Plant & zo

The science of plants and more

How to predict winter

How to predict winter It’s a challenge, year after year, to stop growing on time. And, after winter, to start again. Annual plants have it easy. They germinate, grow, flower, set seeds, disperse them, and die. Simple. Easy, first one thing than the next. Being a perennial is not that easy. Every year you needContinue reading “How to predict winter”

Oxygen shortage

Oxygen shortage Plants, you can find them everywhere, even on top of a mountain. Circumstances are different there, on top of the mountain, than here, below at sea level. The air, for example, is thinner. Which causes problems. Even though, plants breath CO2, oxygen is important. So important, they have a special detection system forContinue reading “Oxygen shortage”

Touching: No thanks

Touching: No thanks A path across a field of grass, noticeable because the grass is shorter. Grass we often walk over grows slower. It is one of the most eye-catching examples how plants react to repeated touch. They don’t like it. Above ground plants grow less fast, and flower later. Below ground, they anchor themselvesContinue reading “Touching: No thanks”

Precision insecticide

Precision insecticide Fields full of crops are an all you can eat buffet for many insects. They eat the plants. Not something a farmer wishes, as it lowers the yield. The most effective method: killing all the insects with insecticides. Although, this is also not something we like to do. A dilemma for the farmer.Continue reading “Precision insecticide”

A good place to land

A good place to land In an impulse you pick a fluffy head of a dandelion, breath in and blow the stem clear. Hundreds fluffy seeds fill the air. On their way to find a place for growing into a new dandelion. How do those seed know the best place? When you look up closeContinue reading “A good place to land”

About sugar and starch

About sugar and starch Just like us plants don’t like a lack of energy. During the day plants get their energy from sunlight and CO2. To prevent running out of energy during the night, plants turn part of that energy into starch. When there is not enough or no sunlight, plants breakdown this starch intoContinue reading “About sugar and starch”

A glimpse from the past

A glimpse from the past Photosynthesis, turning CO2 into sugars, that is something plants are good in, or not? True, plants can do this. We even recognise it as one of the major feats of plants. But to say that they can do it extremely well, not really. For plant scientist like to see ifContinue reading “A glimpse from the past”

How to stop

How to stop To grow or not to grow, that is the question. It influences the form of an organ and organism, such as a  plant. Therefore, the question when to start growing and when to stop is an important one. It is also the question that occupies plant root researchers from Germany. Root growthContinue reading How to stop

Calculating plants

Calculating plants Plants are cool. Just that they can convert sunlight into sugar should justify this. But plants do so much more. One of the things they can do that I found just astounding is their ability to adjust the speed with which they turn starch into sugar. Of all the energy plants get fromContinue reading “Calculating plants”

Light makes plants move

Light makes plants move Light, the most important energy source for a plant. It is not always easily accessible. Anchored in the ground, plants can not step out of the shadow and into the light. But that is not to say that they don’t try to reach for the light. They do. By moving theirContinue reading “Light makes plants move”

Caught in the moment

Caught in the moment Evolution, a slow process, difficult to see in action. Often it is so slow, only after a long time, you notice something has changed. Then, try finding out what caused the change. Sometimes, however, it is at once clear something has changed. An organ or a limp is missing, misplaced, orContinue reading “Caught in the moment”

Natural variation in the wild

Natural variation in the wild In general, researchers want to have as much control over their experiments as possible. This helps to say with certainty that the effect they see is due to the treatment they gave. The more variation during experiments, the less certain they are they can point to the cause of theContinue reading “Natural variation in the wild”

Germinating with FLOE1

Germinating with FLOE1 Cool, that is what you can call the latest research in seed germination. Researchers found that when water is taken up by a seed, a prion-like protein is separating itself, in a kind of gel, from the rest of the cell. Seeds have the remarkable property that they can survive long periods,Continue reading “Germinating with FLOE1”


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