The study of plant life; e.g. angiosperms, gymnosperms, bryophytes, pteridophytes, and algae.

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Is there a reason why human eyesight and plants make use of the same wavelength of light?

The accepted range for the wavelengths of light that the human eye can detect is roughly between 400nm and 700nm. Is it a co-incidence that these wavelengths are identical to those in the ...
48
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4answers
4k views

Why do plants have green leaves and not red?

I know plants are green due to chlorophyll. Surely it would be more beneficial for plants to be red than green as by being green they reflect green light and do not absorb it even though green light ...
33
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3answers
835 views

How does the sensitive plant detect vibrations?

The sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) is a remarkable little plant whose characteristic feature is its ability to droop its leaves when disturbed: Apparently, this ability to droop rests on the cells ...
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4answers
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Do plants produce any heat?

Many plants (e.g. roses, palms) can be protected from frost during the winter if shielded with an appropriate coat that can be bought in garden shops. Do plants produce any heat that can be kept ...
27
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1answer
949 views

How long will a vegetable live for after being harvested?

I understand this might depend on the types of vegetables, but is there an average or studied specifics? Does it die immediately? Is there a way to precisely diagnose death in plants? If so, what are ...
26
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1answer
1k views

Ripening bananas artificially: What is the biological reason

I am a resident of the tropical island of Sri Lanka, and we have a strange traditional method to ripen our bananas quickly. What we do is this: We dig a pit in earth that is enough to put the whole ...
25
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4answers
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Do trees really get a large share of their mass from the carbon in the air?

I remember hearing that trees and other plants actually obtain a large amount of their mass from the carbon floating in the air, not the ground beneath them. Does the makeup of air actually contain ...
22
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4answers
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How do trees manage to grow equally in all directions?

I was walking down a road with these beautifully huge trees when this question occurred to me. Large trees with many thick branches have to grow equally in all directions, or they would tip over. Is ...
18
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1answer
624 views

Do trees age on a microscopic level?

Most animals age via at least two mechinisms: at a "macroscopic" level, basically wear and tear to the point where (on evolutionary time scales) it's more genetically advantageous to optimize for ...
17
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1answer
464 views

What is the lowest pressure at which plants can survive?

What is the lowest pressure at which plants can survive? How the plants behave in a Martian-type atmosphere? Is there any plant that can survive such atmosphere? Can a lichen grow at Martian ...
16
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2answers
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Is any known plant magnetic?

Is there a plant (not a microscopic type but one that is visible to the naked eye) that has so much iron (or magnetite), cobalt, or nickel in its body that it can attract a magnet? In this case ...
15
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3answers
628 views

Why do some trees have a life span, while some don't?

I have heard that there is no limit on the growth of trees, but then why do some trees, such as boxelders and poplars, tend to live shorter than redwoods, for example? Some advertisements for improved ...
14
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2answers
354 views

Why was it so hard to decode the corn genome?

My teachers growing up told me it was impossible to decode the maize genome. But yet its been done. Why was decoding the genome so significant, and what made it so difficult?
14
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2answers
819 views

How Do Galls Form?

I am curious how Gall Wasps, bacteria and other organisms induce galls to form. Specifically, what chemicals induce gall formation?
13
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2answers
4k views

How will rising carbon dioxide levels in the troposphere affect photosynthetic producers?

Much discussion has been had about the affects of climate change on plantlife, but how will rising carbon dioxide concentrations affect the photosynthetic process itself? Since CO₂ is a reagent in ...
13
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3answers
381 views

Can plants get cancer?

I can't think of any reason why plants wouldn't be able to get cancer, but I've never heard of a plant growing a tumor. I've also never seen a plant with a noticeable abnormal growth. Can plants get ...
13
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2answers
427 views

What kind of fruit is this?

Just spotted this fruit while walking to school. It's the size of a small coin.The taste is almost sour and tangy and somewhat sweet (I only tried one of them and very little of it). I admit, ...
12
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2answers
719 views

Do electromagnetic waves outside the visible spectrum have any role in photosynthesis?

Does photosynthesis occur only in the visible spectrum? If there is a way to completely remove all other electromagnetic bands from the sunlight, including infrared (IR), will photosynthesis continue ...
12
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2answers
407 views

Are there any plants that fix their own nitrogen?

I know that most nitrogen is fixed through industrial processes and bacterial symbiotic relationships. However, are there any plants that can fix their own atmospheric nitrogen?
12
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2answers
154 views

How to decide which is the correct scientific name for a particular species

To start with, I am not a person having sound knowledge in biology. When I started my search for phyto-chemicals in a particular family in the plant kingdom, I got confused. The scientific papers use ...
12
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3answers
218 views

Why do some fruits have a much wider range of acceptable sizes than others?

Some fruits such as pumpkins can grow to be 100 lbs. Under different conditions, the same variety of pumpkin can produce a 15 lb. fruit. Both plants are healthy, and look the same except for their ...
12
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1answer
115 views

Biological age of grafted plants

Suppose you graft a piece of an existing 'old' plant. Will it continue to grow having the same biological age as its parent? I.e., would it die at the same time as its parent? Or would the process of ...
11
votes
4answers
285 views

What was the reason for some plant and animals to become giant in course of evolution?

The dinosaurs, mammoths, giant plants etc are known to be bigger than modern animals. I wonder why they had been lived and why they are not living now? I really don't know much but is it something ...
11
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2answers
358 views

How deep in the soil can a seed be placed and still develop into a plant/tree?

The selected answer to How does a plant grow before photosynthesis is possible? indicates that a sprout grows beneath the soil using the food stored within the seed. Does this limited ready food ...
11
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2answers
384 views

What are the evolutionary niches differentiating an apple from a pear?

