Articles on Botany

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Detail from Rachel Ruysch, Still life with flowers in a glass vase, 1716, oil on canvas, 48.5 x 39.5 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Here’s looking at Rachel Ruysch’s Still life with flowers in a glass vase

During her lifetime, the paintings of Dutch artist Rachel Ruysch sold for higher prices than those of Rembrandt. Why, then, have her talents not been more widely acknowledged in the centuries since?
Though not this obvious from the outside, plants are keeping time. Hua Lu

Studying circadian rhythms in plants and their pathogens might lead to precision medicine for people

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.
Specimens in herbaria include “pickled” plants in pots (shown here), dried specimens and fruits or seeds preserved whole. Ainsley Calladine, State Herbarium of South Australia

From Joseph Banks to big data, herbaria bring centuries-old science into the digital age

Australia's herbaria are a priceless repository, holding around 8 million samples that map historical and current distributions of native and introduced plant species in Australia.
Genetic techniques can help make pollen useful for cracking criminal cases. Karen L. Bell

Pollen genetics can help with forensic investigations

Pollen is all around us, is extremely durable and can provide clues about where someone's been. A new genetic technique will make it easier to use pollen evidence in criminal investigations.
Our modern crops need some help in the immunity department. Andy / Andrew Fogg

Can we ‘vaccinate’ plants to boost their immunity?

Modern agriculture is synonymous with monoculture. That lack of diversity is bad news for plants' natural immune defenses. Researchers are figuring out how to help plants fend off microbes – without pesticides.
The smoke from burning emu bush was used by Indigenous healers for a number of different rituals. Tony Rodd/Flickr

Indigenous medicine – a fusion of ritual and remedy

Indigenous Australian practices, honed over thousands of years, weave science with storytelling. In this Indigenous science series, we look at different aspects of First Australians’ traditional life and…

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