gennaiv
gennaiv:

My Favorite Plant Of The Desert:
Of course, yucca is only my favorite desert plant because there are no coal plants or nuclear power plants in this West Texas part of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Give them time, though 😢. Those are the Chisos Mountains in the background with Casa Grande right behind the the stalk fartherest right. I was near the western end of the often rough River Road in Big Bend NP when I shot the photo.

gennaiv:

My Favorite Plant Of The Desert:

Of course, yucca is only my favorite desert plant because there are no coal plants or nuclear power plants in this West Texas part of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Give them time, though 😢. Those are the Chisos Mountains in the background with Casa Grande right behind the the stalk fartherest right. I was near the western end of the often rough River Road in Big Bend NP when I shot the photo.

Meet China’s baby-shaped pears and heart-shaped melons
Baby-shaped pears, heart-shaped watermelons and square apples are hitting supermarkets in China and Japan. But are these fruits just frivolous fun?
by Bec Crew
Since the beginnings of agriculture, humans have been customising their fruits and vegetables to suit their needs. Early on, bigger fruits and higher yields were the most important considerations, and while these factors still outweigh the actual taste factor, other, slightly less pressing desires have come into play over the past decade or so.
Namely, people want to eat fruit that doesn’t look like regular fruit.
Which is how baby-shaped pears have come into existence. Grown by China-based manufacturing company, Fruit Mould Co., these strange little shapes have been selling like crazy in China, along with square-shaped apples, and heart-shaped watermelons and cucumbers. Their Buddha-shaped pears are apparently extremely popular…
(read more: ScienceAlert! - Australia & NZ)
photos: Fruit Mould Co.

Meet China’s baby-shaped pears and heart-shaped melons

Baby-shaped pears, heart-shaped watermelons and square apples are hitting supermarkets in China and Japan. But are these fruits just frivolous fun?

by Bec Crew

Since the beginnings of agriculture, humans have been customising their fruits and vegetables to suit their needs. Early on, bigger fruits and higher yields were the most important considerations, and while these factors still outweigh the actual taste factor, other, slightly less pressing desires have come into play over the past decade or so.

Namely, people want to eat fruit that doesn’t look like regular fruit.

Which is how baby-shaped pears have come into existence. Grown by China-based manufacturing company, Fruit Mould Co., these strange little shapes have been selling like crazy in China, along with square-shaped apples, and heart-shaped watermelons and cucumbers. Their Buddha-shaped pears are apparently extremely popular

(read more: ScienceAlert! - Australia & NZ)

photos: Fruit Mould Co.

The Brazilian Jabuticaba tree (Plinia cauliflora) well and truly takes advantage of all the surface area on its trunk by growing its sweet, grape-like fruits all over.
* This syndrome of growing fruit on the trunk is called cauliflory, and is believed to have evolved to make fruit more accessible to gound based frugivorous animals. The fruits are a popular food for humans in parts of South America, and have a wide variety of preparations and uses. (- Paxon)
Images: Bruno.karklis and Anderson S Silva (bit.ly/1sXHwip)
(via: ScienceAlert!)

The Brazilian Jabuticaba tree (Plinia cauliflora) well and truly takes advantage of all the surface area on its trunk by growing its sweet, grape-like fruits all over.

* This syndrome of growing fruit on the trunk is called cauliflory, and is believed to have evolved to make fruit more accessible to gound based frugivorous animals. The fruits are a popular food for humans in parts of South America, and have a wide variety of preparations and uses. (- Paxon)

Images: Bruno.karklis and Anderson S Silva (bit.ly/1sXHwip)

(via: ScienceAlert!)

Unidentified Objects on Oak Leaf - Canada:
Hi, could you possibly tell me what the heck this is growing (living?) on the underside of this leaf? It’s on (some sort of) oak tree in Alberta, Canada, and I only found it on one leaf.
Paxon:
I believe that these are leaf galls. In oaks, leaf galls are usually caused by a species of tiny gall wasp laying its egg(s) on or in the tissue of a leaf, The larva hatches from the egg, and with the use of certain chemicals, forms this structure in the leaf. The gall makes a hardened case for the larva to develop in, and on the inside produces various food substances from the plant, for the larva. The larva burrows out of the gall, once it develops into an adult.
Nematode worms, mites, and various other insects may form galls in the leaf and branch tissues of various kinds of plants. Some galls are more of a protective reaction by some plants, basically protective scar tissue, and in some other plant-gall former relationships, the formation of the gall is more within the power of the parasitic larva.

Unidentified Objects on Oak Leaf - Canada:

Hi, could you possibly tell me what the heck this is growing (living?) on the underside of this leaf? It’s on (some sort of) oak tree in Alberta, Canada, and I only found it on one leaf.

Paxon:

I believe that these are leaf galls. In oaks, leaf galls are usually caused by a species of tiny gall wasp laying its egg(s) on or in the tissue of a leaf, The larva hatches from the egg, and with the use of certain chemicals, forms this structure in the leaf. The gall makes a hardened case for the larva to develop in, and on the inside produces various food substances from the plant, for the larva. The larva burrows out of the gall, once it develops into an adult.

