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If You Can Have Petunias, Why Not Glow-in-the-Dark Petunias?

Light Bio's bioluminescent firefly petunias shipping out now

(Newser) - It looks like your average petunia— until the light dims . The flower petals, formerly white, suddenly emit a greenish glow, about as bright as the full moon. This, of course, is no ordinary Petunia hybrida, but one genetically modified to exhibit bioluminescence. Developed by Idaho biotechnology firm Light Bio , the...

This Wild Plant Is Keeping Gazans Alive

Khobeza is at least free, though harvesting can be dangerous

(Newser) - In northern Gaza, two pounds of rotten-looking potatoes sell for more than $10. Two pounds of rice sell for $20, up from $2 before the war, NPR reports. Many can't afford to buy food, and some say they've had no access to humanitarian aid. "There's no...

Felled Sycamore Gap Tree Yields Seedlings

That's in addition to 9 genetic copies

(Newser) - Though slashed from its base, the Sycamore Gap tree might still have a future, the BBC reports, as dozens of seeds taken from the tree have now sprouted. A national landmark, the centuries-old sycamore tree stood in a picturesque gap between hills in England's Northumberland National Park before it...

First to Suffer From Asteroid That Doomed Dinos: Plants

Dust particles in atmosphere shut down photosynthesis for 2 years: researchers

(Newser) - It wasn't so much the asteroid impact that killed 75% of the species on Earth some 66 million years ago, but the fact that, for the following two years, little, if anything, could grow. That's according to research offering the first in-depth study of dust particles thrown into...

World's Largest 'Corpse' Flower Is on the Brink
World's Largest
'Corpse' Flower
Is on the Brink

World's Largest 'Corpse' Flower Is on the Brink

All 42 species in Rafflesia genus can be considered threatened: study

(Newser) - Rafflesia arnoldi is the world's largest single flowering plant, with a bloom more than three feet wide. Dubbed "corpse flower" or "stinking corpse lily," it's also incredibly smelly due to the foul odor—something like rotting flesh—it emits to attract carrion flies for pollination....

Infamous Poison Garden Adds a Truly Nasty Plant

The gympie-gympie reportedly makes those who touch it feel 'electrocuted' and 'on fire'

(Newser) - Saying the United Kingdom's Poison Garden is a unique and intriguing attraction might be underselling it a bit. The garden is exactly what the name states: a place that contains a diverse collection of poisonous plants, and as CBS News reports, it has just acquired a nasty new...

Lowly Moss Is Far More Important Than You Think
Scientists 'Gobsmacked'
About Findings on Moss
in case you missed it

Scientists 'Gobsmacked' About Findings on Moss

Lowly plant is 'potentially as significant' as vascular plants, yet often ignored: study

(Newser) - We've underestimated the power of the lowly moss beneath our feet, which fuels the cycling of nutrients in soil, sucks up carbon, and may even prevent the proliferation of pathogens and "antibiotic resistant genes," according to a new, worldwide study. Considered globally, mosses—under threat from climate...

Genetically Modified Houseplants Are Here

French company makes tweaks to turn plants into more efficient air cleaners

(Newser) - A French biotech company wants to clear the air—literally. Neoplants introduced its genetically-engineered pothos plants late last year, touting the plant's ability to metabolize indoor air pollutants often missed by traditional air purifiers, reports MIT's Technology Review . The pollutants, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are often...

They'll Soon Be Back, and It's Our Job to 'Eliminate' Them
They'll Soon Be Back, and It's
Our Job to 'Eliminate' Them

They'll Soon Be Back, and It's Our Job to 'Eliminate' Them

Spotted lanternflies are due to start hatching soon; experts say we need to 'smash' invasive species

(Newser) - Since 2014, when they apparently made their way from China to the US in a shipping crate, spotted lanternflies have been the bane of farmers, agricultural officials, and plant lovers throughout the Northeast. Now, it's almost time for the eggs of the invasive species to hatch, and experts are...

Largest Water Lily Species Hid in Plain Sight for 2 Centuries
Largest Water Lily
Was Hiding in Plain Sight

Largest Water Lily Was Hiding in Plain Sight

Study describes the massive Victoria boliviana, kept at a botanical garden in London since 1845

(Newser) - A royal botanical garden is just the place you'd expect to find the world's largest species of water lily. But until recently, officials at London's Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, were unaware that the species previously unknown to science, though well known to the indigenous peoples of the...

