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Posts Tagged "botany"

The Artful Amoeba

An Eye-Popping New Look at Flowers’ Highly Public Private Parts

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People who lack the gardening bug often regard flowers like fashion models: pretty but boring. Jens Petersen, the man who gave us the groundbreaking photographs of fungi in “The Kingdom of Fungi”, which I reviewed here in March, has a new book of photographs (still available only in Danish, unfortunately, and called Blomsterliv — “Flower [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Grasses’ Secret: They Have Flowers, and Some Are Gorgeous

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Growing up, I felt certain that grass and most trees did not have flowers. They just had leaves and seeds — that was all I could see, anyway. It wasn’t until college that my eyes were opened. Not only do all trees except conifers and tree ferns have flowers, so do all grasses. All of [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

In Darkened Forests, Ferns Stole Gene From an Unlikely Source — and Then From Each Other

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Scientists knew neochrome was odd before they started rooting around in its family tree. A union of independent proteins — red-sensing phytochrome and blue-sensing phototropin — the super-protein combines two already-great pieces into one fantastic whole that helps plants grow toward dim, filtered light. It’s a slick little adaptation for living on the murky forest [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Defrosted Moss Sprouts Anew After 1,500 years in Antarctic Permafrost

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Last year I blogged about the surprising discovery that mosses released after 400 years of frozen glacial ensquashment had managed to survive and sprout new growth, a finding that radically altered our ideas about regrowth during the retreat of ice ages. Now, a new study in Current Biology pushes that back at least a millennium [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Flying for Free the Horsetail Spore Way

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In spite of their sedentary reputations (putting down roots being, perhaps, the ultimate symbol of stability), plants are capable of a surprising range of movements, and not just the Venus flytraps of the world. Observe: At :36, the spores appear to scuttle about like dozens of itsy bitsy spiders, and at 1:17 they launch themselves [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Love Wine and Tea? Scientists Discover Plant Part Whence Their Pucker Springs

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When you take a sip of red wine or black tea, you’re swallowing a stiff swig of tannins. These astringent plant chemicals give the beverages their characteristic pucker. Now, the part of plant cells that makes and transports tannins — long overlooked by botanists — has at last been discovered, hiding right under our noses. [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

How the Mosses That Got Run Over By a Glacier Survived Their Ordeal

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A few months ago, scientists revealed that some plucky mosses in Canada managed to do something long thought impossible: survive a 400-year close encounter with the business end of a glacier, and live to sprout another day. The conventional wisdom on glaciers was that they were Earth-scraping, life-razing forces of geology. Nothing could survive their [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Are Cycads Social Plants?

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Botanists have long puzzled over a peculiarity of ancient plants called cycads: they have huge, bright, fleshy seeds displayed in enormous cones. Yet there’s nothing correspondingly ginormous to eat and — I’ll use the polite term here — disperse them. And if their presumed former big dispersers (perhaps super-sized ice age mammals, marsupials, birds — [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Mosses Make Two Different Plants From the Same Genome, and a Single Gene Can Make the Difference

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One of the most astonishing secrets in biology is this: every plant you see makes two different plants from the same genome. And, scientists recently reported, a single gene from an ancient, powerful lineage can make the difference. How can such a truth be so little known? In most land plants, including conifers and flowering [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Roots Down, Shoots Up. But How Does a Plant Know Which is Which?

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When an avalanche tears down a mountain, a revealing, if inadvertant, botanical experiment is sometimes begun. Though trees in the path of the angry snow are often ripped from their roots and deposited unceremoniously downhill, occasionally, overturned trees hold fast. Some roots of these partially upturned trees break and die of exposure. But some remain [...]

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Compound Eye

The Mighty Saguaro, The Mighty Cardon

Ecological twins across the northern & southern hemispheres:

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Culturing Science

Botanists finally ditch Latin and paper, enter 21st century

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While some schoolchildren daydream about crushes during class, delicately inscribing their names in paper margins, others instead yearn to one day discover and name their own species for the cute boy at the corner desk. But they know little about the excess work involved in plant discovery. Even after discovering and confirming a new species [...]

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Extinction Countdown

2 Trees Twice Thought to Be Extinct Rediscovered in Tanzania

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How’s this for luck? Two tree species that scientists believed were extinct—twice—have been rediscovered in a remote area of Tanzania. According to a paper published in the Journal of East African Natural History, the two species were rediscovered in the remote, highly fragmented and rarely explored Namatimbili–Ngarama Forest, 35 kilometers inland from the Indian Ocean. [...]

