The poinsettia is a quintessential part of typical holiday decor. It’s a plant with a curious history that stretches from the Aztecs to a pioneering American diplomat and a family of plant-savvy Californians. Learn all about the holiday favorite, poinsettia.
It’s a fact so obvious that we named an entire season after it: fall leaves fall from trees. But what’s going on within the plant during that process? A lot more than you might think.
The botanists of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden stand in a long line of scientists who study the plants of Texas. A new exhibit at the BRIT Library, “Voyages of Discovery: Trailblazing Texas Botanists,” tells the story of these pioneering naturalists and their contributions to science.
Armchair Botany and the Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program: Volunteers Make Scientists’ Hard Work Accessible
Important botanical science happens in the field. Researchers tramp across habitats, sometimes in remote and rugged regions of the world, collect plant samples, document the distribution of species and study ecosystems in action. Later those scientists return to the lab with boxes of specimens, and a new and equally important phase of research begins. Scientists label, mount and digitize specimens to make them accessible to the global science community. They become a resource that can be studied in multiple contexts–as part of an ecosystem or as a member of a particular plant family, for example.
Our hot, dry summer continues, and humans aren’t the only ones struggling. Plants suffer, too–yet some thrive despite the persistent 100-degree-plus temperatures, even without supplemental water. What’s their secret?
A well-known issue in global conservation efforts could be described as the Panda Problem. Programs that promote the protection of large, well-known mammals raise more funds than programs for smaller, less “charismatic” species. Yet even the smallest, nondescript species are part of the big picture of life on this planet–and deserve protection.
Texas is home to more than 400 species of plants at risk of extinction, including 163 considered “critically imperiled” within the state, according to data from Texas Parks & Wildlife. The Garden is committed to protecting the rare plants of Texas. This sort of work requires the cooperation of scientists, state and federal agencies, land owners and members of the public. To coordinate their efforts and exchange information on research progress and best practices, the Garden is hosting the 2023 Texas Plant Conservation Conference Aug. 14 and 15.
When you visit the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, you will notice signs identifying the plants. In the Japanese Garden, for example, you will see signs that read “Acer palmatum (Japanese maple).” Many people know that the part of the name in italics is the formal name of the plant, written in Latin (more or less.) Some people might even know that Acer palmatum is the genus and species of the tree more commonly known as Japanese maple. But why? What is the purpose of giving plants names in a dead language?
Botanists working in the Philippines recently described a species of begonia new to science and named it in honor of Peter Fritsch, the Garden’s vice president of research and conservation.
The bluebonnets are in bloom across North Texas, splashing waves of blue across hillsides and plains. Conditions this year were just right for brilliant display of color, and you can expect to see families plunking their kids down in the middle of blooming patches for photos all weekend.