Recent Posts

Origin of angiosperms and the puzzle of the Jurassic gap (Nature Plants)

Understanding the origin and evolution of flowering plants is key to explaining the development of major terrestrial ecosystems. The rapid diversification of angiosperms into over 360,000 extant species was famously termed ‘an abominable mystery’ by Charles Darwin. Here, Li et al reconstruct the…

Molecular digitization of 689 vascular plant species from the Ruili Botanical Garden (Giga Science)

Recent advances in genome sequencing have increased our understanding of plant evolution and provided insights into factors affecting agriculturally important traits (e.g., yield, stress tolerance). There is an impetus to increase the quantity and quality of genomes publically available with around 350…

Evolution of phytolith deposition in modern bryophytes (New Phytol) ($)

When monosilicic acid is present in the soil, many plants absorb it through their roots and precipitate rigid silica aggregates known as phytoliths. Phytolith deposition has been observed in all major groups of vascular plants, however the patterns of deposition in bryophytes are comparatively under…

A bidirectional switch controls sexual dimorphism in the liverwort (EMBO J)

Bryophytes spend most of their lifecycle in the haploid, gametophytic form, of which there are two types, male (sperm forming) and female (egg forming). Hisanaga et al. investigated the genetic basis that determines sex in the model liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. Their findings are fascinating. A single…

Large-scale phylogenomic analysis resolves a backbone phylogeny in ferns (GigaScience)

  A look back at the most popular articles shared on Plantae social media in 2018. Plantae Social Media Interns Katie Rogers and Juniper Kiss have been reviewing the 2018 stats. Previously they shared the most popular posts overall. Here, they share the posts to research and review articles that…

New journal launched – Plants, People, Planet

Congratulations to everyone involved in the launch of the new journal Plants, People, Planet, “… a new cross-disciplinary Open Access journal from the New Phytologist Trust focusing on the interface between plants and society.” I’m sure that we’ll be seeing some terrific articles in this new…

Opinion: Limits to tree growth and longevity (TIPS)

I think trees are awesome, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. They dwarf us in height, and when we look at a tree that has lived for hundreds or thousands of years it is impossible not to think of that span in terms of human generations and human history. But, trees don’t live or grow…

The mysterious Pilostyles is a plant within a plant

  Pilostyles are only visible when their fruit and flowers erupt out of their host plants. The Conversation/Wikipedia Steve Wylie; Jen Mccomb, and Kevin Thiele, University of Western Australia In 1946, forestry officer Charles Hamilton found something unusual on a shrubby native pea plant…

Footprints of parasitism in the genome of the parasitic flowering plant Cuscuta campestris (Nature Comms)

Even without knowing a lot about parasitic plants, you can probably guess some of the insights that come from the first parasitic plant genomic sequence. Because parasitic plants get their nutrients from another organism (functionally, they become heterotrophic), you might expect they would gradually…