Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

April 3, 2012 | John Murgel
Few things signify spring like trees covered in blossoms. Spring so far has been on the early side, thanks to our warmer than usual temperatures through March. Many species that would oftentimes only be beginning to bloom at this time of year are already finished flowering—they seem to think it’s...Read more
Do Plants Grow Old?

Do Plants Grow Old?

March 29, 2012 | John Murgel
At first glance it seems obvious that plants age right along with everything else on planet earth. Everyone can recognize an old tree. But is ageing really the same as being weather-worn? Compared to human ageing, where progressive deterioration of physiological function eventually leads to death,...Read more
Cherry Blossom Blitz

Cherry Blossom Blitz

March 22, 2012 | Rebecca Hufft Kao
With the beautiful, warm weather recently I have spent a lot more time outside and have enjoyed watching the first signs of spring every where I look. My chives are coming up in the garden and my lilacs are leafing out. Here at the Gardens there are so many plants starting to bloom, from the...Read more
Ah, Spring!  The North Takes a Deep Breath

Ah, Spring! The North Takes a Deep Breath

March 20, 2012 | John Murgel
One of my earliest science class memories (and maybe one of yours, too) is learning that people and other animals “breathe oxygen” and plants “breathe carbon dioxide”. I carried this gem all the way to AP biology in high school, when things got complicated. As it turns out, plants need and use...Read more
(World) Water Day is March 22

(World) Water Day is March 22

March 8, 2012 | Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd
“World Water Day” conjures up images of far-away problems (e.g. a billion people around the world do not have access to clean and safe water – with more than a third of these people living in Sub-Saharan Africa). If such alarming stats summed up World Water Day, however, the most anyone living in...Read more
The Importance of Being Ephemeral

The Importance of Being Ephemeral

March 6, 2012 | John Murgel
The first daffodils are peeking through the soil, and some of the earliest bulbs—crocus and galanthus—are finishing up their flowering cycle. As spring progresses we will watch the annual parade of our favorites: tulips, allium, eremurus, and others will flower and vanish before the worst of summer...Read more
Permafrost, Squirrels, and 30,000-Year Old Plants

Permafrost, Squirrels, and 30,000-Year Old Plants

February 27, 2012 | John Murgel
Perhaps the largest botanical newsbreak of the past week was the publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America that several mature, fully functional individuals of Silene stenophylla (a member of the carnation family that still exists today) had...Read more
Better Red than Dead

Better Red than Dead

February 21, 2012 | John Murgel
The classic explanation of winter reddening is that red pigments protect plants from the effects of too much light. This makes sense in observation--plants in full sun in the winter often turn red, while shaded members of the same species stay green. It’s initially perhaps a bit of a stretch to...Read more
Evergreens You Might Not Notice

Evergreens You Might Not Notice

February 8, 2012 | John Murgel
Plants, like most organisms, must overcome a number of challenges before they reach maturity. Seeds are heavily preyed upon by insects, birds and mammals, and new seedlings face stiff competition from one another for light, water and nutrients. Germinating in the fall or early winter when many...Read more
A Bank You Can Trust: the Seed Bank

A Bank You Can Trust: the Seed Bank

January 24, 2012 | John Murgel
As the Greek government, its creditors, and the bankers at the International Monetary Fund continue to discuss Eurobonds and interest rates, my thoughts have wandered from the European Central Bank to another sort of bank altogether—the seed bank. In a previous blog post I described how before...Read more

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