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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Once bitten… caterpillar attacks allow aphids to sneak up on plants

Plants face a formidable array of attackers and have to defend themselves. In a new paper published in New Phytologist, scientists describe two surprising discoveries: that plants prioritise the protection of flowers over leaves, and that simultaneous attack by aphids, caterpillars and bacteria leaves plants vulnerable to aphids but more protected from caterpillars. When pla...
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Camel crickets carry seeds

Heterotrophic plants can often be found on the forest floor. Down there, in the dark, where the wind seldom reaches, common methods of seed dispersal stop working. But new research by Professor Kenji Suetsugu (@tugutuguk) of Kobe University shows that heterotophic plants have evolved a novel solution, in the form of camel crickets (Tachycines elegantissima). Heterotrophic pl...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 211:4, September 2016

Making sure that you get out what you put in can sometimes be difficult, and understanding how species cooperate, without being exploited by opportunistic free-loaders, is tricky. In the paper behind the cover of this month’s issue of New Phytologist, Guillaume Chomicki and co-workers describe a trick, used by a plant to conceal a sugary reward, meant only for its mutualistic a...
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