Botany

Botany is a branch of biology focused on the study of plant life. Learn about the science of botany in this section.

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A 'Tree That Owns Itself' Grows in Athens, Georgia

A massive white oak in the hometown of the University of Georgia has many wondering whether a tree can even have legal rights — and about the future of the environmental and animal rights movements.

The Science Behind Your Cat's Catnip Craze

Researchers are studying the chemistry behind what makes cats go crazy for catnip. And whether or not the chemical compound could have medicinal benefits for treating diseases like cancer.

Do Plants Make Music?

Machines can translate some of the biological functions of plants into synthesizer sounds. But are these synthesized translations the same thing as music?

Rare Groundcherry Could Soon Be Everywhere, Thanks to Gene Editing

Hundreds of crops in developing countries are relatively unknown in the developed world because they're often hard to grow or export. But scientists have found that CRISPR editing can speed up traditional plant breeding techniques.

Plants Evolve Scents and Colors to Attract Animals for Seed Dispersal

How does a plant — incapable of waving its arms or screaming — attract attention and spread its seed? By evolving a powerful stink or an attractive color, of course.

Unicorn Root Resurrects Itself After 130 Years

Can a plant disappear for more than a century and then come back? Unicorn root, gone for 130 years, reappeared in the summer of 2018, completely out of the blue.

Fireweed: The Pink Pioneer

Like a phoenix from the ashes, fireweed is the first thing to sprout, helping reestablish areas decimated by fire and deforestation.

Giant Hogweed's Sap Can Give You Sunburn

The towering, invasive giant hogweed has been discovered in Virginia, and residents are understandably concerned.

Epically Tough Baobab Trees Dying Off in Africa

Nine of the 13 oldest baobab trees researchers examined over the past 12 years have died. What's killing off these majestic trees?

Europe's Oldest Tree Is Still Growing

Germinated in medieval times, the pine named Italus now holds the record as Europe's oldest tree.

Plants Can Defend Themselves by Making Caterpillars Turn Cannibal

An interesting defense mechanism recently observed in tomato plants has caterpillars turning on themselves rather than remaining vegetarian.

These Pine Trees Almost Always Lean Toward the Equator

Cook pines are known to be a little tipsy. But a group of researchers just discovered that the trees' tilt isn't random — no matter their location on the globe, they lean toward the equator.

Southern California Desert Showered With Best Super Bloom in 20 Years

Heavy rains have set the Southern California desert near San Diego on fire — with wildflowers. The phenomenon known as a "super bloom" is peaking for the next few weeks.

Clever App Uses Smartphone Camera to Identify Plant Species

We may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but plants? A smartphone app has that covered.

This Tree Is Europe's Oldest Living Organism — Sort of, Kind of, Maybe

Saying what the oldest thing alive is can be tough, because you have to define "alive" as well as "thing." But still, this Greek tree's got serious years.

Newly Discovered Orchid Sports Freaky Little Demon Face

High in the Colombian Andes, a tiny flower houses a devilish little visage — or does it?

10 Plants Lost to History

Are trees and shrubs as cute as pandas? As awe inspiring as whales? Maybe not, but many are in danger of going the way of the dodo — just like countless leafy greens before them. Learn about some amazing plants we lost to history.

Plants May Have Proteins Like the Ones That Cause Mad Cow Disease

It probably is, and now researchers think they may have spied these mysterious misfolding proteins in plants for the first time.

Death Valley Fills With Wildflowers Every 10 Years – It's Happening Right Now

Amazing images of the current wildflower "super bloom" in the desert park, a once-in-a-decade occurrence that can happen in El Nino years.

Lazy Cheating Plant Lives Underground, Outsources Photosynthesis to Fungus

A newly discovered plant on a subtropical Japanese island survives without sunlight, and only rarely rears its head above ground. How is that possible?

How Orchids Work

Orchids might be the sexiest flower in the greenhouse. Its very name comes from the Greek word for "testicle!" And its reproduction methods are pretty exotic too.

Can plants think?

Thinking allows us to solve problems, plan ahead and defend ourselves from outside threats. It's what separates us from "lower" life-forms like plants, right? Well, maybe not.

Do plants feel pain?

Though they may be stuck in one place, plants have proven to possess a surprising array of capabilities. But the ability to feel pain? Scientists are learning that the possibility isn't as crazy as it sounds.

Corpse Flower: When Nature Deceives

The Titan Arum is also known as the "corpse flower" because of its rotting-flesh scent. The flower rarely blossoms, even in the wild. See pictures of the corpse flower in this gallery.

How Pollen Works

Pollen grains are, in essence, plant sperm. But how do the grains get where they need to go, and what's the advantage of trusting your genetic future to the winds?


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