prey, the scientists stimulated the hairlike sen...

The Journey of Vanilla – From Plant to Extract

Mix 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract into the cookie dough, order Vanilla Caramel Fudge at the ice cream shop, or take a closer look at some vanilla beans at the store. What is vanilla and where does it come from? This...

How do plants grow in space? – Science Friday

Microgravity, different kinds of light, extreme conditions... Growing while in orbit or on Mars are two experiences that earthbound organisms have never needed to adapt to in our evolutionary history. How do our bodie...

The Corpse Flower: Behind the Stink of the Titan Arum

Corpse Flowers (Amorphophallus titanum), including Berkeley's Trudy the Titain Arum and The Denver Botanic Garden's Stinky DBG (live video feed), have made news in 2015. The massive plants can bloom every 2-3 years, o...

Exploding plants disperse their seeds with high pressure bursts

Violets, poisonous squirting cucumbers, and touch-me-nots or Impatiens capensis (not to be confused with these touch-me-nots) have an effective way of dispersing their seeds: They burst! The forceful ejection sends th...

Why do carrots taste sweeter in the winter?

From the University of California’s Fig.1 series, Molecular Biologist Liz Roth-Johnson explains why cold weather makes carrots taste more sweet: Because plants are immobile, they must develop defense techniques aga...

What is the Biggest Organism on Earth?

If the blue whale is the biggest animal on Earth, and a Sequoia redwood tree is the tallest tree, what are the heaviest or most widespread organisms that explorers and scientists have ever found? Minute Earth explains...

Gross Science: Carnivorous Plants and Killer Ants

In this episode of NOVA’s Gross Science, Anna Rothschild introduces us to the carnivorous fanged pitcher plant (Nepenthes Bicalcarata) that preys on unsuspecting insects, but has a special relationship with one parti...

Huge and stinky: Titan Arum, The Corpse Flower

The plant with the largest inflorescence (cluster of flowers on a stem) also happens to be one of the stinkiest. Meet the rare titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), otherwise known as the corpse flower, which can be s...

Climbing & Measuring Redwood Giants with Stephen Sillett

Meet Forest Scientist Stephen Sillett. He has dedicated his life to studying the Redwood Forest canopy, 350 feet high into a separate world in the tops of the tallest and oldest trees on the planet. Professor Sillet...

The Fungarium and Millennium Seed Bank Partnership at Kew

Most people know Kew Gardens as home of the world’s largest living plant collection but are not aware that it is also the location of an internationally important botanical research and educational instit...