Nematode worms, mites, and various other insects may form galls in the leaf and branch tissues of various kinds of plants. Some galls are more of a protective reaction by some plants, basically protective scar tissue, and in some other plant-gall former relationships, the formation of the gall is more within the power of the parasitic larva.

darccmarcc
biodiverseed:

Black tomatoes, that are unusually high in anthocyanins (pigments with antioxidant properties that are possibly neuro-protective, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory) have been accidentally bred by the folks working on the "Indigo Rose" project at Oregon State University.
The same group of pigments is responsible for the deep shades of certain red and purple berries, and autumnal foliage colours.
(h/t malformalady, The Daily Mail)
#tomatoes #garden science

biodiverseed:

Black tomatoes, that are unusually high in anthocyanins (pigments with antioxidant properties that are possibly neuro-protective, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory) have been accidentally bred by the folks working on the "Indigo Rose" project at Oregon State University.

The same group of pigments is responsible for the deep shades of certain red and purple berries, and autumnal foliage colours.

(h/t malformalady, The Daily Mail)

#tomatoes #garden science

Pollen from a variety of common plants:
sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis).
* The image is magnified some x500, so the bean shaped grain in the bottom left corner is about 50 μm long.
image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College - Source at Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility ([1], [2])

Pollen from a variety of common plants:

sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis).

* The image is magnified some x500, so the bean shaped grain in the bottom left corner is about 50 μm long.

image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College - Source at Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility ([1], [2])

Vampire Plant Also Sucks Hosts Genes, While Feeding

by Tanya Lewis

Like an herbivorous Count Dracula, a snakelike vine coils around its leafy victim, punctures its stem and proceeds to suck out its life juices.

The parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona, commonly known as strangleweed or dodder, preys on many common crop plants. Not only does the parasite siphon water and nutrients from its host, but it also exchanges genetic messages with its victim, according to a study detailed today (Aug. 15) in the journal Science.

The findings reveal a new way that plants communicate with each other, and the study may help scientists understand how to combat parasitic plants that destroy food crops around the world, the researchers said.

(via: Live Science)

libutron

realmonstrosities:

The Pelican Flower is a Central American vine with huge flowers that bloom for just two days before they wilt and die.

The first day is spent using the stench of death and decay to attract flies which get trapped overnight within the depths of the flower. They’re only let out the next day, after a dowsing of pollen, so they can get trapped by a whole new flower and pollinate it in the process.

Pelican Flowers get their name from looking a bit like a pelican from the side. I guess Malevolent Alien Chrysalis Flower didn’t catch on.

…Images: dl7tny/Cary Bass/Kew on Flickr/Brian Chiu/Brian Henderson

Western Redcedars (Thuja plicata) 
… are among North America’s largest trees. They can reach diameters of 10-13 ft (3-4 m) and heights of 213-230 ft (65-70 m), though they are still typically only one-third the volume of Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum). 
Large individuals may be many centuries old. One in British Columbia was estimated at around 700 years old when it was destroyed by vandals; when it fell, it was so massive the impact effectively dug its own “grave”. Redcedars are reknowned for their timber. 
They have high-quality wood with few knots, but what makes them especially appealing is Thujaplicin, a chemical that occurs naturally in mature trees and functions as a fungicide, preventing rot. The anti-fungal chemicals remain effective for up to a century after the tree is harvested. 
Shown is the Kalaloch Redcedar of Olympic National Park in Washington, which was the third-largest known individual of the species until it was destroyed in a storm earlier this year.photo by woodleywonderworks on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)

Western Redcedars (Thuja plicata)

… are among North America’s largest trees. They can reach diameters of 10-13 ft (3-4 m) and heights of 213-230 ft (65-70 m), though they are still typically only one-third the volume of Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum).

Large individuals may be many centuries old. One in British Columbia was estimated at around 700 years old when it was destroyed by vandals; when it fell, it was so massive the impact effectively dug its own “grave”. Redcedars are reknowned for their timber.

They have high-quality wood with few knots, but what makes them especially appealing is Thujaplicin, a chemical that occurs naturally in mature trees and functions as a fungicide, preventing rot. The anti-fungal chemicals remain effective for up to a century after the tree is harvested.

