A message to our community

The New Phytologist Trust has been closely monitoring updates on the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Our staff is now working remotely and while New Phytologist and Plants, People, Planet are considering manuscripts as normal, we are conscious that there may be a slight delay in handling papers due to editor and reviewer availability during this time. We also appre...
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How do conifers survive droughts?

From a University at Buffalo news release by Charlotte Hu. As the world warms, a new study is helping scientists understand how cone-bearing trees like pines and junipers may respond to drought. The research addresses a classic question in the field: When conditions are dry for long periods of time, do trees survive by growing new roots to tap water sources, or by relyin...
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The ecology, evolution, and genetics of plant reproductive systems

The study of plant reproductive systems provides crucial insights into ecological interactions and the process of evolutionary change. Reproductive success is closely allied to overall fitness, and understanding the mechanisms and drivers of reproductive fitness can help us understand the causes and consequences of the remarkable diversity of plant reproductive strategies. ...
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Brilliant biocrusts

Biocrust – or biological soil crust – has hit the cover of New Phytologist. New Phytologist Editor Sasha Reed introduces an ecosystem you may not have heard much about. The photograph shows a dryland landscape on the Colorado Plateau, USA. In the photograph you can see biological soil crust (the dark, bumpy soil in the foreground). Biocrusts are communities of cyanobacteria...
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The Gunnera trick

Lofty peaks and a very high rate of succession grace the cover of New Phytologist 223:2, courtesy of Alberto Benavent-González. Below he explains the story behind his research. We are looking at the very front of the Pia Glacier, located at the southern side of the Darwin Range in Tierra del Fuego (Chile). This glacier, as many others in the region, is retreating rapidly an...
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Pathways to ploidy

I caught up with Andrea Genre to talk about the research behind the latest image to appear on the cover of New Phytologist (volume 223, issue 1). Medicago truncatula root colonisation by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Gigaspora margarita (outlined by the white dashes) induces a local increase in the host tissue ploidy. Coloured dots tag nuclei with putative ploidy levels...
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From wild crocus to fields of gold

Mystery solved – biologists in Dresden explain the genetic origins of the saffron crocus. Saffron, the world's most expensive spice, comes from the stigmas of saffron crocus flowers, Crocus sativus. For many farmers in Mediterranean countries, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, saffron production is the main source of income, since the saffron crocus thrives in...
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Snow is not always white

In some coastal areas in Antarctica, the snow can look red, orange, green, or a blend of all three. This colour is natural and is actually made up of tiny microscopic living cells called snow-algae. Red snow‐algae bloom on Léonie Island, Ryder Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Courtesy of Matthew Davey. Snow algae are tiny plants that can survive and bloom in the slushy snow du...
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How to pick your pollinator

This story about the birds and the bees might be different to the one you've heard before. Colour is the main tool that plants use to communicate with pollinators. The often bright, showy displays, sometimes including instructions invisible to the human eye, have evolved to attract creatures that will end up transferring pollen from one plant to another. But what if ther...
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Into the loop

Mobile phones. Almost ubiquitous, it's easy to take them for granted, but our pocket computers are marvels of miniaturisation, promising unbridled connectivity. Their potential seems without limits. That is, until you take your new phone out of the box and realise that the charging port doesn't match the ends of any of the cables you already have. xkcd How annoying. U...
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