Detail from Rachel Ruysch, Still life with flowers in a glass vase, 1716, oil on canvas, 48.5 x 39.5 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
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.
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.
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.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) photographed at Thésée-la-Romaine, France.
Daniel Jolivet / Flickr
The caterpillar and the butterfly: two forms, a single individual? A biologist and a philosopher explore this paradox.
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.
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
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.
A valuable harvest.
American ginseng, a slow-growing native plant long used in traditional medicine, was abundant in colonial times. Now illegal harvesting and other stresses are pushing it close to extinction.
Genetic techniques can help make pollen useful for cracking criminal cases.
Karen L. Bell
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.
The biggest issue is still getting the kids to eat them.
When botany and linguistics collide: pumpkins are fruits and there's technically no such thing as a vegetable. But try telling that to a five-year-old and see how far you get.
If a plant grows and no botanist is around to classify it…
Traditional botanists are in decline, but this isn't the end of plant science.
New research from the University of Geneva is helping us understand how plants protect themselves from the sun.
Our modern crops need some help in the immunity department.
Andy / Andrew Fogg
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.
Compression of the long-leaf form of
The fossilized plant Montsechia relied on water to disseminate its genetic material and may rewrite the book on when and how the first flowering plants evolved.
What the smell is that?
When people say 'say it flowers', you can bet they're not talking about titan arum.
You couldn’t just plop dinosaurs anywhere and expect them to survive.
A "Pleistocene Park" might be a more realistic scenario.
Too bad this picture’s not scratch n sniff.
OK, it doesn’t smell great. But skunk cabbage has a unique secret weapon to help it be one of the first plants to emerge from the snow at the end of winter.
Kew is home to plants from across the globe.
A new report by MPs recommends greater independence for financial decisions, and a secure funding strategy.
The smoke from burning emu bush was used by Indigenous healers for a number of different rituals.
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…