Talking Trees: How Real Life Ents Cooperate With Each Other

Trees Communicate Through Root Sytems and Fungus: Image by Kate Mereand

The Ents: they’re walking, talking trees, and they are a figment of Tolkien’s imagination, right? Not quite. Tree species around the world can cooperate via their fungal friends, and they are connected to each other through a complex web of ecological interrelationships that sounds like it has leaped off of the pages of a fantasy […]

Problems of Non-Native Invasive Plant Species

Giant hogweed takes over a river bank (Photo by Gordon Joly)

Plants grow naturally within a particular area, or range. Over the centuries, travelers – including specialist botanist and plantsmen – have brought back new and attractive species to their home countries. While some have remained in botanical gardens or cultivated with tender loving care by gardeners, others have adapted rapidly to their new environments – […]

Amorphophallus Titanum, the World’s Smelliest Plant

The titan arum is the world's largest bloom

The rainforest plant Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the titan arum, lays claim to the dubious title of the world’s smelliest plant. But there’s more to it than just the smell of rotting flesh – it also produces what’s probably the world’s largest bloom in a short but spectacular flowering which regularly attracts many curious […]

Endosymbiosis in Aphids: Nutrients from Symbiotic Bacteria Help Greenfly Survive on Plant Sap


The humble aphid may appear unremarkable, but it is cleverly adapted to its plant-sucking way of life. Symbiotic bacteria greatly increase the ability of plant lice, also known as greenflies, to grow and reproduce, causing annoyance to gardeners and damage to crops worldwide. Plant Sap Provides Insufficient Nutrients In general, aphids disregard the flowers, fruits […]