Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld

Botany, Taxonomy, Nomenclature

Information Online

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

Botanical News

This will be a place to park interesting news about the science of plants that don't fit into any of the other topic pages on the website.

The biggest plant catalog of them all
Four of the world's great botanical gardens are to collaborate on a World Flora, involving a compilation of information on some 400,000 species into an online catalog. It will be built on The Plant List, a database of accepted names and synonyms of all known plant species. The World Flora will include descriptions, images and distribution information and has a projected completion date of 2020. Source: Four prominent botanical institutions announce plans to create first online World Flora (April 2012)

Plant responses to touch investigated
Researchers at Rice University, Texas, have demonstrated that touching plants can stimulate the plant hormone jasmonate, which stimulates chemical defences against insects and fungi. The tendency for plants to grow shorter and slower when touched has also been linked to this plant hormone. In nature, wind or insects and other animals could induce these responses. Source: A bit touchy: Plants' insect defenses activated by touch (April 2012)

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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