palaeopedia
paleopedia:

The Cooksonia (1937)
Kingdom : PlantaeSubkingdom : EmbryophytaClade : PolysporangiophytaDivision : TracheophytaGenus : CooksoniaSpecies : C. pertoni, C. hemisphaerica, C. cambrensis, C. bohemica, C. paranensis, C. banksii
Middle Silurian/early Ordovician (423 - 397 Ma)
5 cm long (size)
North America, Brazil and Siberia (map)
Only the sporophyte phase of Cooksonia is currently known (i.e. the phase which produces spores rather than gametes). Individuals were small, a few centimetres tall, and had a simple structure. They lacked leaves, flowers and roots — although it has been speculated that they grew from an unpreserved rhizome.
They had a simple stalk that branched dichotomously a few times. Each branch ended in a sporangium or spore-bearing capsule. In his original description of the genus, Lang described the sporangia as flattened, “with terminal sporangia that are short and wide”, and in the species Cooksonia pertoni “considerably wider than high”…
(read more)

paleopedia:

The Cooksonia (1937)

Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Embryophyta
Clade : Polysporangiophyta
Division : Tracheophyta
Genus : Cooksonia
Species : C. pertoni, C. hemisphaerica, C. cambrensis, C. bohemica, C. paranensis, C. banksii

  • Middle Silurian/early Ordovician (423 - 397 Ma)
  • 5 cm long (size)
  • North America, Brazil and Siberia (map)

Only the sporophyte phase of Cooksonia is currently known (i.e. the phase which produces spores rather than gametes). Individuals were small, a few centimetres tall, and had a simple structure. They lacked leaves, flowers and roots — although it has been speculated that they grew from an unpreserved rhizome.

They had a simple stalk that branched dichotomously a few times. Each branch ended in a sporangium or spore-bearing capsule. In his original description of the genus, Lang described the sporangia as flattened, “with terminal sporangia that are short and wide”, and in the species Cooksonia pertoni “considerably wider than high”…

(read more)

Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
- family Solonaceae
Some species are born invaders, like bittersweet nightshade, a non-native vine (to North America, native to Europe) with purple flowers and red berries. So what makes it such a successful space invader while other foreign plants never make it? 
Find out in our new podcast: Encyclopedia of Life Ed. Podcast Image Credit: Svdmolen, Wikimedia Commons
*  S.dulcamara is a common European weed. It grows in hedgerows, gardens and wasteland throughout Europe and spreads via underground stems. It has been used in folk medicine across Europe for hundreds of years… (read more)

Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

- family Solonaceae

Some species are born invaders, like bittersweet nightshade, a non-native vine (to North America, native to Europe) with purple flowers and red berries. So what makes it such a successful space invader while other foreign plants never make it?

Find out in our new podcast: Encyclopedia of Life Ed. Podcast

Image Credit: Svdmolen, Wikimedia Commons

S.dulcamara is a common European weed. It grows in hedgerows, gardens and wasteland throughout Europe and spreads via underground stems. It has been used in folk medicine across Europe for hundreds of years… (read more)

Plant ID
Hey, Paxon! I’m back again with another identification for you. I’ve seen these things everywhere during July here in southwest Missouri, however I’m unable to figure out what they are. I immediately knew you’d be the guy to go to!
Paxon:
Hey hey hey there… I’m no expert on wildflowers in Missouri, but I’m pretty sure this is a wild onion. I’m not exactly sure which variety, but its either Wild Meadow Garlic aka Wild onion (Allium canadense), which is native, or Wild Garlic (Allium vineale), which i believe was introduced from Eurasia. I’m leaning towards the latter, because of the dark red/purple bulblets and wiry green flower stems emanating from them. Though I cannot tell without the plant in hand.
While both are gathered as wild food, I would caution against eating them from the wild, as they have both been known to cause gastro-intestinal problems for some people.

Plant ID

Hey, Paxon! I’m back again with another identification for you. I’ve seen these things everywhere during July here in southwest Missouri, however I’m unable to figure out what they are. I immediately knew you’d be the guy to go to!

