Wheat Crop

Earthworm Bounty Calculated

Earthworm bounty calculated by scientists who correlated a global atlas of earthworm abundance with maps of agricultural production, taking into account soil properties and artificial fertilisers. They concluded: “Our findings indicate that earthworms contribute to roughly 6.5% of global grain (maize, rice, wheat, barley) production and 2.3% of legume production, equivalent to over 140 million […]

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Gooyera orchids

Orchid Species Blurred Without Bumblebees

An orchid named Goodyera henryi is found in mainland Japan where it is exclusively pollinated by bumblebees, which have long tongues and reach deep into the flowers.  Researchers from Kobe University were surprised to find this orchid on Kozu Island a remote island where there are no bumblebees. Another orchid named Goodyera similis lives on […]

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Frog in Flower

Frogs As Pollinators?

Scientists in South America noticed a Brazilian tree frog Xenohyla truncate feeding on nectar from the flowers of the milk fruit tree Cordia taguahyensis and claim they may have found the first known frog pollinator.  Frogs are well known for eating insects but X truncate has been found to feed on small fruits.  Carlos Henriquede-Oliveira-Nogueira, […]

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Hairy Cactus

Hairy Cacti Help Bats Find Flowers

A South American cactus named Espostoa frutescens is pollinated by bats.  As bats are active at night, how do bats find flowers in dark?  Some bat-pollinated flowers are able to reflect bats’ echolocating sounds, so scientists at Nuremberg Zoo, Germany and Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands, studied these cacti to see if they had any special […]

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Self Planting Seeds Inspired by Natural Seeds

A team of scientists and engineers have developed a simple device enables seeds to bury themselves in soil.  They were inspired by the seeds of a plant Erodium cicutarium aka stork’s bill geranium.  These seeds have a corkscrew shaped tail that coils and uncoils with changing moisture levels and this movement drills the seeds into […]

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Pitcher Plants

Pitcher Plants Thrive on Shrew Poo

Like all plants, pitcher plants need a source of nitrogen to grow well. Most plants get this from the soil, from nitrogen rich animal droppings which have been incorporated into the soil. Carnivorous plants can also obtain nitrogen from ‘prey’. Some species pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes can also capture animal droppings as their […]

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White Egret Orchid

Fascinating Fertility Fringe for Orchid

A beautiful white orchid known as the white egret orchid Habenaria radiata has distinctive petals with long fringes on each side of the flower.  These were thought to simply act as visual signals to attract their main pollinators, two species of nocturnal hawkmoths.  Scientists in Japan have studied the interaction between moths and orchids and […]

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Red Algae

Pollination in the Sea

A group of European researchers have studied a seaweed named Gracilaria gracilis that grows in the tidepools around Europe.  This seaweed is in a class of red algae known as Florideophyceae, and has separate male and female forms.  Unlike many marine organisms the females do not release their eggs into the water to be fertilised, […]

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No Blue Colour in Bluest Berries

The fruits of a shrub named Lantana strigocamara have a distinct blue colour with a metallic sheen.  Scientists at University of Colorado, Boulder, have studied these to find out where the blue colour comes from and found it is not from any blue pigment.  The berry-like fruits have a complex structure of lipid droplets in […]

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Giant Water Liliy

Giant Leaf Mechanics

A group of scientists from UK, USA and France have studied the structure of the leaves of the giant Amazonian water lily to see how the leaves can grow so large without becoming too massive for the plant to maintain.  The leaves are the largest floating leaves in the world and can grow up to […]

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