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History

Member for
11 months 2 weeks

Blog Posts

Permafrost, Squirrels, and 30,000-Year Old Plants

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Permafrost, Squirrels, and 30,000-Year Old Plants

  Perhaps the largest botanical newsbreak of the past week was the publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America that several mature, fully functional individuals of Silene stenophylla (a member of the carnation family that still exists today) had been grown from fruits found buried 38 meters underground, in permafrost, in Siberia.  The fruits had been taken there some 30,000 years ago...

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Better Red than Dead

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Better Red than Dead

The classic explanation of winter reddening is that red pigments protect plants from the effects of too much light.  This makes sense in observation--plants in full sun in the winter often turn red, while shaded members of the same species stay green.  It’s initially perhaps a bit of a stretch to imagine that plants can suffer from excess light—after all, we’re taught from a young age that plants adore the...

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On Giving Roses

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On Giving Roses

  A lot of people will send or receive a bouquet of roses today, and they will be continuing a very long tradition. Roses are one of the oldest of cultivated flowers—they have been grown across Asia for many centuries.  Roses first came to Europe from Persia and were already extremely popular in Greece by the time of Herodotus (5th century BC), who recorded his visit to the famous rose garden of Midas, son...

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Evergreens You Might Not Notice

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Evergreens You Might Not Notice

Plants, like most organisms, must overcome a number of challenges before they reach maturity.  Seeds are heavily preyed upon by insects, birds and mammals, and new seedlings face stiff competition from one another for light, water and nutrients.  Germinating in the fall or early winter when many competitors’ seeds are dormant is one of the strategies some plants use to overcome competition from other seedlings. Fall-germinating plants typically send down some...

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