Category: Research

Orange and black butterflies feed from white flowers
Newsletter

The Science of Pollination and the Role of Butterflies

People of all ages watch the brilliantly colored insects with awe and wonder at Butterflies in the Garden. What many don’t realize is that while we value butterflies for their beauty, they also play an important role in the ecosystem. Along with bees, birds and various other insects, they help flowering plants reproduce.

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Ruella strepens (smooth ruellia)
Newsletter

What Is This Thing? Smooth Ruellia and Why Some Plants Preferred Closed Marriages

Botanists and horticulturists love a challenge. That’s why this year we’re introducing a new feature in the newsletter: What Is This Thing? This month, Martha L. of Fort Worth asks us to identify a plant with small flowers than never open. The answer tells a fascinating story about the reproductive strategies of plants–and why some prefer closed to open marriages.

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White mistletoe berries against green leaves
Newsletter

Before Stealing a Kiss, Learn the Mythology and History of Mistletoe

Many plants play an important role in holiday celebrations, from evergreen trees to poinsettias, but mistletoe is unique in many ways. It is not only a major player in multiple Western mythologies but also a fascinating example of hemi-parasitism. Not sure what that means? Read on for the details.

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Newsletter

Recent Research Publications Reveal the Details of New Plant Species—and Help Uncover the Workings of the Natural World

Botany is not a science for those who demand a steady routine. One day researchers might find themselves hiking up mountainsides through dense tropical rain forest or hunting down rare plants in parched deserts. The next day, they will be in the lab, peering through an electron microscope or studying DNA results.
The result of these efforts is usually a scientific paper, published in a peer-reviewed journal. Papers might describe a new species of plant or suggest a new way of approaching a problem. Taken as a whole, they reveal the workings of life on this plant.

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