Turning over a leaf

Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 221:1, January 2019 What do leaf surface cells look like? A recent study by Vofeley, Gallagher et al. aimed to uncover the diversity of cell shapes seen on leaf surfaces across land plants. The survey of 278 plant species revealed a wide diversity of cell shapes, a sample of which can be seen in the cover image for New Phytologist 221:1. U...
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Revealing fungal function

Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 220:4, December 2018 If you went down to the woods this autumn, did you take a moment to have a closer look at the fungi at your feet, to ponder how they could be affected by changes in the way that woodlands are managed? If you didn't, don't worry - that's exactly what New Phytologist Interaction Section Editor, Prof. Francis Martin, has bee...
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How to trick a hornet

Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 220:3, November 2018 Plants use a variety of ingenious mechanisms to arrange for the onward transport of their seeds by unsuspecting creatures. Stemona tuberosa might employ one of the strangest seed dispersal methods of all. The photograph on the cover of New Phytologist 220:3 shows a hornet (Vespa velutina) biting off a diaspore (seed plus ...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 220:2, October 2018

The search for tabaiba Dust and desert sand billowed from the back of the black 4x4 as it pitched and bumped along the deeply rutted track. Lisa Pokorny and Riki Riina had been searching the flat and deserted landscape, scanning the parched, orange horizon, deep in the Western Sahara, for two days. With success seeming increasingly remote, they crested a rise and were finally ...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 220:1, October 2018

To calcify, or not to calcify? Often, it's the smallest things, when taken together, that have the largest impacts. Calcification in the oceans – when calcium accumulates in the body tissues of an organism – is a major sink of carbon dioxide (CO2), and an important influence on the global carbon cycle. Calcification is a key aspect of the biology of the coccolithophores – a gr...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 219:4, September 2018

Dawn light filters through fog between the trees. The scent of needles rises as the air warms. Leaves drip. Emily Burns walks between redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) on the Californian coast. Donning a helmet and harness, Emily clips onto a rope and climbs high into the canopy. As she ascends, the light brightens and the fog thins. Finally reaching a height of 72 metres, Emily...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 219:3, August 2018

It's been hot, hasn't it? While many of us have been enjoying the sunshine, long dry spells are a challenge for plants. The way in which plants control the water content in their leaves is a critical part of their response to climate change. Researchers are finding out more about the ways that plants reduce transpiration rates when their leaves dry out. The photo, taken by Ch...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 219:2, July 2018

High up in the Cordillera Blanca of the Peruvian Andes, the grey of the barren rock is broken by the delicate purple flowers of Lupinus huaronensis. Hunkering in its unusual acaulescent (stem-less) growth form at an elevation of 4,550 metres, the plant is well adapted to the diurnal freeze-thaw conditions found in the high elevation Andean grassland (Paramo, Puna, Jalca) habita...
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Celebrating 100 posts

I recently published the 100th post on this blog and, I must admit, it crept up on me. It doesn't feel as though much time has passed since I published the very first post, but that was all the way back in February 2016. Much like the riotous vegetation that crowds the canal towpath on my cycle route to work at this time of year, the blog has grown with considerable vigour. It'...
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