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Articles on Botany

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Caley’s grevillea (Grevillea caleyi) occurs in Sydney. It needs fire to germinate but burns are hard to carry out near urban areas. Tony Auld

The 50 beautiful Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction — and how to save them

Many threatened plant species aren't being targeted for conservation. Identifying which are closest to being lost forever is the first step to protect them.
Longleaf pines support one another through mycorrhizae – mutually beneficial relationships between certain fungi and the trees’ roots. Justin Meissen/Flickr

Plants thrive in a complex world by communicating, sharing resources and transforming their environments

We may think of plants as passive life forms, but they can cooperate, share resources, send one another warnings, and distance themselves from their communities when survival depends on it.
Need a handkerchief? Num LP Photo/Shutterstock

Why do onions make you cry?

Like many plants, onions have defenses to ward off creatures that may want to eat them. Their secret weapon is a kind of natural tear gas.
A mast year can be a squirrel’s dream come true. Editor77/Shutterstock.com

Tons of acorns? It must be a mast year

Masting is what biologists call the pattern of trees for miles around synchronizing to all produce lots of seeds – or very few. Why and how do they get on schedule?
Matchstick banksia (Banksia cuneate). There are only about 500 of these plants left in the wild at 11 different sites, with much of its habitat having been historically cleared for agriculture. Andrew Crawford/Threatened Species Hub

Undocumented plant extinctions are a big problem in Australia – here’s why they go unnoticed

A recent global survey found almost 600 plants have gone extinct. And this figure is likely to be an underestimate.
The short answer is that leaves fall off trees when they aren’t doing their job any more. Emily Nunell/The Conversation CC-NY-BD

Curious Kids: why do leaves fall off trees?

Leaves fall off trees when they aren’t doing their job any more. If there isn’t enough water, the leaf can be damaged and stop working.

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