This Plant Is as Big as 20K Football Fields
This May Be Earth's
Largest Organism
in case you missed it

This May Be Earth's Largest Organism

A single Posidonia australis seagrass covers 77 square miles off western Australia

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered what is arguably the world's largest living organism, which is roughly the size of 20,000 football fields and about 4,500 years old. It's a seagrass known as Poseidon's ribbon weed, or Posidonia australis, which started as a seed spawned from two different...

Stress-Loving Plants May Hold Benefits for Us
Hardy Plant's Lesson: 
It Thrives Under Stress
new study

Hardy Plant's Lesson: It Thrives Under Stress

Researchers tap into its secrets, which could hold value amid climate change

(Newser) - No matter where they grow, most plants have a built-in mechanism that shuts down growth during periods of drought or other harsh conditions. Likewise, most plants will wither and die if those harsh conditions persist. This survival mechanism is controlled by abscisic acid, or ABA, a stress hormone. All land...

This Is the Source of All Weed
This Is the Source of All Weed

This Is the Source of All Weed

Study suggests cannabis was first grown in northwest China

(Newser) - Humans have been growing cannabis for 12,000 years, according to new research claiming to pinpoint where the first crops were developed. Scientists writing in Science Advances add 82 whole genomes of cannabis plants to the 28 already sequenced, determining the first Cannabis sativa plant was likely domesticated not in...

Seeds Secretly Buried in 1879 Just Gave Us an 'Amazing Moment'

Seeds hidden in Michigan State experiment are still sprouting after 142 years

(Newser) - The world's longest-running seed experiment is still giving up greenery. A group of seeds buried in a secret spot at Michigan State University in 1879 have begun sprouting after they were dug up and planted in mid-April. The first sprouted April 23—"an amazing moment," per botany...

It Killed the Dinosaurs, but Then It Gave Birth to Something Else

You can thank the Chicxulub impact for our modern rainforests: study

(Newser) - We owe a lot to the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. For one thing, it gave us the lush tropical rainforests that help keep our planet healthy. That's according to a first-of-its-kind study published Friday in Science that looks at the effects of the...

Catnip Is Fun for Cats, but Also 'Functional'
Catnip Does More Than
Make Cats Loopy

Catnip Does More Than Make Cats Loopy

Study suggests it also offers protection from mosquitoes

(Newser) - You may soon come to love catnip as much as your cat. New research suggests the chemicals derived from catnip and silver vine, an even more potent plant that grows in the mountains of Japan and China, can ward off pesky mosquitoes. Masao Miyazaki, a biologist at Japan's Iwate...

We've Got Cadaver Dogs. Next Up: Cadaver Plants?
In Search for Human
Bodies, Plants May Be Key

In Search for Human Bodies, Plants May Be Key

Chemicals from decomposing remains may trigger visible changes in vegetation

(Newser) - Researchers are toying with a new idea that could transform grueling and expensive body-recovery missions, and it involves what you might call cadaver plants. Yes, plants. Neal Stewart, a biologist at the University of Tennessee, has long been interested in the ways plants sense and respond to stresses. Now, he...

You Can Name an Extinct Animal. How About a Plant?
Study Raises Alarming Stat
About the World's Plants
study says

Study Raises Alarming Stat About the World's Plants

Researchers say at least 571 species have disappeared in 250 years, far more than animals

(Newser) - "Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few can name an extinct plant," says Aleys Humphreys, co-author of a gloomy new study on the fate of the planet's plants. Here, then, are three plants that have disappeared in...

Drone Makes Stunning Find on Hazardous Cliff Face
Where No One Will
Go, Drone Makes
Stunning Find
in case you missed it

Where No One Will Go, Drone Makes Stunning Find

The 'Hibiscadelphus woodii' was considered extinct

(Newser) - A drone hovering near a Hawaiian cliff face spotted something the world considered gone: a flower. And it wasn't even in bloom. In January, drone flyer Ben Nyberg noticed three Hibiscadelphus woodii plants on a cliff where specialists are known to rappel down vertical faces for threatened plant species,...

Researchers Find Trick to Growing Tastier Basil

24-hour light is the key, say MIT researchers

(Newser) - Researchers at MIT say they've figured out how to grow the tastiest basil: Expose the plant to light 24 hours a day. The nugget comes out of a project in which scientists grew the herb in a shipping container, a controlled environment that allowed them to precisely monitor every...

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