[Plant-education] Re: articles to interest students in plants

David R. Hershey via plant-ed%40net.bio.net (by dh321 from excite.com)
Wed Feb 14 14:11:09 EST 2007

Science News, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Natural History,
American Forests and Bioscience often have interesting plant articles
that introductory students could understand. This is a recent plant
systematics story, which you probably have already seen:

Milius, S. 2007. Biggest bloom: Superflower changes branch on family
tree. Science News 171(2): 21.

You also might find some useful articles among the Tansley Reviews
from the New Phytologist. They are scientific reviews but often not
overly technical. They are available free online. The January issues
of New Phytologist are available free online as are all volumes older
than 10 years, back to 1902.

Tansley Reviews 2004 to present

New Phytologist issues

In the past, American Scientist has had some very interesting plant
articles on plant migration due to climate change, clonal plant
populations, and cycads. The most plant articles recent are,

"Amber's Botanical Origins Revealed" (Mar.-April 2007)
"The Mysterious Origin of the Sweet Apple (Jan.-Feb. 2007)
"Ancient Wollemi Pines Resurgent" (Nov.-Dec. 2005)
"The Mystery of Masting in Trees" (July-Aug. 2005)
"Plant Scents" (Nov.-Dec. 2004)
"The World's Highest Forest" (Sept.-Oct. 2004)
"Salt Marshes Under Siege" (Jan.-Feb. 2004)
"Why Leaves Turn Red" (Nov.-Dec. 2002)
"Hybridization and Extinction" (May-June 2002)
"Alfalfa" (May-June 2001)
"Ecology of Transgenic Crops" (Mar.-Apr. 2001)
"Pollination of Cacti in the Sonoran Desert" (Sept.-Oct. 2000)
"Andrew Ellicott Douglass and the Big Trees" (Sept.-Oct. 2000)
"How Plants Produce Dioxygen" (Nov.-Dec. 1998)
"Transporting Water in Plants" (Mar.-Apr. 1998)

American Scientist 1998 to date

American Scientist before 1997

Some specific articles that might interest students in plants:

Barthlott, W. and Neinhuis, C. 1997. Purity of the sacred lotus, or
escape from contamination in biological surfaces. Planta 202:1-8.
(basic botany research that resulted in a patent for a dirt-shedding
paint and a basic concept in physics, the Lotus Effect)

Halsey, R.W. 2004. In search of allelopathy: An eco-historical view of
the investigation of chemical inhibition in California coastal sage
scrub and chamise chaparral. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
131: 343-367. (excellent historical review of a controversial area of
plant ecology research)

Brownlee, C. 2006. Toxin buster: New technique makes cottonseeds
edible. 170(22): 339.

Zangerl, A. R., M.R. Berenbaum, and J. K. Nitao. 1991. Parthenocarpic
fruits in wild parsnip: Decoy defense against a specialist herbivore.
Evolutionary Ecology 5: 136-145.

Briand, C. H. 2000. Cypress knees: An enduring enigma. Arnoldia 60(4):

Darley, M. 1997. The essence of 'plantness'. American Biology Teacher
52: 354-357.
(An interesting essay)

Mackintosh, B. 1977. George Washington Carver and the peanut: New
light on a much-loved myth. American Heritage 28(5): 66-73.
(debunks widespread myths that Carver invented peanut butter and his
peanut products revolutionized Southern agriculture)

Trewavas, A. 2003. Aspects of plant intelligence. Annals of Botany 92:

Canine, C. 2005. Building a better banana. Smithsonian October

Grudowski, M. 2002. Palm plight. Smithsonian 33(5): 68-72.

Barlow, C. 2001. Ghost stories from the ice age: Some plants are
haunted by large mammals from another era. Natural History 110(9):

Ball, J. 2000. The versatile Osage-orange. American Forests 106(3)

Stahle, D.W. 2002. The unsung ancients: Very old trees aren't
necessarily as rare-or as big-as you think. Natural History. Feb.

Sessions, L.A. 2000. A floral twist of fate. Natural History Sept.

David R. Hershey

On Feb 13, 8:51 pm, "Vinson Doyle" <sonof... from gmail.com> wrote:
> I am trying to find some good articles to get my students interested in
> plants, specifically plant evolution and conservation.  95% of the students
> that I teach are pre-med.  The course is introductory biology.  I give them
> an article to read every week that is current topics related.  Something
> that gives them a sense of how dynamic science really is.  Every year
> students moan when we get to the plant stuff.  In the past I have gotten
> their attention by talking about economically important plants,
> hallucinogenic species, ethnobotanical research.  However, if anyone has a
> good article that might combine the aspects of plant conservation, medicinal
> plants, plant systematics/evolution, or atleast address one of them in an
> interesting way, it would be much appreciated.  Thanks.
> Vinson

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list