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The Queensland Gardening Pages
Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld

Botany, Taxonomy, Nomenclature

This page will be a place to park general information and links about the science of plants, especially information that is of relevance to gardeners in general or plants and growing conditions in Queensland, plus some interesting developments from the world of plant science.

Links

Understanding Botanic Names Brief overview. University of Illinois
Plants in Action  An online plant physiology textbook available at the University of Queensland website. Published by the Australian Society of Plant Scientists, New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists, and New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science

News

Plants never sleep
Did you know that the stems of most plants tend to grow most at night? While it is still unclear why plants do this, scientists have come closer to understanding the mechanism. Three genes produce proteins that interact to form an "evening complex" which suppress certain growth genes during the day and early evening. Eventually, it's possible that these genes could be manipulated to optimise biomass accumulation for biofuel production. Source: Biologists discover an 'evening' protein complex that regulates plant growth (July 2011)

Pollination management by plants investigated
Stigma receptivity is one of the mechanisms plants use to control to control which other individuals they "mate" with. A Swedish study of Collinsia heterophylla indicates that delaying receptivity is likely to result in the resultant seeds having a greater diversity of pollen parents (avoiding the situation in which most of the offspring result from fertilisation by the first pollen to arrive). An additional benefit was enhanced total seed production. Source: Female mate choice enhances offspring fitness in an annual herb(June 2011)

Plant hormone discovery has horticultural potential
Strigolactone, discovered at the University of Queensland, could be used to manipulate the size and shape of plants by controlling branching. The chemical suppresses branch development, which could be advantageous in forestry. On the other hand, repression of the chemical could encourage branching, which is often desirable in orchard production and other horticultural applications. Interestingly, the chemical is quite similar to one called karrikins from smoke, which stimulates germination of some seeds (but does not affect branching). Source: Plant branching hormone discovered (July 2011)

New plant hormone discovered
A plant hormone that affects shoot branching has been recently discovered in a collaborative effort between Australian and French research institutions. Uses for the compound, such as preventing excessive branching on trees grown for timber, could be found in the plant industries. More at the University of Queensland website here: Plant research branches out at UQ (August, 2008)
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