plants

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In Search for Human Bodies, Plants May Be Key

Chemicals from decomposing remains may trigger visible changes in vegetation

(Newser) - Researchers are toying with a new idea that could transform grueling and expensive body-recovery missions, and it involves what you might call cadaver plants. Yes, plants. Neal Stewart, a biologist at the University of Tennessee, has long been interested in the ways plants sense and respond to stresses. Now, he... More »

Study Raises Alarming Stat About the World's Plants

Researchers say at least 571 species have disappeared in 250 years, far more than animals

(Newser) - "Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few can name an extinct plant," says Aleys Humphreys, co-author of a gloomy new study on the fate of the planet's plants. Here, then, are three plants that have disappeared in... More »

Where No One Will Go, Drone Makes Stunning Find

The 'Hibiscadelphus woodii' was considered extinct

(Newser) - A drone hovering near a Hawaiian cliff face spotted something the world considered gone: a flower. And it wasn't even in bloom. In January, drone flyer Ben Nyberg noticed three Hibiscadelphus woodii plants on a cliff where specialists are known to rappel down vertical faces for threatened plant species,... More »

Researchers Find Trick to Growing Tastier Basil

24-hour light is the key, say MIT researchers

(Newser) - Researchers at MIT say they've figured out how to grow the tastiest basil: Expose the plant to light 24 hours a day. The nugget comes out of a project in which scientists grew the herb in a shipping container, a controlled environment that allowed them to precisely monitor every... More »

7 Plants That Could Save You From Hunger

Stuck in the wild without food? Look down

(Newser) - Don't pull a Michael Scott and eat the first mushroom you find if you're stuck in the wilderness without food. To help you make it out alive, Live Science rounds up the most common edible plants found in the continental US. Luckily, they cover a variety of landscapes,... More »

Parsnip's Poisonous Cousin Burns Woman

Invasive plant blamed for injuries comparable to second-degree burns in Vermont

(Newser) - A woman was left with severe burns and blisters on her legs after encountering an invasive species of plant in Vermont, reports the AP . Charlotte Murphy says she developed painful blisters overnight after brushing against "poison parsnip," which Live Science explains is a wild version of the common... More »

'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 »

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