Flowering Plants, Shrubs and Trees

Flowering plants, shrubs and trees provide the environment with much needed oxygen and fight soil erosion. They also provide food and shelter for many animals, as well as contribute to the fertility of soil with their dead leaves and flowers.

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Even if you've never seen a saguaro in person, when you think "cactus," you're probably thinking "saguaro."

By Jesslyn Shields

Autumn rolls out its very own red carpet to make a fashionable arrival. So why do falling leaves change colors to vibrant hues of crimson, yellow and orange?

By Jennifer Horton

Ashwagandha, sometimes called Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry, is one of the most prized herbs in the Indian Ayurvedic science of life.

By Katie Carman

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Found along beaches and in the mangrove swamps of tropical climates, the fruit of the manchineel tree was called the 'little apple of death' by Spanish conquistadors.

By Katie Carman

Requiring little care and upkeep, daffodils are bright, showy perennials that symbolize rebirth and new beginnings.

By Wendy Bowman

Cork is the go-to material for wine stoppers and bulletin boards. So are we really running out of it? And if so, what happens?

By Wendy Bowman

On Johns Island, South Carolina, stands an oak tree so big and beautiful that people come just to stand under its branches and feel the magic.

By Patty Rasmussen

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These majestic trees send their roots down in pillars from branch to ground, can form a canopy over 80 feet high and can live to be 250 years old.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Poison sumac is even more toxic than its cousins, poison ivy and poison oak, in its ability to cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems.

By Alia Hoyt

In a high-traffic city like Denver, a booming cannabis industry could make air quality even worse.

By Jesslyn Shields

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.

By Jamie Allen

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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.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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.

By Dave Roos

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.

By Jesslyn Shields

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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.

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Mark Mancini

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By John Donovan

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Laurie L. Dove

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.

By Kate Kershner

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.

By John Perritano

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

By Laurie L. Dove

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.

By Christopher Hassiotis