New fungus found to cause cankers and declines in pistachio trees in Sicily, Italy

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  • September 19, 2018
  • Starting in the spring of 2010, farmers from Sicily – the major pistachio production area of Italy – have been reporting a previously unknown disease on the trees. Characterised by cankers and declines, it sometimes leads to the collapse of the entire plant. When the research team led by Salvatore Vitale, Centro di Ricerca Difesa e […]

    Survival of soil organisms is a wake-up call for biosecurity

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  • August 24, 2017
  • Tiny creatures in soil that attack plants have shown the ability to survive for at least three years stored in dry conditions in a recent AgResearch study, giving new insights into the biosecurity threats posed by passenger travel and trade between countries. The research article is published in the open access journal Neobiota. The findings of […]

    Invasive alien plant control assessed for the Kruger National Park in South Africa

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  • June 6, 2017
  • Along with urban and agricultural encroachment and pollution mitigation, managing invasive alien species is a key intervention needed to protect biodiversity. Unfortunately, on a global scale there are not enough funds to meet the requirements for effective conservation everywhere, which means that scarce funds need to be allocated where they can be used most efficiently. […]

    Plants cheat too: A new species of fungus-parasitizing orchid

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  • November 4, 2016
  • Plants usually produce their own nutrients by using sun energy, but not all of them. A new ‘cheater’ species of orchid from Japan, lives off nutrients obtained via a special kind of symbiosis with fungi. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys. The new orchid species, named Lecanorchis tabugawaensis, is by far […]

    Orchid or Demon: Flower of a new species of orchid looks like a devil’s head

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  • July 12, 2016
  • A lone and unique population of about 30 reddish to dark violet-maroon orchids grows on the small patch of land between the borders of two Colombian departments. However, its extremely small habitat is far from the only striking thing about the new species. A closer look at its flowers’ heart reveals what appears to be […]

    Curious new bush species growing ‘bleeding’ fruits named by a US class of 150 7th graders

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  • May 4, 2016
  • A class of 150 US 7th graders has helped select a name for a newly discovered plant, which amazes with its fruits that appear to be bleeding once they are cut open. Bucknell University biology professor Chris Martine and life science teacher Bradley Catherman challenged the students to come up with ideas for what to call […]

    Poorly known South African mountain endemic appears to be a very valuable keystone species

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  • April 21, 2016
  • Mountain ecosystems are valuable providers of key resources including water. These ecosystems comprise diverse species, some of which appear to be especially important to the ecosystem’s functioning. In poorly studied mountain environments in biodiversity-rich countries, these keystone species can often be overlooked and undervalued. Macowania is a group of yellow daisy shrubs occurring in the […]

    South African endemic mountain plant gives itself up after 147-year absence

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  • April 20, 2016
  • South Africa’s mountains are essential to the economic well-being of the country, providing many goods and services essential for social and economic prosperity. However, the biodiversity value of these mountains is still poorly understood. This is exemplified by the large number of plant species still only known from one or two collections made well over […]

    Global Plant Conservation’s Phase 1: The world checklist of hornworts and liverworts

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  • February 1, 2016
  • Although it was Charles Darwin himself who more than a century ago voiced his intention to support a complete catalogue of all known plant species, such is yet to be realised. In the present paper, however, an international research team present the first ever worldwide checklist of hornworts and liverworts, covering 7485 species from across […]

    A botanical survey to help understand change in our wild flora

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  • January 5, 2016
  • Volunteers in the north-east of England have created a benchmark survey of common plants with which to identify change in the countryside, its result and causes. This survey will be used in future to monitor the effects of climate change on plants; assess the success of conservation measures and predict future change. Its findings are […]