plants

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'Horror Plant' Discovered in Another US State

Giant hogweed, which can cause severe burns and blindness, has spread to Virginia

(Newser) - What ScienceAlert calls a "giant horror plant" has made its way to yet another US state, and people who come in contact with it could feel the pain. Virginia Tech's Massey Herbarium tweeted last week it had IDed a giant hogweed (aka Heracleum mantegazzianum) plant in Clarke County,... More »

By This New Measure, Plants Rule the Earth

They outweigh all other life on the planet, by a mile

(Newser) - A first-of-its-kind study reveals that humans make up a minuscule portion of life on the planet. As in 0.01%, reports the Guardian . The flip side of that? Despite the scant figure, humans have reshaped the animal kingdom, helping wipe out about 83% of mammals and half of all plants... More »

Palm Trees Are on a Mission Northward

Cold-tolerant species could reach northern US, Canada in 'decades'

(Newser) - Utah, Ohio, and Canada might soon be dotted with palm trees—because welcome to climate change. Following a 2007 study that found palm trees in the foothills of the Swiss Alps, an international team of researchers set out to learn how cold is too cold for palm trees. Upon surveying... More »

A New Study Just Rewrote the History Book on Plants

Study suggests they appeared 500M years ago, or 100M years earlier than believed

(Newser) - The arrival of plants on Earth changed the planet and its inhabitants in big ways, and a new study suggests they arrived far earlier than thought. University of Bristol researchers now say that land plants evolved from pond scum about 500 million years ago—a whopping 100 million years earlier... More »

Scientists Just Achieved 'Holy Grail' of Plant Breeding

Japanese team engineers the first blue chrysanthemum

(Newser) - A development of "great impact" has been made in the world of flowers—specifically among chrysanthemums, which researchers have just turned a true-blue hue for the first time, per Science . The magazine explains that vibrant blue flowers are hard to find in nature—only a few species exist, and... More »

Simple Trick May Help Plants Survive Drought

The effect was seen in rice, wheat, corn, and more

(Newser) - As the climate warms, scientists are conducting experiments around the world to try to boost drought resistance in a wide range of crops. But a study out of the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan is especially promising because the key ingredient helping a wide range of crops... More »

Naked Mole Rats Can Do What No Other Vertebrate Can

Oxygen deprivation? Bring it

(Newser) - Scientists already know enough about naked mole rats to put them in the "strange" category. The hairless ground-dwelling wonders are notable for being cold-blooded mammals that are practically immune to cancer and far outlive other rodents, reports Science Daily . Now scientists say they've observed the creatures surviving without... More »

Army's New Push: Ammo That Grows Plants

It wants biodegradable bullets for training grounds

(Newser) - At US military training facilities, spent shell casings are scattered across proving grounds, many buried several inches below ground. What if they were biodegradable and contained seeds that would sprout into beneficial plants over time? It may sound a bit utopian, but the US Department of Defense has just released... More »

These Wine Grapes Listened to Mozart, to Their Benefit

Inside an interesting experiment in Italy

(Newser) - A taste of black cherry, leather, and just a hint of G minor? In the hills of Montalcino in Tuscany, winemaker Giancarlo Cignozzi has, for more than a decade, been playing Mozart 24 hours a day to a section of Sangiovese grapes growing in his vineyard, reports CBS News . At... More »

China's Hunger for Ginseng Is Wiping It Out in Appalachia

The lucrative root is prized by poachers looking for a quick buck

(Newser) - A gold rush of sorts is taking place in Appalachia, but this one involves the plant ginseng. As a story by Suzy Khimm at Foreign Policy lays out in fascinating detail, the root is a hot commodity in China because of its purported medicinal values, but wild ginseng is practically... More »

The Planet Is Getting Greener Thanks to Pollution

But that doesn't mean global warming is a good thing

(Newser) - Dozens of scientists were shocked to find a dramatic increase in plant life around the world over the past 33 years instead of the global-warming-related "browning" they expected to find in their analysis of satellite data, Australia's ABC reports. According to a press release , a study published Monday... More »

Shocking Number of Cacti Face Extinction

Study finds that 31% of cactus species are endangered

(Newser) - About a third of the world's cactus species are threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature warns in a new report. The study evaluated 1,478 species and determined that 31% are endangered due to factors such as the conversion of wilderness areas to farming and... More »

As Big Mammals Die Off, Planet Suffers a Poop Shortage

The flow of phosphorous and other nutrients has declined dramatically

(Newser) - Earth isn't just dealing with the loss of big mammals, such as elephants, whales, and rhinos. It's also faced with a dramatic reduction in their poop, which could have profound effects on the planet's ecosystems, reports Red Orbit . Researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy ... More »

Corpse Flower Stinks Up Chicago, Celebration Ensues

No, it's not Spike making Chicago Botanic Garden reek—it's Alice

(Newser) - Go ask Alice when you want to stink up the place. Unlike the dud that Spike the corpse flower turned out to be, another titan arum at the Chicago Botanic Garden came through Monday night and started blooming, emitting the plant's signature stench throughout the garden's Semitropical Greenhouse,... More »

World's '1st Flower' Dates Back 130M Years

The oldest known flowering plant, found in Spain, was aquatic

(Newser) - The world's oldest known flower dating back 130 million years is an aquatic species called Montsechia found fossilized in limestone deposits in Spain. But it wouldn't necessarily be recognized as a flower today, given it didn't boast petals or nectar-producing structures. "The fruit contains a single... More »

Michigan Warns: This Plant Can Blind You

Steer clear of the giant hogweed

(Newser) - Today's reminder that Mother Nature has the upper hand: western Michigan officials are warning the public about the possible presence of a plant that looks a bit like Queen Anne's lace—and has the ability to blind you. The Calhoun County Public Health Department says it identified and... More »

Could 'Thunder God Vine' Extract End Obesity?

Mice fed extract from Chinese plant lost weight, big-time

(Newser) - Could a Chinese plant make our lifestyle of dieting, exercise, and rampant obesity a thing of the past? Well, a new study says that mice given an extract from the plant—known as "thunder god vine"—ate as much as 80% less than their counterparts and lost 45%... More »

Poachers Threaten Existence of Venus Flytraps in Wild

It's now a felony to take them, as four men arrested in North Carolina found out

(Newser) - Four men caught skulking around a nature preserve in North Carolina earlier this month have learned all about a new state law: It's now a felony to pick a Venus flytrap in the wild. The men, ages 22 to 49, were caught with 970 of the plants and earned... More »

Female Ferns Can Turn Their Neighbors Male

Plants communicate via pheromone

(Newser) - If you're a Japanese climbing fern, your sex may be up to those living around you. That's thanks to communication between the plants involving a pheromone called gibberellin, Vox reports. Early-maturing plants, which tend to become female, start developing the pheromone, but they don't finish. Instead, these... More »

Beef: Meat Industry's Worst Eco-Offender

Raising cattle takes up 160 times as much land as plants, study finds

(Newser) - Think drive-thru cheeseburgers are cheap? Think again. What may be light on the wallet is heavy on the planet, according to a new study on the environmental costs per calorie of beef, pork, poultry, dairy, and eggs—which, combined, make up 96% of the calories Americans get via animal sources.... More »

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