Plants

  1. bumblebee
    Life

    Pollen-deprived bumblebees may speed up plant blooming by biting leaves

    In a pollen shortage, some bees nick holes in tomato leaves that accelerate flowering, and pollen production, by weeks.

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  2. fruit from the plant Chrozophora tinctoria
    Chemistry

    Ancient recipes led scientists to a long-lost natural blue

    Led by medieval texts, scientists hunted down a plant and extracted from its tiny fruits a blue watercolor whose origins had long been a mystery.

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  3. beets and blue dye made from beets
    Chemistry

    Beets bleed red but a chemistry tweak can create a blue hue

    A new blue dye derived from beet juice might prove an alternative to synthetic blue dyes in foods, cosmetics or fabrics.

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  4. Toro Negro State Forest
    Climate

    How Hurricane Maria’s heavy rains devastated Puerto Rico’s forests

    Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rican forests in some unexpected ways.

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  5. Amazon fires
    Animals

    A year of big numbers startled the world into talking about nature

    One million species are at risk. Three billion birds have been lost. Plus surges in Amazon burning.

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  6. Pallas’s long-tongued bat
    Life

    A tree in Brazil’s arid northeast rains nectar from its flowers

    Northeast Brazil is home to a tree that entices bat pollinators by making a “sweet rain” of nectar.

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  7. kids holding trees to plant
    Climate

    5 things to know about fighting climate change by planting trees

    One group’s idea of planting vast swaths of trees to curb climate change exaggerates the proposal’s power to trap carbon, some argue.

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  8. Artisans carving rosewood
    Ecosystems

    Can forensics help keep endangered rosewood off the black market?

    Timber traffickers are plundering the world’s forests, but conservationists have a new set of tools to fight deforestation.

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  9. turtle embryo
    Life

    A peek inside a turtle embryo wins the Nikon Small World photography contest

    The annual competition highlights the wonders to be found when scientists and photographers zoom in on the world around us.

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  10. burrowing owl
    Ecosystems

    Burrowing birds create pockets of rich plant life in a desert landscape

    Mounds of sand dug out by birds are hot spots for plants in Peru’s Atacama Desert, possibly providing a sheltered and moist area for seed germination.

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  11. Abigail Swann
    Climate

    Abigail Swann’s alternate Earths show how plants shape climate

    Abigail Swann's studies reveal that water vapor from forests can affect drought patterns a hemisphere away.

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  12. Michelle O’Malley
    Life

    Michelle O’Malley seeks greener chemistry through elusive fungi

    Michelle O’Malley studies anaerobic gut fungi, microbes that could help make chemicals and fuels from sustainable sources.

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