Plants

Under the right conditions, researchers say, some crop yields could increase by 50 percent or more.

Is Hacking Photosynthesis the Key to Increasing Crop Yields?

It’s an agricultural moonshot, but scientists hope to make plants like corn, wheat and barley as heat and drought resistant as cactus

A tiger shark swims above seagrass.

Tiger Sharks Carry Cameras to Help Scientists Map Seagrass

A new study found what might be the world's largest seagrass ecosystem: a 35,500-square-mile meadow in the Bahamas

The 6,000-year-old watermelon seeds from Uan Muhuggiag (left) border a child eating a modern watermelon.

Why Prehistoric Herders Didn't Spit Out Their Watermelon Seeds

Thousands of years ago, Saharans ate the kernels before the fruit became sweet

Darwin's signature on the note

Charles Darwin's Rare Autographed Manuscript Could Sell for $800,000

The English naturalist was responding to a magazine editor who had asked for a handwriting sample

Giraffe drinking with oxpecker birds in the background in South Africa

View 16 Breathtaking Images From the Nature Conservancy's Annual Photo Contest

The winning shots feature everything from glowing mushrooms to sauntering lions

An experimental vineyard at Cornell AgriTech’s McCarthy Farm in Geneva, New York, where researchers are studying hybrid grapes

Are Hybrid Grapes the Future of Wine?

Scientists, growers and winemakers are working with experimental varieties to adapt to the effects of climate change

The 2022 fall foliage map

This Interactive Map Will Help You Plan the Ultimate Leaf-Peeping Trip

Find the best times to admire fall colors across the country

Dehydrated carrageen looks nothing like the beautiful red fronds easily identified in coastal rocky pools.

A Brief History of Ireland's Carrageen Moss Pudding

The curious dessert—combining a seaweed found on the Emerald Isle's coast with dairy—lies in the hands of regular folks who enjoy a challenge

A vendor displays chili peppers at a local market in India. 

Why Do Some Humans Love Chili Peppers?

An anthropologist traces the origins and paths of one of his favorite kinds of plants

An adult spotted lanternfly

People Are ‘Hunting’ Invasive Spotted Lanternflies—and You Should, Too

Officials urge the public to squish the bugs, which are damaging crops and trees in the eastern U.S.

Donkeys often trample plants in the deserts of the southwestern United States, including in Death Valley National Park in California.

Cougars Are Killing Feral Donkeys, and That’s Good for Wetlands

Mountain lions play an important role in the Death Valley ecosystem by preying on the introduced species

Eelgrass grows in the waters off Birch Island, Maine. The plant supports a bountiful and diverse ecosystem.

Why Eelgrass in the Atlantic Ocean Faces an Uphill Battle

The Ice Age left the plant off our East Coast with less genetic diversity than its relative in the Pacific

Moths are seeking nectar at night, long after bees have turned in for the evening.

Moths Are the Unsung Heroes of Pollination

New research suggests the insects play a more important role in pollinating red clover than scientists previously thought

A teabag contains traces of DNA from insects and other animals that interacted with the plants before they were harvested and packaged.

The DNA of Hundreds of Insect Species Is in Your Tea

Minute remnants preserved among dried leaves might help scientists track pests and monitor population declines

The female pandanus plant of the Asia Pacific region produces a vitamin- and potassium-rich pineapple-like fruit.

Eight Superfoods That Could Future-Proof Our Diet

These climate-resilient crops could find more prominent placement on our plates in the next few decades

The underground pitchers of Nepenthes pudica

This New Species of Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Traps Its Prey Underground

Researchers discovered the new specimen in the rainforests of Borneo

V. boliviana is now the world’s largest known giant waterlily species, with leaves that can grow almost ten feet wide in the wild.

New Species of Giant Waterlily Is the Largest in the World

The discovery of the enormous plant type surprised researchers

Struvite is a nuisance for wastewater treatment plants, as it can clog pipes and lines. But the crystal, which is high in phosphorous, nitrogen, and magnesium, makes an excellent slow-release fertilizer for seagrass.

Human Pee Might Just Be the Key to Saving Seagrass

Treating wastewater creates struvite—a nutrient-rich crystal that bolsters struggling seagrass beds

Royal kombu (aka sugar kelp) harvested from the Netherlands’ first organic seaweed farm enriches and flavors the Dutch Weed Burger’s soy-chip-based patty.

Is Seaweed the Next Big Alternative to Meat?

From kelp burgers to bacon of the sea, sustainable food entrepreneurs are innovating to charm hungry omnivores

A cat chews up and rolls around in the leaves of the silver vine plant.

When Cats Chew Catnip, It Works as a Bug Spray

Plant leaves that repel mosquitoes release a more effective repellant after being crushed up by felines

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