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How do mangroves get their nitrogen?

04 March 2020
Life is tough for mangroves. They are faced with muddy anaerobic soil and daily tidal inundation, resulting in very nutrient poor soil, especially nitrogen – one of the key element for growth. Scientists were curious how mangroves cope with this environmental challenge, and solved the mystery when they found diazotrophs living with the trees. Diazotrophs are soil-dwelling micro-organisms that convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which are deposited in the soil, for the tree to absorb. The researchers documented the mutualistic relationship that mangroves share with diazotrops, and how the roots influenced the development of the microbial community. Click the title above to read more.

The largest ever Rafflesia found in West Sumatra

03 February 2020
A recently bloomed specimen of Rafflesia tuan-mudae in a West Sumatran forest is the largest blooming flower ever recorded with the diameter of 111 cm! Curiously, it was found in the same location as the host plant that produced the previous largest Rafflesia with diameter of 107cm, in 2017. The Rafflesia plant is a parasitic plant without roots or leaves; it feeds on water and nutrients from its host plant to live. This is why the plant is often referred to as a "monster flower" for its parasitic properties and foul odour similar to rotting meat. Click the title above to read more.

Flora of Singapore

16 January 2020
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is spearheading an important and botanically meaningful project; Flora of Singapore, a catalogued description of all the plant species that can be found locally. Featuring more than 3000 species, three volumes have been published and the full project will take botanists the next 10 years to complete. Flora of Singapore is the first comprehensive effort, following in the footsteps of the great works of Henry Ridley’s Flora of the Malay Peninsula (1922-1925). With collaboration from experts worldwide, the first three volume were published in 2019, and is a great resource for formulating conservation policy and future reintroductions. Click to read the ongoing efforts on the Flora of Singapore.

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.