Paxon:

Hey hey hey there… I’m no expert on wildflowers in Missouri, but I’m pretty sure this is a wild onion. I’m not exactly sure which variety, but its either Wild Meadow Garlic aka Wild onion (Allium canadense), which is native, or Wild Garlic (Allium vineale), which i believe was introduced from Eurasia. I’m leaning towards the latter, because of the dark red/purple bulblets and wiry green flower stems emanating from them. Though I cannot tell without the plant in hand.

While both are gathered as wild food, I would caution against eating them from the wild, as they have both been known to cause gastro-intestinal problems for some people.

Giant groundsel trees (Dendrosenecio kilimanjari)
- Shira Plateau, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
The trees are growing in open moorland along a permanent stream in volcanic rock at about 3600m. Dead leaves form an insulating layer around the trunks, protecting them from sub-freezing temperatures at night, and the viscous sap of living leaves acts as an anti-freeze. The human is 1.5m high, making the tallest plant about 8m high.Similar species are found at high altitudes in most of East Africa’s “sky islands”
(text/photo: David Bygott | Flickr)

Giant groundsel trees (Dendrosenecio kilimanjari)

- Shira Plateau, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

The trees are growing in open moorland along a permanent stream in volcanic rock at about 3600m. Dead leaves form an insulating layer around the trunks, protecting them from sub-freezing temperatures at night, and the viscous sap of living leaves acts as an anti-freeze. The human is 1.5m high, making the tallest plant about 8m high.
Similar species are found at high altitudes in most of East Africa’s “sky islands”

(text/photo: David Bygott | Flickr)

dendroica

davidbodenham:

Tree identification

Tree I.D. is a fundamental skill for anybody who is involved in the management and protection of a site. Ultimately trees are a depended on by many other species, with some species only found on certain species of tree.

Me and a fellow colleague, Al, have gone out with the distinct purpose on brushing up on out winter tree identification skills, in the Chevin Forest Park near Otley. Primarily, this involves using only bark and twigs as a source of identification.  Identification of trees in winter is relatively simple, once you understand the different patterns of budding on twigs, as well as types of bark. 

We cheated a bit with Britain’s two most common oak species the sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and English oak (Quercus robur), by identifying them by leaf stem as well as other features.

Here’s a few links to the location and useful books we used on the day:

Chevin info - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chevin

Tree ID - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collins-Tree-Guide-Owen-Johnson/dp/0007207719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357321438&sr=8-1

botanicalperversion
sugaratoms:  Newly Discovered Orchid

ON A REMOTE ISLAND in Papua New Guinea, scientists have uncovered the world’s only known orchid to produce flowers exclusively at night that die by the next morning.
Of more than 25,000 species in the orchid, only a handful flower in the evening. The new orchid, dubbed Bulbophyllum nocturnum, is the first known one whose flowers shrivel and fall off before dawn breaks.
Dendrobium chrysopterum - discovered bybotanist Andre Schuiteman in 1990 in PNG and described by him and Ed de Vogel. Found only in the forests of Eastern New Guinea.

Photo Credit: Andre Schuiteman

sugaratoms Newly Discovered Orchid

ON A REMOTE ISLAND in Papua New Guinea, scientists have uncovered the world’s only known orchid to produce flowers exclusively at night that die by the next morning.

Of more than 25,000 species in the orchid, only a handful flower in the evening. The new orchid, dubbed Bulbophyllum nocturnum, is the first known one whose flowers shrivel and fall off before dawn breaks.

Dendrobium chrysopterum - discovered bybotanist Andre Schuiteman in 1990 in PNG and described by him and Ed de Vogel. Found only in the forests of Eastern New Guinea.

