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On plant invaders and bat fungus

Reports from the Botany & Mycology 2009 meeting

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7:28pm, August 3, 2009

Researchers convened July 25-29 at the Botany & Mycology 2009 meeting in Snowbird, Utah. Presented work included updates on some not-so-welcome plant visitors and a bat-plaguing fungus menace.

NOD-FOR-ME POTION
Tree of heaven outsources some of its nutrient-gathering efforts

SNOWBIRD, Utah — A notorious invader called the tree of heaven may have an unusual way of outsourcing some of its nutrient-finding efforts.

Ailanthus altissima trees, like most plants, can’t process nitrogen from the air into a usable form, but with help, clovers and many other legumes can. Bacteria housed in root nodules snag some of the abundant nitrogen in the air and convert it to a form that plants and other living things can use.

Research now shows that trees of heaven exude a substance that revs up the roots of clover plants to

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