Plants

Resurrecting the Sublime recreates the scent of Hibiscadelphus wilderianus, which went extinct in 1912.

What Do These Extinct Plants Smell Like?

A multidisciplinary collaboration resurrects three types of flora lost due to 20th-century colonialism

The interactive map will be updated with the latest predictions in mid-September.

See When Fall Foliage Will Peak With This Interactive Map

County-by-county predictions reveal when to catch the most brilliant autumnal colors

Archaeologists hope the flowers will shed new light on rituals conducted by the ancient residents of Teotihuacán.

Cool Finds

1,800-Year-Old Flower Bouquets Found in Tunnel Beneath Teotihuacán Pyramid

The well-preserved plants were likely used in a ritual ceremony

Cogongrass in bloom during early summer.

New Research

'World's Worst Invasive Weed' Sold at Many U.S. Garden Centers

Banned by federal and state regulators, many invasive plants are still being sold at garden centers, nurseries and online retailers nationwide

Mosquitoes are more than blood-sucking menaces. They also pollinate flowers, have intricate sex lives and eat other disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Smithsonian Voices

The Unexpected Beauty, Benefits and Diversity of the Mosquito, the World's Most Hated Insect

While some are a nuisance, others working as nighttime pollinators may be critically important to a functioning ecosystem

Transplanting a human protein, known for promoting growth, into crops may engender larger, heavier and more bountiful plants.

Innovation for Good

Researchers Transfer a Human Protein Into Plants to Supersize Them

While a promising route to boosting crop yields, experts say more work needs to be done to understand why the tweak works

Workers outside the village of Geldibuldu in southeastern Turkey in 1981, when researchers were collecting botanical remains at an archaeological site nearby.

Why British Archaeologists Are Battling With the Turkish Government Over Seeds

The ancient plants at the heart of the conflict are essential to science—and might hold clues to new superfoods

The fungus Hemileia vastatrix strikes a plant on a coffee farm in Aquires, Costa Rica.

New Study Shows Climate Change May Increase the Spread of Plant Pathogens

Models suggest that higher latitude crops will experience higher infection rates and a greater number of threats

Liz Orton photographed seeds sent to Kew Gardens in London as long as a century ago.

Art Meets Science

Take a Virtual Tour of Artworks Inspired by Efforts to Preserve Plant Biodiversity

A traveling exhibition showcases five artists whose creations engage with science and ecology

Two female sheep named Dilly and Dolly, as well as two unnamed lambs, helped with the project.

Grazing Goats and Sheep Help Uncover Historic Headstones in Ireland

The herbivores snacked on plant overgrowth at an 18th-century graveyard in Cork County, revealing long-hidden burial markers

Carolyn Smith collecting beargrass in Klamath National Forest, 2015. For beargrass to be supple enough for weavers to use in their baskets, it needs to be burned annually. Ideally, it is burned in an intentionally set cultural fire, where only the tops are burned, leaving the roots intact. Prescribed fires in the Klamath National Forest are few and far between, so weavers “follow the smoke” and gather, when they can, after wildfires sweep through the landscape.

Smithsonian Voices

How Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Offers Solutions to California's Wildfires

“We need to reintegrate Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and cultural and prescribed burning into our landscape,” Carolyn Smith says

Noise pollution affects the structures within seagrass that help the marine plant detect gravity and store energy.

Seagrass Is Harmed by Noise Pollution

The plant may not have ears, but that doesn’t stop sound from causing serious damage to other structures

Researchers say that wild plants that gave rise to today’s three lineages of cannabis grew in present-day China.

New Study Suggests Cannabis' Wild Ancestors Likely Came from China

The analysis identifies East Asia as a potential source of genetic diversity for the growing market for medical and recreational marijuana

Head scientist at the Smithsonian Marine Station, Valerie Paul, collects blue-green algae samples to study the chemicals they emit. Those chemicals can endanger coral reefs, but also have biomedical potential.

Smithsonian Voices

How Algae Communicate

Smithsonian scientist Valerie Paul studies the ways marine biochemicals can potentially help restore coral reefs and create new biomedicine

On the center plant, poking out from the stem is a bent side stalk, which holds up the arm of the plant with a flower.

Scientists Discover a New Plant Organ

The structure, called a cantil, holds up the flower-bearing arm of the thale cress, a long-studied species

Around 1,200 residents stopped by to touch, photograph, and view the Alameda corpse flower. (Not pictured)

Corpse Flower Steals the Spotlight at Abandoned California Gas Station

A local nursery owner grew the rare botanical wonder and shared the bloom with the community, where they could touch and interact with the plant

New genetic research finds that the Kordofan melon (pictured), native to Sudan, is the watermelon's closest wild relative.

Researchers Uncover the Watermelon's Origins

A Sudanese plant called the Kordofan melon is the watermelon's closest wild relative, according to a new study

While other flowers deceive pollinators with gorgeous blossoms, A. microstoma isn't as extravagant. The plant has small brown bulb-like flowers that look similar to the bowl of a tobacco pipe.

This Stinky Plant Smells Like Dead Bugs to Attract Coffin Flies

The plant attracts corpse flies to its opening with the aroma of rotting insects

Freshly gathered truffles at Burwell Farms are the fruit of
a bold collaboration—and a proprietary cultivation technique.

Has the American-Grown Truffle Finally Broken Through?

These delicacies, harvested in an experiment in North Carolina, have food-lovers and farmers ravenous for more

Through research on living and preserved plants, botanists are learning more about how flora has responded to climate change over the past centuries.

Smithsonian Voices

Why Plants Are Seeding Climate Studies

The National Museum of Natural History’s herbarium is helping botanists research climate-driven changes in plants, their biology and their abundance

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