Photo Credit: Andre Schuiteman
Plants Use Circadian Rhythms to Prepare For Battle With Insects
provided by Rice University
In a study of the molecular underpinnings of plants’ pest resistance,  Rice University biologists have shown that plants both anticipate  daytime raids by hungry insects and make sophisticated preparations to  fend them off.
"When you walk past plants, they don’t look like they’re doing  anything," said Janet Braam, an investigator on the new study, which  appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  “It’s intriguing to see all of this activity down at the genetic level.  It’s like watching a besieged fortress go on full alert.”
Braam, professor and chair of Rice’s Department of Biochemistry and  Cell Biology, said scientists have long known that plants have an  internal clock that allows them to measure time regardless of light  conditions. For example, some plants that track the sun with their  leaves during the day are known to “reset” their leaves at night and  move them back toward the east in anticipation of sunrise…
(read more: Science Daily)     (image: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University)

Plants Use Circadian Rhythms to Prepare For Battle With Insects

provided by Rice University

In a study of the molecular underpinnings of plants’ pest resistance, Rice University biologists have shown that plants both anticipate daytime raids by hungry insects and make sophisticated preparations to fend them off.

"When you walk past plants, they don’t look like they’re doing anything," said Janet Braam, an investigator on the new study, which appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s intriguing to see all of this activity down at the genetic level. It’s like watching a besieged fortress go on full alert.”

Braam, professor and chair of Rice’s Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, said scientists have long known that plants have an internal clock that allows them to measure time regardless of light conditions. For example, some plants that track the sun with their leaves during the day are known to “reset” their leaves at night and move them back toward the east in anticipation of sunrise…

(read more: Science Daily)     (image: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University)

Bats Drawn to Plant via “Echo Beacon”
by Rachel Kaufman
 
A Cuban plant that depends on bat pollination evolved a special leaf that acts like a satellite dish for bats’ sonar, new research says. It’s the first time such a feature has been discovered in plants, which mostly rely on flashy colors to attract pollinating insects. But hundreds of plant species use bats to pollinate, and researchers are still teasing out how the flying mammals home in on the plants.
In the lab, scientists noticed that Pallas’s long-tongued bats excelled at finding hollow hemisphere shapes hidden among artificial leaves. Study co-author Ralph Simon of Germany’s University of Ulm then saw a picture of a Cuban plant called Marcgravia evenia. He “noticed the dish-shaped leaf above the flower, and thought, Wow, that’s like a hemisphere … that must be a signal for bats.”
Study co-author Marc Holdereid of the U.K.’s University of Bristol added, “We didn’t even know this plant was bat-pollinated at the time…”
(read more: National Geo)   (picture: Corrina U. Koch)

Bats Drawn to Plant via “Echo Beacon”

by Rachel Kaufman

Cuban plant that depends on bat pollination evolved a special leaf that acts like a satellite dish for bats’ sonar, new research says. It’s the first time such a feature has been discovered in plants, which mostly rely on flashy colors to attract pollinating insects. But hundreds of plant species use bats to pollinate, and researchers are still teasing out how the flying mammals home in on the plants.

In the lab, scientists noticed that Pallas’s long-tongued bats excelled at finding hollow hemisphere shapes hidden among artificial leaves. Study co-author Ralph Simon of Germany’s University of Ulm then saw a picture of a Cuban plant called Marcgravia evenia. He “noticed the dish-shaped leaf above the flower, and thought, Wow, that’s like a hemisphere … that must be a signal for bats.”

Study co-author Marc Holdereid of the U.K.’s University of Bristol added, “We didn’t even know this plant was bat-pollinated at the time…”

(read more: National Geo)   (picture: Corrina U. Koch)


Notes from my work:  This is a shot of an American Star-thistle or Basket Flower (Centaurea americana) from our Prairie Demonstration plot in the park. We’ve been rescuing alot of plant specimens that would’ve been plowed under on prairie sites around Houston that, unfortunately, no longer exist. 99% of grasslands in the U.S. are now gone or so severely degraded as to no longer be considered ecologically functional grasslands.

Notes from my work:  This is a shot of an American Star-thistle or Basket Flower (Centaurea americana) from our Prairie Demonstration plot in the park. We’ve been rescuing alot of plant specimens that would’ve been plowed under on prairie sites around Houston that, unfortunately, no longer exist. 99% of grasslands in the U.S. are now gone or so severely degraded as to no longer be considered ecologically functional grasslands.