Diatoms - like those seen under a microscope here - can teach us a lot about harvesting light.
Diatoms' tricks may offer new insights that keep solar cell energy running efficiently and robustly throughout their processes.
Though not this obvious from the outside, plants are keeping time.
Precisely calibrated timekeepers are found in organisms from all domains of life. Biologists are studying how they influence plant/pathogen interactions – what they learn could lead to human medicines.
Ferns are a very old group of plants that came along more than 200 million years before the dinosaurs walked the earth.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation
Ferns came along more than 200 million years before the dinosaurs walked the Earth. They were food for plant-eating dinosaurs and they're really great survivors. Heather, age 8, wants to know more.
Citizen scientists collecting soil and fine-roots from under unhealthy plants.
Cape Citizen Science
Humans - the very "carriers" who can spread dangerous microbes unthinkingly from their equipment and shoes - can instead become the first line of defence against a possible microscopic invasion.
The well-being of pollinators like bees have a direct impact on our lives.
Vida van der Walt
Pollination in South Africa's ecosystems is extremely complex. However new advances such as pollen metabarcoding help us understand interactions between pollinators and pollen.
Calamophyton Forest colour copy.
Cladoxylopsid trees were hugely complex and very different to those we have now.
New research shows bees see a blue halo around flowers thanks to nanostructures on its petals.
Spend many months attached to the ISS and see how well you grow.
If you want to live on Mars, you're going to need to grow food. Seeds are naturally equipped to handle challenging Earth environments, but how well can they survive what they'll encounter off-planet?
Plants make proteins based on whatever genetic material you give them.
Carl Davies, CSIRO
Inserting a random DNA mishmash into a plant or bacterium directs it to make a novel protein. Sifting through the resulting molecules, researchers may find ones have medical or agricultural uses.
It was all the apple’s fault: we’ve been fascinated by poisoned fruit for a long time.
Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678), The Fall of Man, via Wikimedia Commons
Plants produce toxic fruit for everything from deterring fungi to causing constipation.
Leaf sizes vary according to a complex mix of temperature and water.
Some leaves are millimetres across, and others are a metre square. An international study has found the essential factors controlling leaf variations.
Ivar Leidus (Iifar) / Wikimedia Commons
Bees need pollen to survive and grow, but not all plants can provide the right mix.
Garden pollinators can turn their noses up at the flowers human eyes find most beautiful.
Tropical rainforests are among the biggest contributors to the global greening boom.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The globe is greening as plants grow faster in response to rising carbon dioxide. But a new analysis shows they aren't using more water to do it - a rare piece of good news for our changing planet.
The health benefits of being close to nature are well established.
priscilla du preez/Unsplash
Health benefits of being close to nature are well established, but the rise of apartment living means we can't always be close to greenery.
Plant-based diets have been found to be far more beneficial for our health.
A survey of Australians found most (70%) thought that a plant-based diet would prevent disease. But what does the literature say? And is meat really bad that for you?
Adélie penguin at the Mt Siple breeding colony, West Antarctica.
Climate change is set to expand Antarctica's ice-free area, potentially helping native species to flourish but also paving the way for invasive species to gain a foothold.
Once the coat around the seed is moistened, the embryo cells expand and burst out in a process called germination.
A seed contains nearly everything a tree needs to get growing. Just add a dash of water, a bit of warmth and the right location, and you'll be seeing green in no time.
The human-like forms of saguaro cacti in Arizona.
Cacti image from www.shutterstock.com
Killers, cartoons, and even romantic objects, the cactus's ongoing popularity has led it down some strange paths.
Almost every star has planets – so there are more planets in our galaxy than there are stars.
NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
Plants on other planets are bound to be even weirder than the strangest ones we find on Earth – if they even exist.