Shown is the Kalaloch Redcedar of Olympic National Park in Washington, which was the third-largest known individual of the species until it was destroyed in a storm earlier this year.

photo by woodleywonderworks on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)

libutron
libutron:

The Elephant yam - A striking aroid used as food, fodder and medical
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Alismatales - Araceae) is a large aroid, which is found throughout Asia. In the wild it is ruderal in habit and grows in a very wide range of moist, semi-shaded to open, secondary and disturbed forests, shrublands, scrubs and grasslands. It is also cultivated as an ornamental for its striking compound foliage and unusual and dramatic flowering and fruiting structures.
The plant produces a single inflorescence (flowering spike) crowned with a bulbous maroon knob and encircled by a fleshy maroon and green-blotched bract. After the growing season, this dies back to an underground storage organ (tuber).
Commonly known as Elephant yam, it is one of the staple food plants of tropical Asia, and is extensively cultivated for its edible tubers, which are the third most important carbohydrate source after rice and maize in Indonesia. They are also consumed widely in India and Sri Lanka, although elsewhere they are seen as a famine crop, to be used when more popular staples, such as rice, are in short supply.
Elephant yam has medicinal properties and is used in many Ayurvedic (traditional Hindu) preparations. Severals studies have been done on the properties of this plant. Several experimental studies have been done on the properties of this plant, showing that tuber extract has real antioxidant activity and inhibition of hepatic cell proliferation in cancer, however this has only been proven in experimental protocols with mice.
Other common names: Elephant foot yam, Whitespot giant arum, Stink lily, Telinga potato.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©tpholland | Locality: cultivated - Par, England, UK (2012)

libutron:

The Elephant yam - A striking aroid used as food, fodder and medical

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Alismatales - Araceae) is a large aroid, which is found throughout Asia. In the wild it is ruderal in habit and grows in a very wide range of moist, semi-shaded to open, secondary and disturbed forests, shrublands, scrubs and grasslands. It is also cultivated as an ornamental for its striking compound foliage and unusual and dramatic flowering and fruiting structures.

The plant produces a single inflorescence (flowering spike) crowned with a bulbous maroon knob and encircled by a fleshy maroon and green-blotched bract. After the growing season, this dies back to an underground storage organ (tuber).

Commonly known as Elephant yam, it is one of the staple food plants of tropical Asia, and is extensively cultivated for its edible tubers, which are the third most important carbohydrate source after rice and maize in Indonesia. They are also consumed widely in India and Sri Lanka, although elsewhere they are seen as a famine crop, to be used when more popular staples, such as rice, are in short supply.

Elephant yam has medicinal properties and is used in many Ayurvedic (traditional Hindu) preparations. Severals studies have been done on the properties of this plant. Several experimental studies have been done on the properties of this plant, showing that tuber extract has real antioxidant activity and inhibition of hepatic cell proliferation in cancer, however this has only been proven in experimental protocols with mice.

Other common names: Elephant foot yam, Whitespot giant arum, Stink lily, Telinga potato.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©tpholland | Locality: cultivated - Par, England, UK (2012)

Guess Who’s Been Waiting In The Lobby For A Hundred Million Years?

by Robert Krulwich

Sometimes the quiet ones surprise us.

Take moss — those fuzzy green pads you see on the sides of old trees, or hanging onto rocks. Who notices moss? It’s just … there, doing whatever it does — so slowly, so terribly slowly, that nobody bothers to think about it.

Moss creeps up tree bark, sits quietly on crevasses in rocks. Moss is an old, old life form, one of the earliest plants to attach to land around 450 million years ago. It’s very patient, very modest — but when you look closely, you discover it has super powers…

(read more: NPR.org)

photos:  tanaka/flickr  and kip/flickr

Alaska National Parks
 While wildfire season has been quiet in Alaska’s national parks, our crews have been busy with projects, including fire ecology research one year after the Lake Clark National Park & Preserve 1,900-acre Currant Creek fire and the 17,000-acre Kristen Creek fire.
While studying the Kristen Creek fire, staff discovered Rock Harlequin (Corydalis sempervirens) blooming in the burned area. Corydalis seeds can lie dormant on the forest floor for decades or even centuries, until germination is triggered by a disturbance, such as a wildfire. A pioneer species, it is most abundant the first few years after a fire. 

More information: Rock Harlequin - NPS 

NPS: Yasunori Matsui/NPS

 While wildfire season has been quiet in Alaska’s national parks, our crews have been busy with projects, including fire ecology research one year after the Lake Clark National Park & Preserve 1,900-acre Currant Creek fire and the 17,000-acre Kristen Creek fire.

While studying the Kristen Creek fire, staff discovered Rock Harlequin (Corydalis sempervirens) blooming in the burned area. Corydalis seeds can lie dormant on the forest floor for decades or even centuries, until germination is triggered by a disturbance, such as a wildfire. A pioneer species, it is most abundant the first few years after a fire.
More information: Rock Harlequin - NPS
NPS: Yasunori Matsui/NPS

The Bird and the Pine Tree at Crater Lake National Park

Tuesday’s Tree this week is the Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and its relationship with the Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana.) The Whitebark Pine is known as a “stone pine”, meaning that the cone doesn’t open on its own.

The Whitebark Pine needs the Clark’s Nutcracker’s sharp beak to open the cone and distribute the seeds, stashing them around Crater Lake. The Clark’s Nutcracker gets a winter food source from the “stashed” seeds, and the next generation of Whitebark Pine trees grow from the seeds not reclaimed.

(via: Crater Lake National Park)