PlantsTypes of plants, including flowers, trees, water plants and weeds
Science cannot long remain unfettered in a social system which seeks to exercise control over the whole spiritual and intellectual life of a nation. The correctness of a scientific theory can never by adjudged by its readiness to give the answers desired by political leadership.--Charles A. Leone, ...
February 01, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Native only to the Carolinas, the carnivorous plant that draws unwitting insects to its spiky maw now faces dangers of its own
February 2010 | By Abigail Tucker
We should all know by now that lawns of green grass aren't so "green" for the environment. Keeping turf from turning brown wastes water; people use too much pesticide and herbicide, toxic chemicals that can contaminate the fish we eat and water we drink. And keeping lawns at a reasonable height bu...
January 21, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Orchids of the Angraecum genus are famous—in evolutionary biology, at least—because of the comet orchid, A. sesquipedale, of Madagascar. After Charles Darwin examined this orchid, he hypothesized in 1862 that, based on the length of the flower's nectar-spur, there would be a a moth with an equally ...
January 14, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Gardening Web sites tell you not to water during the day for fear of scorching your plants. Some have speculated that raindrops might even be able to act like a magnifying glass and focus sunlight to set a leaf on fire. Are they right?A group of scientists in Hungary and Germany set out to discover...
January 12, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
In addition to the well-known Venus flytrap, many other plant species feed on bugs or crustaceans
January 08, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
The spiny sowthistle (Sonchus asper) is a flowering plant that grows up to three feet tall and sprouts small yellow flowers. A native of Europe, it's an invasive weed here in the United States. If you found it in your garden, you'd pull it out or attack it with weedkiller.Gerd A. Guenther of Düssel...
October 16, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
Smithsonian lists the most improbable, inhospitable and absurd habitats on Earth
October 13, 2009 | By Laura Helmuth
In the United States, the lowly ficus sits quietly in the corners of our homes and offices, providing some much needed greenery and oxygen to our indoor spaces. But in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, where Ficus elastica are large, native outdoor trees that live near water, the local pe...
September 17, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
Summer is over--meteorologically speaking, at least--and the weather has finally cooled off here in Washington, D.C., but the flowers are still blooming prolifically. Patsy Lieberman (daughter of goSmithsonian and Around The Mall editor Beth Py-Lieberman) was talented and patient enough to capture ...
September 11, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
Forget about birds and bees—if you want to learn about the varieties of sexual practices in the wild, study orchids. They're the most rich and varied family of flowers by far, with about 24,000 species (another estimate is 30,000 species). And many of those species have evolved elaborate tricks to ...
August 19, 2009 | By Laura Helmuth
An unsung Alabama waterway is one of the most biologically diverse places in the nation, home to rare flora and fauna
August 2009 | By Michelle Nijhuis
With his Botanica Magnifica, podiatrist-turned-photographer Jonathan Singer captures flowers on the grandest of scales
May 21, 2009 | By Megan Gambino
How could I resist a book with the title Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities? This small, elegant volume by Amy Stewart packs in a ton of information on plants that have been used to murder or to intoxicate, some that can inflict pain or cause hallu...
May 14, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
The National Science Foundation and the journal Science are now soliciting entries in their seventh International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (deadline for entries is September 15). There are five categories (photographs, illustrations, informational graphics, interactive medi...
May 01, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
They have come to our country from all over the world, brought here in the bowels of ships, in the cargo holds of planes, even on the bottoms of our shoes. They’re called invasive species—plants, animals and microbes from foreign lands that in the absence of their natural competitors, predators or ...
April 06, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
A select group of adventurers climb the world’s tallest trees to learn more about the wildlife that lives on the highest branches
March 31, 2009 | By Peter Beland
Can anyone identify the orchids in these photos? I visited the orchid show at the Natural History Museum last week (Orchids through Darwin’s Eyes, which runs until April 26) intending to learn more about Darwin and his orchid research, as well as take a few photos for the blog. But I got distracted...
February 13, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
The signature tree of the Rockies is in trouble
December 2008 | By Michelle Nijhuis
An ancient plant becomes a new sensation
March 21, 2008 | By Cathie Gandel