Sunday, June 16, 2024

Does this flower glow in the dark?

This exchange via X, today (16 June 2024):

🌴Scott Zona, Ph.D.🌴; @Scott_Zona

This passage, from a 1905 book about fragrant plants, had me sitting bolt upright! Has anyone seen or heard of Polianthes (#Agave) or #Tropaeolum flowers emitting flashes of light as they senesce?🤩


It was the daughter of Linnaeus who reported the phenomenon in Tropæolum in twilight. It is thought to be one of those optical weirdnesses that some plants do, not an actual chemical reaction.

But, also of interest:

Firefly Petunias from Light Bio glow in the dark thanks to genes from mushrooms. Sort of a Frankenstein plant, but hope to try growing one in a few years once the prices drop.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Saffron comes from Greece

Saffron (Crocus sativus) is an autotriploid that evolved in Attica (Greece) from wild Crocus cartwrightianus

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Azolla and cyanobacterial partner evolved together for c. 100 million years

Sourced from Nature Plants

Fern genomes elucidate land plant evolution and cyanobacterial symbioses

Nature Plants (2018): Published 2 July 2018


Ferns are the closest sister group to all seed plants, yet little is known about their genomes other than that they are generally colossal. Here, we report on the genomes of Azolla filiculoides and Salvinia cucullata(Salviniales) and present evidence for episodic whole-genome duplication in ferns—one at the base of ‘core leptosporangiates’ and one specific to Azolla. One fern-specific gene that we identified, recently shown to confer high insect resistance, seems to have been derived from bacteria through horizontal gene transfer. Azolla coexists in a unique symbiosis with N2-fixing cyanobacteria, and we demonstrate a clear pattern of cospeciation between the two partners. Furthermore, the Azolla genome lacks genes that are common to arbuscular mycorrhizal and root nodule symbioses, and we identify several putative transporter genes specific to Azolla–cyanobacterial symbiosis. These genomic resources will help in exploring the biotechnological potential of Azolla and address fundamental questions in the evolution of plant life.

Fig. 1

Sunday, November 26, 2017

New species of Rafflesia

New Species of Rafflesia Discovered in Indonesia

Nov 22, 2017 by Enrico de Lazaro
An international team of scientists from the United States and Indonesia has described a new species of flowering plant of the genus Rafflesia from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Rafflesia kemumu. Image credit: Susatya et al / Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia.
Rafflesia kemumu. Image credit: Susatya et al / Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia.
Rafflesia is a genus of holoparasitic plants without leaves and true roots, for which species of vines in the genus Tetrasigma serve as the host.
Some of the Rafflesia species are the largest flowers in the world — they can grow up to 39 inches (1 m) in diameter, weighing 10 kg. When in bloom, all flowers emit a repulsive odor, similar to that of rotting flesh.
The genus occurs at the western region of Wallace’s Line in Southeast Asia: from Thailand to Indonesia and the Philippines. Of the about 30 described species, 14 are found in Indonesia.
The newly-discovered species, named Rafflesia kemumu, occurs in several regions of the Indonesian province of Bengkulu.
“Four populations of Rafflesia kemumu occur in the Palak Siring area consisting of 2-12 flower buds per population,” said Universitas Bengkulu researcher Agus Susatya and colleagues.
“The species is reported to occur in the Kuro Tidur area as well, also part of the Bukit Daun Protection Forest, and at Ipuh Production Forest, Muko-Muko Regency, Northern Bengkulu.”
The flowers of Rafflesia kemumu can reach 15-17.3 inches (38-44 cm) in diameter, according to the team.
The species flowers during any month of year, regardless of the season. However, flowering occurs more frequently from August to November than during other months and rarely in December.
Based on their observations, Susatya and co-authors recommend listing the species as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
“The Palak Siring area is a famous tourism destination for Northern Bengkulu,” they explained.
“Of the four known populations of Rafflesia kemumu, one is very close to a trail within the Palak Siring Forest and is heavily visited and severely impacted from unguided tourists. The locations of the other three populations are more remote and occur in more pristine habitat.”
Rafflesia kemumu is described in a paper in the journal Phytotaxa.
Agus Susatya et al. 2017. Rafflesia kemumu (Rafflesiaceae), a new species from Northern Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia. Phytotaxa 326 (3); doi: 10.11646/phytotaxa.326.3.5