World’s First Plant Selfie

06 November 2019
Say hello to Pete – the Maidenhair Fern in London Zoo. Pete has taken a photo of itself – the world’s first for a plant! This groundbreaking work is part of ongoing research by scientists to develop technology to monitor remote rainforests. This is done by harnessing and storing electrical energy produced by soil bacteria associated with the plant’s photosynthesis. Click here to learn more.

A Mimosa that learns

02 October 2019
Researchers from Kew Gardens studying the Mimosa pudica (Touch-Me-Not) have indicated that the species displayed signs of learned behaviour. Every day, hundreds of curious visitors touched the sensitive plant, the constant disturbance has stopped this publicly accessible specimen from responding to touch. This learned behavioural response is fascinating to researchers and encourages all to rethink plant intelligence. Click here to read more.

Plant diversity in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

05 September 2019
Over the years, biodiversity surveys have been done in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) to document Singapore’s green treasures. 1250 plant species have since been recorded in BTNR (Ho, B.C. et al. 2019) in Singapore’s first Nature Reserve and researchers continue to find species new to science, species previously unknown in Singapore, and species thought to be extinct. Click here to read more about the latest flora survey results.

Trees Keep Cities Cool

22 July 2019
The cooling effect of a small forest in the city has the profound effect of cooling the environment. Summer daytime temperatures can be lowered by 3.4 degrees Celsius. Hard city surfaces take in heat from the sun in the day and gradually give off the heat in the night. Trees however not only shade those surfaces, they also release water into the air through transpiration, cooling the surroundings. The study showed that for maximum cooling benefit, the tree canopy cover must be greater than 40 percent of an area. This information is useful for city planners to develop more livable neighbourhoods.

The science behind companion planting

22 July 2019
Gardeners have long known that some plants naturally repel insect pests and placing them near susceptible plants helps to protect them, also known as companion planting. Scientists examined one such pairing and found that French marigolds help protect tomato plants from glasshouse whiteflies. They determined that the marigolds emit a chemical called limonene in the air which repels but does not kill whiteflies.