So, as far as I understand (basic) evolutionary theories, diversity is generated by "niching." That is, if there is an environmental factor that hasn't been fully used by any species to "profit" off, ...
11
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3answers
312 views

Most suitable biodiversity index

I am conducting an investigation into the effect of two different grass management techniques (grazing vs. machine-mowing) upon floral biodiversity. I have collected my data and now need to process ...
11
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1answer
113 views

Biostatistics: Pollen dispersal directionality

What Information am I looking for? Think about a tree that is sending pollen all over the place. Because of wind, most pollen grain will go toward one direction. Imagine, we split the 2D area around ...
11
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1answer
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How to store vegetables in the refrigerator: In plastic bags or not?

My wife and I are having a debate similar to this one: I claim that it's better to take the fresh veggies out of the bags and put them in the crisper with humidity control because: That's what the ...
10
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5answers
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Is it possible to genetically modify a plant at home?

Would I be able to genetically modify a plant at home? What equipment will be necessary? I think it might be a fun change from the 'norm' of regular hybridisation, to try some inter-family gene ...
10
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3answers
597 views

Why are fruits so large compared to their seeds?

Why do many plants produce such large fruits(apples and strawberries,for example) if those contain only relatively small seeds?
10
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1answer
183 views

(How) does coppicing fundamentally alter tree growth?

I am interested in adding the ability to model coppice tree production to a model of perennial crops (Miguez et al 2008).. Implementing the biomass pools and allocation parameters required for tree ...
10
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2answers
136 views

Why do cucurbits produce so much fluid when their stems are cut?

When carrying out some germination tests on species in the Cucurbitaceae, I notice that young plants of this family produce a lot of clear fluid when they are dissected. Most plants I dissect do not ...
9
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2answers
5k views

Did animals evolve from plants?

Did animals evolve from plants? Did animals' ancestors have chloroplasts in their cells?
9
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4answers
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How do trees lift water higher than 10 meters?

The atmosphere pressure is 10 meters of water (approx). This means that it is impossible to lift water higher than 10 meters with vacuum or сapillary action (on Earth, under normal conditions). There ...
9
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4answers
4k views

Why we have no enzyme to digest cellulose?

As we know, cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Why don't we have any enzyme to digest cellulose?
9
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1answer
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Why are some berries poisonous?

In my understanding, the evolutional function of berries is to be eaten and pood out somewhere else, so that the seeds of the plant spread. Is this so? Then why are some berries poisonous?
9
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1answer
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Why do some plant species have lobed leaves, while similar species in the same habitat don't?

Some plants have lobed leaves, like the English oak (Quercus robur), while other plants growing the same deciduous woodland habitats, and very often growing alongside oaks, such as the European beech ...
9
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1answer
2k views

What's the effect of oxygen deficit on plants?

As I know all cells require oxygen. So my question is how efficiently can plants operate in no-oxygen atmosphere? Do all plants produce enough oxygen for themselves? Can they consume their own oxygen ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Does the use of “var”, “x”, and/or “ssp” in a scientific name provide specific information?

What exactly does it mean when a plant has a scientific name that specifies a vairety, for example Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides, or when the name includes an "x", as in Populus ...
9
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1answer
363 views

How do pineapples and lemongrass grow?

You can't plant the leaves, you can't plant the fruit, but, if you plant the part where leaves and fruit meet you will grow a whole pineapple plant. The part of the pineapple where the leaves meet ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

How would a warm winter affect maple sap production?

The past winter (2011-2012) was warmer than usual. Trees are normally tapped in late February when the daily maximum temperature goes above freezing. However, assuming that there have been ...
9
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1answer
57 views

Why doesn't Clopyralid damage cool season lawn grasses?

I use Clopyralid (3,6-dichloro-2-pyridinecarboxilic acid) to kill broad leaved weeds in lawns. From my understanding, it works by mimicking an auxin which affects plant growth. Naturally this pulls ...
9
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1answer
1k views

What's the name of the fibrous strands that hold the seeds in a pumpkin?

If you cut open a pumpkin, the seeds are suspended inside the pumpkin by some fibrous, slimey strands. You can see them in the middle of this sliced-open pumpkin: I'm writing a post for the ...
9
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1answer
297 views

Can fruit tissue be cultured and grown independent from the plant?

Can fruit tissue be grown in a tissue culture as is done to other plant tissues? From the answer to this question, I learned that fruit is alive. Could it be possible to manufacture fruit products ...
8
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2answers
3k views

Are there any motile plants?

There are numerous examples of sessile animals (sponges, barnacles etc.) but are there any examples of motile plants? If not, why not? Surely mobility would have conferred an evolutionary advantage to ...
8
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3answers
8k views

What's the worst that can happen from eating too many spicy peppers? Can you die?

Some peppers, such as the habanero or Carolina reaper are extremely spicy, and when eaten in larger amounts than one is accustomed to, can cause some discomfort. I've also heard anecdotes claiming ...
8
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1answer
571 views

What is this pink-flowering plant found in Shanghai, China in March?

This plant appears to have fleshy protrusions resembling flowers growing out of its stem (although I am unable to identify them as such). Does anyone know the identity of these plants?
8
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1answer
94 views

What are the variables that control/influence the color of oranges(Citrus sinensis)?

I hear that Oranges cultivated in tropical areas of the world tend to be greener when ripe, is that correct? Even the same type of Orange differs in color if cultivated in California or Florida. I ...
8
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1answer
194 views

How did these apples grow together?

I came through this pic while scrolling through facebook, and it was a bit strange to me. As far as I know apples have a corymbose type of inflorescence, in which a single pedicel ends in a single ...
8
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1answer
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How can a monocot get so massive?

Some monocots (such as palms) are impressively thick and massive, yet botanists maintain that they don't have secondary growth. Why do botanists say this? How can it get so big without secondary ...