Articles on Botany

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Melburnians admire the first primrose to arrive in the colony, transported by a Wardian case, in Edward Hopley’s A Primrose from England, circa 1855. Bendigo Art Gallery, Gift of Mr and Mrs Leonard Lansell 1964.

How the Wardian case revolutionised the plant trade – and Australian gardens

A wood and glass case invented in the early 19th-century transformed the movement of plants around the world. In Melbourne, several thousand people greeted a primrose on its arrival from England.
Mueller came to Australia in the mid 19th century - and gave women a rare opportunity to be involved in science. state_library_south_australia/flickr

How a German migrant planted citizen science in Australia – and why it worked

We often focus on the “science” part of citizen science. The “citizen” is important as well. It reminds us that we are part of something greater than ourselves, with a duty to generations to come.
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.

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