Archives for category: Plants

The largest fruit in the world is a pumpkin, and it weighs over 1000 kg. BBC Earth

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As they grow downwards, plant roots will actively steer clear of areas of high salt. This is known as tropism.

The spores of the horsetail (Equisetum) disperse using movements of tiny ‘legs’ that allow them to walk and even jump.

Read the original research in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

A Facebook game could help scientists find out how to protect ash trees from ash dieback, caused by infection with the Chalara fraxinea fungus.

The Lilliputian violet is one of the smallest dicotyledonous plants in the world,  at barely one centimetre tall. Viola lilliputana has been found in only one place, in an Intermontane Plateau of the high Andes of Peru.

Plants can do basic maths and this helps them to know how much stored starch to use overnight.

The genome of the Christmas tree hasn’t really changed in the last hundred million years – this explains why our Christmas trees look very similar to those in ancient fossils (though perhaps without the tinsel…)

Researchers from China, the US and Europe have sequenced  the genome of the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), a large juicy fruit, usually with pink or red flesh and dark pips that is grown throughout the world.

The team sequenced 20 different watermelons and created a draft genome, finding 23,440 predicted protein-coding genes, around the same number as in humans. They also identified three different C lanatus subspecies.

The paper was published in Nature Genetics.

The bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome is around five times the size of the human genome, and the total size is around 17 gigabase pairs. Researchers have found around 100,000 genes. The bread wheat genome is hexaploid, with three entire genomes (six sets of seven chromosomes) in each cell, as a result of crossbreeding.

Bread wheat accounts for more than a fifth of the calories eaten by people worldwide, and over 680 million tonnes of wheat are grown annually.

The barley genome has 5.3 billion bases (letters of genetic code) – this makes it almost twice the size of the human genome. This is the first complex grass genome to be sequenced and annotated.

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