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Food Matters

From Biergartens to Boozegartens: Growing Your Own Cocktails With The Drunken Botanist

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Do you know the story of the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees? Yes, there’s that one. But there’s also a more literal one that involves creation, specifically, how the world’s greatest alcoholic beverages came to be. It seems they are all created from plants–that’s according to an expert on the [...]

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Observations

A Rose Is a Rose, Until It Isn’t: 5 Reasons Plant DNA Is Totally Crazy

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You may not give your houseplants enough credit. What looks like an innocent philodendron gathering dust may actually be a riddle wrapped in a mystery shrouded in potting soil…at least genetically. Turns out plants have some interesting genetic quirks that keep geneticists guessing. As challenges in finding gene-sequencing shortcuts, called barcodes, have made clear, deciphering plant [...]

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Observations

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers Were Genetic Mutants

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The word “sunflower” brings to mind a mane of vibrant yellow petals encircling a dark whorl of seeds. But not all sunflowers are alike. Some sunflowers have scraggly petals, for instance, or small centers. Many of the sunflowers Vincent Van Gogh depicted in his famous series of oil paintings look rather unusual, sporting wooly, chrysanthemum-like [...]

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Observations

Late Bloomer: Trailblazing 18th-Century Woman Botanist Finally Honored with Namesake

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In the 18th century, not yet 30 years old, she became the first woman to travel around the world. Along the way she helped collect thousands of plant specimens, some of which were new species. And she did it all dressed as a man. In her own lifetime, French botanist Jeanne Baret fought for recognition [...]

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Symbiartic

Portraits of Bonsai at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

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As I write this, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is preparing an exhibit showcasing the work of Dick Rauh, a botanical illustrator who has distinguished himself as a master of botanical illustration since he picked up a pen and paper in his retirement. In a show called “Patience, Paper, Pen and Brush,” the Gardens will be [...]

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Symbiartic

Why Isn’t More Botanical Art Like This?

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Botanical art has some conventions that have helped the practice remain accurate and disciplined: portions of the plants painted in isolation on white backgrounds; often 1:1 in size with the real plant; typically in watercolour for the range of colours (Opera Pink, anyone?) and known factors in preservation. After seeing these works-in-progress by Mieke Roth, [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt on Exhibit in Sept/Oct 2013

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Summer may be coming to a close, but there are buckets of good science art exhibitions opening at venues near YOU! EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION SENSING CHANGE July 1, 2013 – May 2, 2014 Chemical Heritage Foundation Gallery 315 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA Sensing Change, an initiative of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, invites us to explore [...]

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Symbiartic

What Did You Miss?

Last month, we posted a wide variety of science-art here at Symbiartic. We thought it’d be nice to post an overview in case you missed or wanted to revisit any. Enjoy!

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: Hubble-Inspired Art, Linneaus’ Illustrations and…

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Lots of exhibits closing this week – don’t miss out! Also, an artist and an astronomer take data from the Hubble and turn it into an art installation at the AMNH; two new competitions to consider entering; and an evening with DJ Spooky at a science art exhibit in NY. The deets: SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS **NEW** [...]

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Symbiartic

Tree of Life by Michele Banks

© Michele Banks / Artologica

If you follow the #scienceart hashtag on Twitter and G+, you’ll know that Michele Banks aka @artologica is one of the most active and vocal artists in this new movement. Symbiartic will have an interview and more in-depth talk with Banks in coming days, but in the meantime I could not wait to share this [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 5: Lectures, Exhibits, News and more

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New this week: a New York City gallery is featuring three-dimensional topographic maps designed by cartographer Jeffrey Ambroziak; science artist Lynn Fellman hosts an open studio in Minneapolis; the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Greater New York Chapter’s member show closes; and ScienceOnline2012 nears registration time (Nov. 1st!) SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS **NEW** Artists’ Studio Open House: [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 4: Lectures, Exhibits, News and more

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This week, we’re adding a new science art exhibit in the UK inspired by the saline destruction of the Murray Darling basin in Australia and the bleaching of coral reefs as a result of sugarcane harvesting and another featuring work from the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators in Ontario. Don’t miss out! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 3: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

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This week, a new science art exhibit and a call for entries. Also, just six days left to submit a video in support of the James Webb Telescope. Get on it! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS SONSI’s 2011 Presentation Day (Toronto, ON) October 16, 2011; 12-5pm | An afternoon of illustration-related presentations by members of the Southern Ontario [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 2: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

This week, there are several new exhibits to note, as well as a monthly discussion forum on science and art in DC. Also, don’t miss the calls for entries in two new exhibit opportunities – one pays in cash, the other, glory! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS SONSI’s 2011 Presentation Day (Toronto, ON) October 16, 2011; 12-5pm | [...]

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