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An image of a pale, dead tree taken from the ground, so that the tree limbs stretch up into the sky.
Certain Tree Species Are More Susceptible to Death by Lightning
Expected increases in lightning strikes due to climate change could alter the botanical composition of tropical forests.
Certain Tree Species Are More Susceptible to Death by Lightning
Certain Tree Species Are More Susceptible to Death by Lightning

Expected increases in lightning strikes due to climate change could alter the botanical composition of tropical forests.

Expected increases in lightning strikes due to climate change could alter the botanical composition of tropical forests.

plant science
A lobed leaf next to a rounded leaf, both from the same Boquila trifoliolata vine
Can Plants See? In the Wake of a Controversial Study, the Answer’s Still Unclear
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Nov 30, 2022 | 10+ min read
A tiny pilot study found that so-called chameleon vines mimicked plastic leaves, but experts say poor study design and conflicts of interest undermine the report.
A mesquite tree in an arid environment
Climate Change May Favor Nitrogen-Fixing Plants
Andy Carstens | Oct 17, 2022 | 2 min read
Aridity appears to configure landscapes with a greater diversity of plant species that rely on symbiotic bacteria for nitrogen.
A gametophyte of the brown alga <em>Desmarestia dudresnayi</em> that has both male and female reproductive structures
Meet the Algae That Went from Male/Female to Hermaphroditic
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Aug 1, 2022 | 2 min read
A study suggests that several species of brown algae may have independently evolved to express both sexes simultaneously, and it’s likely that female algae evolved male traits—not the other way around.
Green fruit hanging in a tree
Trees’ Scent Tricks Hornets Into Shuttling Seeds
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Jun 30, 2022 | 4 min read
Agarwood fruit smells like prey, luring carnivorous hornets, a study suggests.
A photo of soybean pods
The Right Chemistry, 1935
Catherine Offord | Mar 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Percy Lavon Julian, a young, Black scientist working in Jim Crow America, gained international recognition after beating chemists at the University of Oxford in the race to synthesize the alkaloid physostigmine, used for decades as a treatment for glaucoma.
Man in personal protective equipment (glasses, gloves, cap, and coat) watching plants go through a piece of machinery.
Canada Approves World’s First Plant-Based COVID-19 Vaccine
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Feb 25, 2022 | 2 min read
Canada has ordered 76 million doses of Covifenz, the main ingredient of which was manufactured in the leaves of a tobacco relative.
Sunflowers, in visible spectrum on left half (yellow colors) and UV spectrum on right half (purple and white colors).
Sunflowers’ Bee-Attracting Ultraviolet Also Helps Retain Moisture
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Feb 8, 2022 | 5 min read
The dual purposes of the plants’ hidden colors may conflict as the climate warms, authors of a new study suggest.
Formed of various flowers, this personification cartoon of a female botanist, painted by George Spratt, was pasted into Allen’s copy of The English Flora.
La Botaniste, 1810–1865
Sukanya Charuchandra | Jan 4, 2022 | 2 min read
Elaborate annotations hidden in a copy of Sir James Edward Smith’s The English Flora hinted at the life of a mysterious woman botanist.
Photograph looking up a tree trunk
Contrary to Common Belief, Some Older Trees Make Fewer Seeds
Annie Melchor | Nov 1, 2021 | 2 min read
An analysis of more than half a million trees reveals that many species begin to taper off seed production once they hit a certain size.
Yuan Longping standing out in a rice field
Hybrid Rice Developer Yuan Longping Dies at 90
Lisa Winter | May 26, 2021 | 2 min read
The high-yield variety of rice he produced in the 1970s prevented countless people from dying of starvation.
Richard Staples, Dick Staples, plant pathology, rust fungus, Uromyces appendiculatus, Cornell, Boyce Thompson Institute
Dick Staples, Plant Pathologist, Dies at 94
Asher Jones | Feb 1, 2021 | 3 min read
The Boyce Thompson Institute researcher’s work revealed key insights into how plant pathogens recognize and colonize their hosts.
William Danforth, Longtime Research Philanthropist, Dies at 94
Max Kozlov | Sep 22, 2020 | 4 min read
Danforth founded the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and expanded scientific research at Washington University and beyond campus in St. Louis.
Enter a Ghost Forest
The Scientist Staff | Mar 1, 2020 | 1 min read
Take a tour of a forest killed by salt inundation brought by rising seas—a powerful reminder that climate change is affecting ecosystems around the world.
Sowing Seeds of Change
The Scientist Staff | Mar 1, 2020 | 1 min read
Watch Profilee Joanne Chory deliver a TED talk on her project to breed climate change–busting plants.
Book Excerpt from Tree Story
Valerie Trouet | Mar 1, 2020 | 3 min read
In Chapter 5, “The Messiah, the Plague, and Shipwrecks under the City,” author Valerie Trouet tells the tale of wooden structures crafted by Europeans millennia ago and how dendrochronology helped determine their age.
Confessing to Plant Blindness
Bob Grant | Mar 1, 2020 | 3 min read
I have taken plants for granted. I pledge to change.
Opinion: Tree Rings as Soothsayers
Valerie Trouet | Mar 1, 2020 | 3 min read
Not only can studying the growth patterns obscured within tree trunks tell us about the past, the field can also help us plan for the future.
The Scientist Infographics: Editor’s Picks of 2019
Jef Akst | Dec 18, 2019 | 3 min read
This year’s most beautiful illustrations covered topics including the molecular underpinnings of Parkinson’s disease and strategies for tracking marine organisms around the world’s oceans.
Mind the Vines
The Scientist Staff | Feb 1, 2019 | 1 min read
Watch UC Davis researcher and February profilee Neelima Sinha discuss her studies of parasitic vines and their interactions with plant hosts.
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