Who am I? | Plant Spotlight

This spring, I was fortunate to be able to visit the former garden of the late Camellia guru, Dr. Clifford Parks. One of the many plants that took our breath away was this unlabeled evergreen azalea. We were able to root cuttings, but now, I’m hoping someone out there in […]

Bringing Botany Back to Cities

Getting reacquainted with nature could be as easy as a walk in your local park, thanks to a new concept for creating informal botanical gardens throughout cities. Maya Melhem and colleagues recently published a study in Scientific Reports explaining how underutilised green spaces can be transformed into “Ancillary Botanic Gardens”, […]

Australian Scientists Find How Controlled Burns Can Be Managed So That They Don’t Needlessly Endanger Quokkas

According to a recent study, vulnerable quokkas avoid prescribed burn areas for months, but unburned patches provide critical refuge for the displaced marsupials. A new study published by Povh and colleagues in the International Journal of Wildland Fire has revealed how individual quokkas, a threatened marsupial species, respond to prescribed burns in […]

The poet and the tree: The mythology of rowan

Rowan by Oliver Southall, 2023. Reaktion Books. What is the connection between an angiosperm whose leaves “arranged around a dark black void … evoke portals to the spiritual otherworld” (p. 198), Scotland’s highest-altitude tree [as of 15th June 2023] (Sarah Watts, British & Irish Botany 5(2): 167-179, 2023),* Boris Pasternak’s […]

Hot termites, cold fungi, warm sharks

Termite nest in a dead Banksia, by Margaret R Donald [Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license]. A few plants, such as Amorphophallus species (Cyrille Claudel et al.) and Arum maculatum (Anneke Wagner et al.), are dramatically thermogenic with the capacity to increase their temperature well above that of their […]

Spicate Ginger |

Looking great in mid August is Hedychium spicatum. This is a ginger lily species we saw throughout our late 1990s travels in Yunnan, China. Pictured below are our 3 year old seed-grown specimen, which has already become a massive 5′ tall x 10′ wide. The flower is much smaller than […]

Five Root Models Compete in Benchmarking Challenge

Functional-structural root architecture models (FSRMs) can be used to select root traits that optimize plant performance under specific environmental conditions. Current simulators differ in the way they (1) represent the way the processes are captured and translated into mathematical equations; (2) solve mathematical problems by their choice of analytical or […]

A Caribbean Star | Plant Spotlight

Begonia ‘Caribbean Star’ is looking excellent in our begonia garden trials, despite our 11 degree F. winter. This fascinating Tim Anderson (Palm Hammock Orchid Estate) hybrid was made widely available thanks to begoniaphile, John Boggan. Our 2′ tall x 2′ wide ‘plants have been in the ground since 2019, although […]

Pigging-out* on soy

This image of soybeans is a work of a United States Department of Agriculture employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties, and is therefore in the public domain. Amongst humankind, there has always been conflict between the omnivores (who eat a varied diet including animal and […]

Getting to the bottom of plant nutrition

It is reasonably well understood that plants need a range of chemical elements to ensure that they grow and develop properly and can complete a full life cycle. Those elements, called nutrients in this plant-nourishing context, are broadly divided into two categories, those that are needed in relatively large amounts […]

Une race à part | Pleins feux sur les plantes

L’amélioration des plantes est un passe-temps merveilleux qui attire un éventail d’amateurs, ainsi que des professionnels des plantes. De nombreuses plantes, telles que l’hémérocalle, l’hosta, l’hibiscus et l’iris, sont si faciles qu’elles attirent la majorité des éleveurs amateurs. Les professionnels et les sélectionneurs les plus fous se concentrent parfois sur […]