Plants

Researchers counted fewer than 50 individual plants, which all grow in an unprotected area of the forest.

The First Newly Identified Plant Species of 2022 Was Named After Leonardo DiCaprio

Scientists credit the actor with helping save the Ebo Forest—the plant's home–from logging

Smithsonian's most-read stories of 2021 included an explainer on crocodile evolution, a profile of a teen inventor and a feature on Viking explorer Gudrid the Far Traveler.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2021

From archaeological finds to an invasive weed to Roman bathrooms, these were our most-read articles of the year

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Five Places in the United States to See Carnivorous Plants in the Wild

These flesh-eating plants can be found in savage gardens from Oregon to Texas

Andrew Pelling adds cells to an ear-shaped scaffold made from apple flesh.

Inside the Innovative Lab Growing Mammal Tissue Using Plants as Scaffolds

Researchers at the University of Ottawa have used apple flesh to create human tissue in the shape of an ear and asparagus stalks to regenerate spinal cords

One reader wonders why more flowers and fruits aren't blue-hued.

Ask Smithsonian

Why Are So Few Flowers and Fruits Blue? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

After four months of growing, the crew harvested the peppers offered feedback on the flavor and spiciness.

Astronauts Celebrate Growing Peppers for the First Time With 'Best Space Tacos Yet'

Fresh produce could improve health on long missions

oastal darkening reduces the amount of light that penetrates into coastal waters with a range of consequences for local ecosystems and, potentially, the world.

How Coastal Darkening Is Harming Kelp Forests

The environmental threat that researchers are only beginning to study is dramatically reducing the productivity of the plant

Using CRISPR technology, scientists plan to modify the strawberries' genes to improve their shelf life, extend the growing season and reduce food waste.

Using CRISPR Technology, Scientists Plan to Grow a More Durable Strawberry

If successful, these will be the first gene-edited strawberries to be sold commercially

This year's overall winner Laurent Ballesta spent more than 3,000 hours trying to capture his stunning undersea image of mating groupers.

Ten Breathtaking Images From the 2021 Nature Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards

The annual awards tell the story of our planet's creatures and the threats they face

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

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