Seeing the wood to save the trees

The clouds part to reveal a sea of trees, wisps of mist snagging the canopy following the afternoon's tropical rain. The trees extend as far as the eye can see: a vast bowl of varied and verdant greens, dotted here and there with red – the flowering trees of the Dipterocarp family. Some stand high over the canopy, reaching heights of 90 metres. View of the tree canopy in th...
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Don’t go changing…

Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 221:3, February 2019 Myrcia is one of the most species-rich lineages of flowering plants in the tropical Americas. We might expect this diversity to be reflected in the genus' flowers. When researchers analysed the flowers of Myrcia, however, they found very little change during c. 25 million years of evolution. ...
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Pollen grains find safety in numbers

Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 221:2, January 2019 You might think that the image on the latest cover of New Phytologist looks a bit like falling snow, appropriate for this time of year in the northern hemisphere. But what you're actually looking at are pollen grains. The photo shows fragments of pollen tetrads connected by clear, sticky threads of v...
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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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The puzzling puzzle

Sometimes we humans tend to prefer style over substance, as you might observe in any clothes shop. On the other hand, plants are down-to-earth living beings that do not appreciate fashion and aesthetics. Their whole structure has been molded through time by evolution so that the shape of their components mirrors their specific functions (something that is less likely in the clo...
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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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