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Latest Plant taxonomy Stories

2009-09-03 09:51:20

Flowering plants are all around us and are phenomenally successful"”but how did they get to be so successful and where did they come from? This question bothered Darwin and others and a paper published in the September issue of the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society indicates that their ability to adapt anatomically may be the answer. Sherwin Carlquist, a research botanist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and recipient of the Linnean Medal for Botany, has spent his career...

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2009-08-21 09:55:00

New algorithm explores future changes in plant populationsThe ability to envisage the future may be closer than you would think. A recent paper by Sean Hammond and Karl Niklas in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Botany (available here) presents an algorithm that may be used to predict the future dynamics of plant communities, an increasingly interesting area of study as significant environmental changes, such as global climate change and invasive species, are affecting current...

2009-07-14 11:30:00

New findings from Queen's University biologists show that in the plant world, bigger isn't necessarily better."Until now most of the thinking has suggested that to be a good competitor in the forest, you have to be a big plant," says Queen's Biology professor Lonnie Aarssen. "But our research shows it's virtually the other way around."Previous studies revealed that larger plant species monopolize sunlight, water and other resources, limiting the number of smaller plant species that can exist...

2009-07-13 11:06:15

The appearance of many species of flowering plants on Earth, and especially their relatively rapid dissemination during the Cretaceous (approximately 100 million years ago) can be attributed to their capacity to transform the world to their own needs. In an article in Ecology Letters, Wageningen ecologists Frank Berendse and Marten Scheffer postulate that flowering plants changed the conditions during the Cretaceous period to suit themselves. The researchers have consequently provided an...

2009-07-02 12:18:18

 As flowering plants like giant trees quickly rose to dominate plant communities during the Cretaceous period, the ferns that had preceded them hardly saw it as a disappointment.In fact, they flourished. While modern tropical rain forests were becoming established, ferns climbed aboard, and experienced a flowering of their own species diversity."The canopy is there and -- boom -- diversification," said Duke University researcher Eric Schuettpelz, who is completing a post-doctoral...

2009-03-10 08:15:39

 As the first plant life to emerge from the water and develop on dry earth, bryophytes offer a unique opportunity for researchers to understand the development of protections against ultraviolet radiation. The three varieties of bryophites (liverworts, hornworts, and mosses) have long been utilized as indicators of the health of local environments, but with the recent effects of climate change and the depleting ozone layer, these plants present an important measure in their ability to...

2009-02-11 10:20:35

A U.S. study suggests a burst of flowering plants 90 million years ago led to the formation of forests and similar evolutionary bursts in animals. The University of Florida-led study was based on a DNA analysis of living flowering plants. Researchers determined the burst of speciation during a 5-million-year span was one of three major radiations of flowering plants, known as angiosperms. The study focused on diversification in the rosid clade, a group with a common ancestor that now accounts...

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2009-02-10 11:30:29

A new University of Florida study based on DNA analysis from living flowering plants shows that the ancestors of most modern trees diversified extremely rapidly 90 million years ago, ultimately leading to the formation of forests that supported similar evolutionary bursts in animals and other plants. This burst of speciation over a 5-million-year span was one of three major radiations of flowering plants, known as angiosperms. The study focuses on diversification in the rosid clade, a group...

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2009-01-27 11:57:05

Land plants' ability to sprout upward through the air, unsupported except by their own woody tissues, has long been considered one of the characteristics separating them from aquatic plants, which rely on water to support them. Now lignin, one of the chemical underpinnings vital to the self-supporting nature of land plants "“ and thought unique to them "“ has been found in marine algae by a team of researchers including scientists at UBC and Stanford University. Lignin, a...

2008-10-21 15:00:11

The 149-year-old Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, one of the world's largest botanical collections, has received its 6 millionth herbarium specimen. A herbarium is essentially a "library" of plant specimens. The garden's herbarium includes about 5.5 million vascular plants -- flowering plants, ferns and conifers -- and 500,000 bryophytes, mosses, liverworts and hornworts. "The importance of these 'libraries' of plants cannot be overstated," said the garden's vice president of...


Latest Plant taxonomy Reference Libraries

Common wilkiea, Wilkiea huegeliana
2014-02-15 08:54:49

Wilkiea huegeliana is a common rainforest plant from the Monimiaceae family. It is commonly referred to by such names as Common Wilkiea, Tetra beech and Veiny Wilkiea. Although originally described by Louis René Tulasne, it was given its current official name by Alphonse Pyramus de Candolle. W. huegeliana grows as a shrub or small tree that can reach a height of 25 feet. It has a stem diameter of 4 inches. Its trunk is crooked and irregular and is not buttressed. It has smooth, brown or...

Redbay, Persea borbonia
2014-02-15 07:52:34

Persea borbonia is an evergreen tree in the Lauraceae family. The species may commonly be referred to as Redbay, Tisswood, Scrubbay, Shorebay and Swampbay. P. borbonia grows as either a small tree or a large shrub. It contains evergreen leaves that reach between 3 and 6 inches long. They are lance-shaped. They are alternately arranged and give off a spicy smell when crushed. The leaves may be a light green to a very dark green. They produce fruit called drupes, which are small and blue or...

Peruvian nutmeg, Laurelia sempervirens
2014-02-14 11:29:19

Laurelia sempervirens is a large, evergreen tree species. The species may also be commonly referred to as Peruvian nutmeg, Tihue, Trihue, Chilean Laurel or Chilean Sassafras. L. sempervirens belongs to the Atherospermataceae family. The plant can commonly be found growing naturally only in Chile. L. sempervirens plants are found in warm subtropical or tropical habitats. The trees often experience high heat, rainfall and humidity in its environment. L. sempervirens are best grown soils that...

Ribbonwood, Idiospermum australiense
2014-02-14 10:58:56

Idiospermum australiense is the only species in the Idiospermum genus. The flowering tree species belongs to the Calycanthaceae family. The plant may also be commonly known as the Ribbonwood or the Idiot fruit. I. australiense is one of the oldest and most primitive known flowering plants. It has grown in the Daintree Rainforest of Queensland, Australia for about 120 million years. The species is only found in wet lowland areas of the forest, where it grows together in the same area in...

Yellow sassafras, Doryphora sassafras
2014-02-10 08:46:14

Doryphora sassafras is a species of evergreen tree in the Atherospermataceae family. It is commonly referred to as Sassafras, Yellow sassafras, Golden sassafras, Canary sassafras or Golden deal. D. sassafras is a straight trunked tree with a smaller crown. It has been known to grow to a height of 82 to 105 feet. Its trunk can reach a diameter of 4 feet. It contains glossy green leaves that appear opposite on the stem. The leaves measure 3 to 4 inches long and .8 to 1.6 inches wide. The...

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Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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